Ode to Valparaíso


As I sit here in the apartment looking out of the window, the cold fog is slowly sliding down and enveloping the cerros, covering everything in a white block out.

There’s an increasing chill in the salty air. The seagulls are swirling in the thermal rise and the pelícanos are heading home towards Playa Ancha and others towards Viña and beyond.

Our last night here before we head over the Andes and down to Buenos Aires for, I suspect, an altogether different experience and pace of life.

Valparaíso is the most enigmatic of port cities – mysterious, shambolic and oh so dishevelled, and yet completely beguiling. We will be back.

As Pablo Neruda wrote in an Ode to Valparaíso:

you forget
about your tears.
You return
to hanging your dwellings,
to painting doors
and windows
You transform
everything into a boat.
You are
the patched-up prow
of a small
The foamy crown
of the tempest.
Your ropes that sing
and the ocean light
that makes the shirts
and flags tremble
with your indestructible swaying.

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