Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Valparaiso - We have arrived.

Valparaiso is unlike anything else that I have ever seen.  It is a borderless mix of shantytowns constructed with salvaged materials, and mansions that have been shaken but not shattered by earthquakes.

The majority of homes have water views overlooking the harbour but since the opening of the Panama Canal the need for Valpo’s harbour has dwindled away and so too has the influx of cash from the sailor’s pockets.

We’re staying at The Yellow House and it deserves a free plug.  The owners have given us loads of information about living in Chile, introduced us to a local real estate agent, helped with our Spanish and made the girls feel very welcome.  If you’re ever in Valpo give them a call.        

The Yellow House.

Every time I look out of our window I am mesmerised by the architecture.  This coastal city has great public transport, endless history, an ever changing harbour and helpful people (but lookout for pick pockets).  You can buy a house here for AU$80,000 - 130,000.  Most of the local people don’t have that sort of money so when a man gets married he brings his wife to the family home and they build up or out or under their house as the family grows.   There’s no need for council approval. 

Here’s a funny little law.  If you don’t have a fence around your property it is illegal for someone to build on your property.  BUT if they do build on your property you are not allowed to remove the structure.  People have instant squatter’s rights.

300,000 people live here and we could spend the next year wearing out our shoes, walking the streets taking photos of all the houses.  Today's pictures are from a quick jaunt around the B&B.


  1. Vicarious travel can be very satisfying. With a cup of tea and before 6.30am I have travelled from Santiago to Valpo and I think i can even smell it. Thanks Guys. I'm enjoying the posts.