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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  n.73 Santiago dic. 2009 

ARQ, n. 73 Valparaiso, Santiago, December, 2009, p. 11.




Montserrat Palmer T.*

* Ediciones ARQ Editor in Chief, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estudios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


I have always had nostalgia towards the sea, even though I was born in Santiago.
When I was very little, and until I was 15 or 16 years old, throughout the whole year twice or three times a month, my parents and I would take a train from Mapocho station, heading towards the port. We’d stay in a hotel recently built in the city center. My parents had met and married in Barcelona and when they embarked on coming to Chile —my mother always remembered— after magnificent La Habana, on passing the Panama Canal the ports on the Pacific were all small and poor, becoming worse further south. One morning on sunrise however, they entered a magnificent city: the port of Valparaiso, with which her soul returned to her body.
Santiago instead was not of my mother’s liking, except for the Andes Mountain Range. Thus, twice or three times a month we would head to that port that reminded her of Barcelona.
Of course many years have passed, and the decadence of Valparaiso is explained by many reasons. Explained but not acceptable; we have lost something important as a country.
Something is being done, but very little.
Let us wait. Valparaiso was very nearly re-built from its foundation after the earthquake of 1906.
Maybe it’s necessary to demolish the Congress; could that be its negative load?

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