Chile | Vertical City: Valaparaiso’s Cerro Conceptión

Valparaiso has a rare aesthetic, the kind where jumbled architecture leaves the city labyrinthine and poetic. It’s kind of a strange meeting of traffic and pedestrians, beaches and freight.

As we are staying nestled next to the lovely Cerro Conceptión, we took one of the infamous funiculars, of which there are still over a dozen (down from the remarkable number of 33!) to explore its apex as a way to discover the city.

Cerro Conceptión, despite its popularity among tourists, is still very peaceful and pleasant. Some of the hill’s first construction was a military compound for the city’s defense, but this was surely for the view. When atop Cerro Conceptión, you get the sensation of having summited the city (er…by funicular).

Here, we followed our guidebook’s walking tour and took in the romantic air. We strolled along the narrow streets and hiked up alley-like passageways, all along enjoying the colors and (fantastic) street art of Valparaiso, a town that is weathered but undeniably pretty. Overlooking the harbor from the hill, I really got a sense of how vertical Valparaiso actually is – read: very. As the returning funicular was closed, we had to descend on foot, which was so extensive a task that I really understand, perhaps now more than ever, the beauty of the funicular.

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