Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Valparaiso - Ode to wine

My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.

                                                          Pablo Neruda - "Ode to wine"

Valparaiso. A wonderful and unique place. You fall in love with it almost immediately. You feel there is a magic glue in the air that keeps you walking around it for no reason, discover its beauties and its secrets.

One of the places that Nobel winning poet Pablo Neruda chose to built one of his houses in 1960 to escape from the madness of Santiago and concentrate on his poetry, which later in 1971 would bring him the Literature Nobel Prize. La Sebastiana he named it, in honor of his first owner Sebastian Collado who died before completing it.

“I feel the tiredness of Santiago, I want to find a house to live and write in peace at Valparaíso. Certain conditions must be given. It may not be too high or too low. It must be solitary, but not in excess. I wish neighbors were invisible. I wish I did not see or hear them. Original but not uncomfortable. Very light, but firm. Neither too big nor too small, far from everything. But close to the stores. As well, it has to be very inexpensive. Do you think I can find a house like that in Valparaíso?” 
(passage from the letter Neruda sent to one of his friends in Valparaiso, seeking for the perfect house)

After leaving Puerto Montt and Patagonia behind, I took the bus to Valpo, which was about 13h away. Just over 1100km but not really worried, I got used to it and also learned to enjoy it :) 

Valparaiso is one the World Heritage places, declared by UNESCO for its preserved architecture, representative of S. America's urban development during the 19th century.

Some pictures will hopefully get you into the mood of the city....

look at this beast :)) 

full of color...everywhere !

houses in the hills are hanging off 

the modern part of Valparaiso & Vina del Mar

about 20 elevators in the city take people to their houses....or you can walk up 

....some endless stairs :)

did I mention about color everywhere??? and they know how to use it

what a poser....hahaha !

this fiat 500 looks so much better than the new model 

Don Juan....he undertook the critical task to shave me. I know he looks like a butcher but after not having shaved for over a month, he proved an excellent choice....I can still hear the scratching sound of his old-time razor next to my ear...

Gabriela Mistral, another great Nobelist Chilean poet. The first South American to win the Literature Nobel Prize.

Valparaiso has been really great. I stayed for 4 days, but honestly I would like to have the time to spend a few more days. 

Moving on, I am taking another bus for a 8h ride over the Andes at 3.500m to Mendoza (piece of cake now!), Argentina. 
This is taking me out of Chile for good. Most probably I will spend the rest of my time in Argentina....but then again you never know....I have heard so many good words about San Pedro de Atacama close to the borders of Chile with Peru & Bolivia :)))