Valparaíso: The Hills are Alive

Valparaíso, Chile can take your breath away, both literally and figuratively.  The city consists of 41 “cerros” or hills that rise up from the coast, one flowing into the other in a labyrinth of brightly colored, well-graffitied homes and buildings.  The roads, staircases, and alleys that connect the hills either climb up at a steep incline or snake their way lazily along the side of the hill.  Climbing the hills on foot is a workout even for the young and fit.  Fortunately for the elderly, the infirm, and the lazy, there are many cheap public transportation options, including ancient “ascensores” or funiculars, busses, colectivos, and taxis.

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Santiago de Chile

I acquired my first impression of Chile in the capital, Santiago.  Moving here without a plan or a job meant that I had some exploring to do. The first step was to figure out in which city I wanted to live.  Santiago was high up on the list of possibilities, primarily because it is the largest city (by far) with the most job opportunities.  So, I spent eight days there waiting for it to make a good impression on me… It didn’t, and here’s why:

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Melbourne’s Street Style

Melbourne, Australia is full of incredible street art and creative graffiti.  Graffiti is legal in Australia as long as you have the building owner’s permission and the content is not offensive.  This has made Melbourne one of the world’s greatest street art capitals.

Indeed, there seems to be graffiti or murals around every corner, and most of it is extremely good.  Walking the streets and laneways of Melbourne, checking out all the brightly painted walls, was one of my favorite things to do in the city.

Here are some of my faves:

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Change of plan: Off to Indonesia

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On April 16th I flew from Siem Reap to Jakarta, Indonesia to meet up with Lauren and Natalie, my travel buddies from Elephant Nature Park.  My original plan was to head up to Laos, but the idea of going to Indonesia was appealing because I would get to travel with the girls again, and because it was surprisingly $100 cheaper to fly to Jakarta than to Luang Prabang. Actually, I never had any plans to visit Indonesia on this trip. I made the decision three days in advance and booked the flight two days in advance.  Such is life on the road sometimes.  Spontenaity and flexibility can pay off.

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