1959 through today
Lima is home to 10 million Peruvians and over 1000 historical sites.
View of Clinica Delgado (hospital) from Lima Peru’s Elias Aguirre (street), Huaca Pucllana filling the foreground. Huacas are commonly located in nearly all regions of Peru outside the deepest parts of the Amazon basin in correlation with the regions populated by the pre-Inca and Inca early civilizations. They can be found in downtown Lima today in almost every district, the city having been built around them. Huaca Pucllana, located in Miraflores district, is an adobe and clay pyramid built from seven staggered platforms. It served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD.
This is the New York Times article that inspired me to remember visiting Huaca Pucllana during our February 2016 tour of Lima, Peru. “3,000 Years of History Are Literally Just Beneath Our Feet.”
A Deeper Understanding
Trundled along within our bubble, the Mercedes tour bus proceeded up Avenue Montt when Ricardo pointed out this statue for ridicule. A depiction of the Chilean national bird, the Condor, porteños derisively call it “The Chicken,” and in truth the wingspan is undersized. From the vantage of the above photograph, the statue form does capture an impression of soaring among the hills of Valparaiso. Keep in mind, beyond those hills is Aconcagua, the highest mountain of the western hemisphere, home to Condors.
A reason for writing multiple Varparaiso “connection” posts is to better understand the jumbled impressions from that day. In a previous post I coined the term Varparasians for natives of the city. I found in researching this post the residents, as for Buenos Aires, call themselves porteños (people of the port). This cast iron statue speaks to the contributions of French immigrants to the city and nation.
Here the view is south towards (what I believe is) Cerro Florida (Florida Hill). France Avenue continues, beyond the monument, following a steep and winding path up the hills, at the crest intersecting with German Avenue. Adjacent, on the right, is Park Italia where we’ll visit in part VI. Above a cast iron basin, at each corner of the commemorative column base is a female mask, above them a gold band inscribed (from the) “The French of Valparaiso” with 1810 – 1910 to denote the centennial. A condor with outspread wings surmounts the column.
The artist, Nicanor Plaza, born in Santiago, Chile was living in Florence, Italy at the time of this commission. He was a natural choice for the commission. Trained in Chile and Paris, Plaza taught for the Academy of Fine Arts of Santiago. It is of cast iron, produced by the French company Val Osne, an art foundry dating back to 1835. The owner, Jean Pierre Andre Victor, invented a cast iron ornamental technique originally used to produce street furniture.
From 1854 to 1895 immigration from France burgeoned, from a country total of 1,654 to 8,266. This cohort is credited with developing the vineyards of the Central Valley, still famous today. The Chilean president Augusto Pinochet descended on his father’s side from an 18th-century French Breton immigrant from Lamballe and his mother was a descendant from 17th century immigrants, partially Basque. Pinochet’s legacy can only be attributed to himself and the ruling Junta. What is of concern is (1) Pinochet was protected against prosecution throughout his life. (2) The same people who protected him still hold power. A case in point is the Esmeralda, still in service.
I took this photograph at dawn from our stateroom balcony, it is the
Esmeralda, a four-masted top sail schooner, from Spain, christened May 12, 1953. From 1973 to 1980 it was a floating torture chamber where up to 100 persons were subjected to hideous treatment by the Pinochet regime. Protests erupt wherever it docks in a foreign port yet it remains in service. A relatively small part of the puzzle, yet it serves as an unacknowledged monument to the failure of Chile’s ruling elite to come to terms with the recent past.
Click for my Fine Art Gallery.
The O’Higgins Carrera Feud
“Valparaiso Connections III” brought us to Pedro Montt Avenue and the building of this imposing façade, Congreso Nacional de Chile (National Congress of Chile). The very fact it is in Valparaiso is a recollection of the former National Congress, disbanded by the ruling Junta on September 13, 1973. During the final years the Pinochet dictatorship chose Valparaiso for the site of a new congress building. The former National Congress building still stands in Santiago, now housing the offices of both houses of congress.
I am fascinated the façade is shared by two founding fathers of Chile, Bernardo O’Higgins and José Miguel Carrera. O’Higgins father never married his mother (in other words, Bernardo was a bastard). Cared for by his mother’s privileged family, he used his mother’s family name until the death of his father. Carrera, was also born of privilege, the acknowledge son of his father who attended the best schools, well positioned to lead the movement for Chilean independence. Benefactors looked after O’Higgins, they sent the seventeen year old to Europe to finish his education.
In the chaos of war, in spite of ill-health and lack of military training, O’Higgins out performed Carrera as an officer through reckless bravery; surviving, he became an admired military leader through this example and ultimate victories. Carrera resented being overtaken (by a bastard), did not respect O’Higgins leadership and the two feuded. O’Higgins became the first head of the independent Chile while Carrera gathered a force. Exiled in Paraguay, Carrera marched across the intervening wastes battling indigenous forces. Eventually captured by those loyal to O’Higgins, Carrera suffered a mock trial and execution.
All five of Carrera’s legitimate offspring married and prospered, today his descendants number in the hundreds, being the majority of Chile’s ruling class. Today, the followers of Carrera (Carreristas) fight for his recognition against the O’Higginistas, who they despise. The balance is on display on the National Congress façade on Pedro Montt Avenue. The building is next to Plaza O’Higgins.
Measured by acreage, O’Higgins is far ahead of Carrera. The following photograph, from my posting “A Far Country VII: View of Tempanos Fjord” is from within Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, the largest protected land in Chile.
A large lake in Patagonia is named after General Carrera.
Copper Cable and History
“Valparaiso Connections II” left us with these friendly Valparasians, if such a word can be used to describe residents of the city, chatting on Argentina Avenue.
It was Saturday, the happy occasion of the weekend street fair, kiosks sprouting like mushrooms, thinly attended this early morning.
We did not pause to wander, instead turned up a street known as Pedro Montt, named for a Chilean president of the early 2oth century. Was we turned, monumental street sculpture, rising from the kiosks, caught my eye.
A creation of the great national artist Mario Irarrzabal, it invokes solidarity through the image of four thick copper cables twisted together to form one, the union that can happen to achieve bigger things. Opened in 1995, crafted of iron, wood and copper, after Pinochet passed power to a new democratic constitution and still held office as a Senator, protected from extradition, in the National Congress located just to the west of the monument.
The imagery works on multiple levels. Known as “Copper Cable Monument” or “Copper Column,” the monument also stands for Chilenización del cobre (Chileanization of copper), a movement began during the presidency of General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. Concluded in the presidency of Salvador Allende, the takeover of foreign owned mines lead to the isolation of Chile and was a component of the support of the USA, via the CIA, for the Pinochet 1973 Chilean coup d’état. Pinochet retained state control of the mines in the face of strong popular support for the huge contribution to state coffers. To this day CODELCO (in English National Copper Corporation of Chile) operates as a corporate entity.
As with our guide, Ricardo (“Valparaiso Departure I”) and the companions at the start of today’s post, Irarrzabal was profoundly affected by the Pinochet dictatorship. Under its influence as well as the sculpture of Easter Island, the artist began work on monumental sculptures. Pam and I visited one on the other side of the South America “cone,” Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Built from Brava beach at the height of the dictatorship, 1982, of concrete, steel rebar, mesh covered with a corrosion resistant coating, the artist title it “Man Emerging to Life.” He was a young man at the time, the work built his reputation and he repeated the theme internationally as well as, in 1992, 1,181 miles away the “Hand of the Desert.” At that time while Chile was emerging from the Pinochet dictatorship the palm as well as fingers are visible. The “cone” of South American, Chile and Argentina, are encompassed by the left hand of the east, a right hand of the west.
the Chilean difference
Ricaro’s name tag reads, “Oceania Cruises, your world, your way.” I began my two previous blogs with Ricardo, “Valparaiso Separation” and “Valparaiso Connections I.” There’s a lot to be said for the Oceania tours. Every one lead by a knowledgeable native of the host country, fluent in English, we became familiar, some more than others, with them personally, one non-representative example. As were progressed down the coast from Iquique to Cape Horn we met a cross section of Chileans. Unlike other countries, in Chile we met only unsmiling guards on the streets, no protest rallies.
As the tour bus is about to turn down Varparaiso’s Argentina Avenue, here is a flash forward to an elaborate demonstration tableau in the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada as a backdrop, rose as in the color of bull’s blood used as pigment. The protest was in support for veterans and causalities of the ill considered 1982 Falklands War. We zoomed by the Parque De La Memoria, dedicated to the 30,000 people “disappeared” by the same military dictatorship of the Falklands War debacle.
Our entry to both Valparaiso and Buenos Aires was a cruise over the secret graves of thousands dropped, alive, into the ocean from military aircraft.
What is most chilling is the silence about this throughout our travels in Chile. No memorials, no protests, silence, only stone faced military guards.
The following is from Basílica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima, beneath which are catacombs piled with disarticulated skeletons buried and cared for in the Catholic tradition .
In Lima’s Plaza de Armas we witnessed this peaceful demonstration by pensioners protesting low payments. To be honest, around this time, in Chile, there were huge demonstrations, hundreds of thousands in Santiago, about the same issue.
The Lima crowd was peaceful.
Watched by a heavy contingent of armed police supported by large “paddy wagons” to cart people away. The vehicle marked “Prodegur” (i.e., prosecution) was one of them. Given the history of government disappearances in the region, how brave the demonstrators must be.
Our vehicle turns onto Argentina Avenue, passing under Spanish Avenue and these supports bruiting the “Patrimony of Humanity” status of Valparaiso.
Other murals feature the zinc panels of the Old Town and cultural opportunities. I noticed the pictured flooring is identical that of Hotel Brighton, see “Our Fifteen Minutes of Fame on Conception Hill.”
I wonder how a man of a certain ago scrapes his knees, these appear to be homeless people.
They gives us big smiles and waves when they spotted me / us. The people were open and friendly.
The Albatross and Valparaiso
Click any photograph to open my Fine Art Gallery.
The bus passed a carved wooden statue of the albatross, near the terminal entrance. A bird of the southern ocean, familiar to mariners for the habit of following ships, this aspect of soaring the a familiar posture.
Here is a specimen in this posture following the Regatta on February 22 as we traversed the Southern Atlantic between the Falkands and Punta del Este. That day, many albatross soared among the 20+ foot waves, the wingtips very close to the water surface.
The day before, February 21, the Regatta approached the southern most point of the western hemisphere, Cape Horn, coming within a mile of the landing point and monument. At the top you can see the steel sculpture of the outline of an albatross set in a stone plinth.
A cropped version of the above image, the albatross outline is easier to see. Also visible, at the cliff base, the landing, stairs, a platform painted as a Chilean flag, the railings leading up to the Albatross Monument.
All of this to emphasize the unique position and reason for being of Valparaiso of the eastern South Pacific, made evident by the recurring motif of an albatross soaring among the waves. This retired anchor, close to the albatross sculpture, on our way to Argentina Avenue and the weekend street fair (to be continued).
Stray Thoughts on Labeling, Valparaiso Port
Shortly after breakfast Pam and I were among a gathering of travelers, several friends made in the last ten days among them, waiting in the Regatta lounge for tour assignments. In my previous posting, “Valparaiso Separation, you can see exactly where the Regatta was docked among the orderly chaos of the port as seen from the Ascensor Conception. “Valparaiso Separation” also includes several photographs from my early morning hours on our port side stateroom terrace photographing the approach to Valparaiso and the city itself.
Walking down the gang plank, our bus assignment in hand, number 17, we boarded a shuttle to take us through the port, to customs. See the upper left corner? Here is part of a loading crane, seemingly the underside of a bridge. In “Valparaiso Departure I” you saw it loading rolls of wire.
The structure labeled TCVAL is called the Gottwald, a mobile harbor crane from the TEREX based in Dusseldorf, Germany. TCVAL is an acronym, “Terminal Cerros de Valparaíso” (Hills Terminal of Valparaiso), and stands for the port management company.
I caught two overviews of the area from our stateroom balcony.
Looking along the port side of the Regatta. Our room was on the same level as the bridge, visible on the right with several Regatta officers enjoying the Valparaiso port view. From here, the shipping containers (“Hamburg SUD”) are loaded onto semi-tractor trailers for points all around South America, they call the southern most land “The Cone.”
We are surrounded by labels, the #17 in our hands, “Regatta” on the ship bow, all with a story to tell.
Unlabeled from this side, two towers covered with multi-colored panels, shades of green and blue with white, the Hotel ibis Valparaiso. I looked it up on Google Maps.
To the right is AIEP Valparaiso, a technical college, founded just three years before, 2013. We are seeing them from behind, the side that faces the harbor, both the hotel and school front a street named Errázuriz.
Take note of the lower floors with the large, crisscrossed supporting struts.
Back on the shuttle, we pass along those lower floors. Look to the right of the Gandara Chile, SA truck….dinosaur models. The floor above seems to be retail displays of bulk packaged products.
Everywhere stacked shipping containers….
…throngs of busy workers. This fellow works for “Building Services”, a cleaner.
We’ve looked right. To the left a view of the port opens. War ships in the distance. Foreground is a general cargo ship, the crane midship is used for unloading in smaller ports. Currently unloaded, we can tell by how high it is riding. There is a rope ladder on the visible starboard side, a landing boat with an outboard motor along side. One person is visible on the upper deck, wearing a baseball cap.
Named “Danstar” home port Valparaiso, the Chilean flag hangs stern side. A general cargo ship, I looked it up. On the day I started this post, it was sailing the southern pacific heading from Hanga Roa, Easter Island. The label on the bridge, CA 4392, is the radio call sign. The bilge pump is working….wonder how strict the pollution stands are for Valparaiso harbor?
Back to the left, an unpromising aspect. No labels here. Shortly after the transport unloaded us for customs. I generally do not photograph those workings, no use being pulled aside for questioning by unsympathetic officers. Just a precaution, the entire trip the customs people were friendly and the inspections cursory.
Here is where our slip of paper, #17, is used just in case we forget the number. Here is wonderful guide, Ricardo, holding a loft the #17 flag in from of bus #17. The wonderful city of Valparaiso laid out for us in the morning sun, the sky cloudless.
New buses, nice!!!
Ricardo introduces himself. His name tag “Oceania, Your World, Your Way.” Cannot help getting some humor from that.
Learn about funiculars
To begin with an epilogue to my last post, “Our Fifteen Minutes of Fame on Conception Hill” , our meeting with the El Mercurio reporter never appeared. Inquiries to the newspaper were promptly and courteously replied to, there was nothing. They suggested a search of the online archive and only a January 2014 fashion show, the article featured a photo from the same terrace. After our pleasant time we walked off some calories on Gervasoni Promenade, a showcase of city harbor and hillside views.
Most city visits on this cruise we traded independence and flexibility for the convenience of the guided tour. Ricardo, our guide, was a knowledgeable, good humored companion to our small group. After we left the promenade for Calle Conception Ricardo was most helpful.
It was here I entered a photographic fugue, losing touch with my surroundings through concentration on capturing the moment.
I walked ahead of Pam, expecting her to follow, and caught the view of the arriving care of the Conception funicular.
Wow, that’s the Regatta at dock. Other elements of this vista are the harbor, of course, then the famous Turri clock tower. Hmmm, almost 1:30 pm.
I was fascinated by the view of a drydock the Regatta passed while docking early that morning. It is the red structure with the letters “Sociber”, it even has a Facebook page!!!
Once at street level the experience of the crowd on the alley opening onto Calle Prat, waiting for the ride up, brought back reality. “Where’s Pam?” I could not go back up because of the crowd, the views from the car fell from my mind.
I was on the street, disoriented and alone.
I fell back on photography to pass the time. Nowhere near the charm of Cerro Conception, typical downtown urban environment.
A man approached the family across Prat, “What is going on?” I wondered when the tour bus arrived. Still no Pam.
Oh, it is an ice cream vendor. Delicious. “Where’s Pam?” Ricardo not around, either. Back on the bus, waiting, a younger member of the tour was an Irish wag who declaimed on the benefits of freedom, even temporary.
Finally, Ricardo arrived followed by a few other tour members and Pam. Whew!! I’ll never live down “deserting” her. She was not able to find the entrance to the Conception funicular. Along with a few others they kept each other company until Ricardo rounded them up. That was a long 20 minutes (reading from the photograph metadata), I was worried. As I mentioned, at the time I was clueless about my whereabouts. Reviewing the numerous photographs, I found the “Servicio Nacional de Aduanas” (National Customs) building across the where Calle Esmeralda joins with Cochrane and pieced it together from there.
About the Conception funicular, that morning while the Regata docked I caught this view of Valparaiso hillside. It is a microcosm of the Andean topography, ravines cut through the heights. This is when I noted the Sociber drydock, it is on the lower left…look down into it — the business is to sell that dry space in the middle of the harbor for ship repair. The space and be flooded, opened to allow entry of a ship, then drained for work on the hull or whatever.
The city pioneers adapted to this terrain. As a entrepreneurial endeavor, in 1882 Mr. Liberio E. Brieba Pacheco founded the Mechanical Elevators Company of Valparaíso. Conception funicular opened the following year to facilitate the urbanization of Alegre and Concepción hills. Conception funicular is closed for repairs currently, from 1883 until recently this, the oldest and first funicular of Valparaiso lifted people from the downtown Plan (plain) to the hilltop for a small fee.
Funicular is derived from latin “funis” for rope. It is an elevator that runs two counter balanced cars on a rails on a steep, less than vertical, slope. As one car rises the other lowers.
Here are some views of the Conception funicular and environs as seen from the upper Regatta deck. First, a 24 mm wide angle view. Look to the center for the rails and one car at the top. Above are the buildings of Cerro Conception (Conception Hill).
The funicular emerges from downtown on the right in the following view. The prominent church is Parroquia Perpetuo Socorro, just above the midpoint. It rises from Cerro Cordillera, above Cerro Conception. A Catholic church founded by the Redemptionist Fathers, the first stone was laid down 1905. Learning from the devastating earthquake of 1906, the engineer Juan Tonkin chose construction of Oregon pine and concrete to stand tall today. What a view (I’ve seen photographs).
A view a bit to the right, many of the colorful exteriors are zinc panels brought from early sailing ships, repurposed as siding.
After the wide angle shot I used the variable “zoom” lens for the rest. Here is a close view of the Conception funicular. The business of building and running these services thrived, over the years up to 29 funiculars and one elevator, served the city portenos (people of the port). In 2018 seven are in operation, nine are under a process of restoration and modernization, including Conception.
A modest dose of history with wine and empanada
Posting about our departure from Valparaiso, Chile (see Valparaiso Departure III “The Sunset”) brings us to the time spent wandering this World Heritage Site, added to the UNESCO list in 2003. Within the amphitheater of hills is Cerro Conception (Conception Hill), historically settled by English and German immigrants. The façade of the Hotel Brighton, a building from the 19th century heyday of Valparaiso when it was a stopping point for shipping through the Straits of Magellan, reveals why so many of the buildings are alike: all are constructed from materials dropped off from sailing ships.
The theme of the Hotel Brighton evokes thoughts of immigrants remembering their origins, emigres claiming a spot of real estate to mold a sense of place for themselves. This goes both ways, Valparaiso, Indiana was formerly Porterville of Porter County. The motive force behind the renaming were the memories of the retired Captain David Porter, the sole survivor of an attack on his ship USS Essex by the British frigates Phoebe and Cherub in the War of 1812, within sight of Valparaiso. Fifty eight (58) United States Marines lost their lives in that sea battle. To point out the obvious, Captain Porter is the namesake of Porter County.
Pam corrects me when I say we “stopped for lunch” at the Hotel Brighton, pointing out we “only” had a glass of red wine and an empanada. Both were tasty, even more so with this marvelous view looking north into the other hills of the city. The yellow umbrella is on the hotel restaurant terrace.
I missed capturing the signature wrought iron gate forming the word “Brighton” among decorative scrolls. Built on the edge of Conception Hill it overlooks the coastal plain almost all of which is man-made.
During our refreshment, this young lady (see photograph below) introduced herself as a reporter for El Mercurio. Accompanied by a photographer, she interviewed us and we had our photograph taken, I returned the favor with the following photograph saying the story might appear in the next edition. Standing next to her, with a puzzled look, is our waitress who was from the States.
El Mercurio de Valparaiso is the oldest continuously published Spanish language newspaper in the world. In my research for these photographs I discovered the newpaper officers were a short walk from the landing of the Ascensor Conception.
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