Red Hot Chile

We ride up the Queen Victoria funicular to Cerro Alegre.
The name translates as “Happy Hill” – allegedly because it used to be famous for its brothels. This region and the neighbouring Cerro Concepción are known for their street art, with colourful houses lining the streets and murals decorating almost every available wall space.

While Valparaiso has the appearance of a dishevelled old man, its neighbour, Viña del Mar is boorish and flashy. Casinos, opera houses and elite private schools abound, and square-jawed boys and lithesome girls parade along its waterfront boulevard, dodging shadows cast by high-rise holiday apartments. It’s too artificial for my liking and with the sun setting for the day. I ask Mauricio to ferry me back to the alternative vibe of Lastarria. At least I’ll get a decent latte and some meaningful conversation there.

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