Valparaiso: Sites of Interest
House (Aduana), the grand, colonial American-style building
built in 1854 and located at the north of town at Plaza Wheelwright
at the end of Cochrane and Calle Carampangue. It is possible
to visit this customs house, if it intrigues you. To the right
you'll find the Ascensor Artillería, built in 1893 (and
it shows); it costs 10¢. The wobbly contraption is a delight,
and it takes visitors to the most panoramic pedestrian walkway
in Valparaíso, Paseo 21 de Mayo. This lovely promenade
has a lookout gazebo from which it is possible to take in the
town's bustling port activity. There's also a tiny cafe. Follow
the walkway until reaching the Museo Naval y Marítimo.
To return, double back and descend via the ascensor, or head
down the walkway that begins at the cafe, and take a left at
Victoria/Museo a Cielo Abierto/La Sebastiana (Pablo Neruda's
House)--Plaza Victoria is the prettiest plaza in Valparaíso,
which is why cityfolk come here to stroll, sit, and socialize.
In the late 1880s this plaza was the elegant center of society,
as is evident by the grand trees, trickling fountain, and sculptures
imported from Lima that recall that era's heyday.
From the plaza, head south
on Calle Molina to Alduante
for the Open Air Museum, which features more than 20 murals
painted on cement retainer and building walls along winding
streets. The project, inaugurated in 1992, features murals conceived
by well-known Chilean painters and carried out by students.
Begin at the steep stairway at Alduante Street and turn left
at Pasaje Guimera, and left again at the balcony walkway that
leads to Ascensor Espíritu Santo (you can ride the funicular
up and backtrack this route, walking down). Continue along Calle
Rudolph until reaching Calle Ferrari. It's possible to walk
up Ferrari to number 692 and La Sebastiana, Pablo Neruda's old
house, although it's a bit of a hike. Head down Ferrari all
the way to Edwards and Colón. Note that the Open Air
Museum runs through an interesting but grubby, somewhat rough
neighborhood, and for that reason might not appeal to everyone.
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