We are spending the long weekend of the 21st of May (the celebration of the Glorias Navales of 1879) with four Chilean friends in the small coastal city of Valdivia.
The next morning the rain kept coming - but between showers the air was bright and clean and full of rainbows, so we decided to step out of our showers for an hour or two and go for a walk.
After an autumn in Santiago, where the air is so thick and full of dust and gasoline that it piles up in corners and silts up in the alleys behind buildings, breathing Valdivia's morning air was a little like being drunk - we were walking around with our arms wide open, taking it in by the bucketful.
Valdivia is a pretty, primary-colored town. Schools are painted magenta, or in royal-blue-and-yellow stripes. Houses come in turquoise and apple-green and apple-red. The Plaza de Armas is less martial and more brass-band-stand-y than most Plazas de Armas in Chile - the European settlement here was mostly German, and the dominant aesthetic is one of gingerbread fretwork and gables, rather than heroic plinths and fountains.
A blue-and-yellow school:
A School painted Magenta:
A Painted House:
Men drinking tea on a painted street:
A house in a state of repose: