Thousands of houses built into the hills, connected by winding alleys and magical steps. A building in every shade of every colour, painted with scavenged fishing boat paint. Murals on every wall, every staircase, windowpane. Empty bricks stand out, begging to be painted. Waves of corrugated iron protect the walls from the salty air. Converted fishing boats sway in the harbour, waiting to fill with tourists instead.
We find a cafe in the evening, the colour cafe. Spanish musicians in suits are serenading the packed room. Scrawled napkins of previous guests fill the walls and a doll hangs from the ceiling on a swing.
On the streets there are people playing the drums with dreadlocks and passion. Children rollerblading. A man with leathered skin and silver hair playing a beautiful song on the guitar about the streets and hills of his city, his Valparaiso. We buy empanadas from a man’s front door. We walk up the piano stairs, past the first fire station in Latin America. Past the cemetery and the burnt down house you can see right through.
Dogs roam the streets like cats, free to play and sniff and eat from bins or friendly restaurants. Free to chase birds or cyclists or the crazy man with a guitar who waves it at them like a weapon. We climb to the top of the hills and look at the mosaic of buildings descending to the sea, intertwined with rainbow steps and walls turned into canvases.