Chile is a long narrow country squeezed between the Pacific and the Andes. Iquique is close to the top, but my next stop was down in the middle, so to avoid a twenty-four hour bus journey, I flew to the capital Santiago and took one of the frequent buses over to Valparaiso, 100km away on the coast.
The old part of the city is UNESCO listed for “an excellent example of late 19th-century urban and architectural development in Latin America” noting that its location on a narrow plain surrounded by steep hillsides incorporates both a geometric plan on the flat and a “vernacular urban fabric adapted to the hillsides”. Which I think means it has windy steep roads and pedestrian stair cases.
What the hilly parts do have is a number of little funicular railways to access the various hillside communities and brightly coloured houses. Sadly not all of the funiculars (called ascensores) were working – they seem rather old and rickety – but they were incredibly cheap to ride.
The city is not massively picturesque, but has pockets of charm. I certainly spent a pleasant day wandering around, up and down, tickling cats and admiring artists’ murals, of which there seem to quite a few.
I found this intruiging decorative building at the edge of one of the hillsides, but unfortunately it was being restored and was surrounded by hoardings, but I got the impression that it would be open to visit in the future.
For the Lego model, it had to be an ascensore, such as this one:
Which I’ve built as a generic model rather than a specific one.