Would you LOOK at this! #Valparaiso #Chile

While standing in Valparaiso, you can see the two “ends” of the bay very clearly–it’s more what you might call a lagoon. It’s relatively small. But it’s an excellent harbour, and back in the 16th century it was decided on as the best spot for the new Spanish colony’s shipping. That took a long time to really happen though, and it was only when copper and nitrate were found in northern Chile that Valparaiso really got going. It soon filled with–strangely enough–British businessmen who exploited the new resources and became VERY rich. One problem: next to Valparaiso’s bay is the thinnest strip of flat land, and then STEEP HILLS. The very rich built their beautiful houses on the hills anyway, and later, elevators (!) to actually get up and down.

Then there was a horrible earthquake in 1906, the prices of copper and nitrate dropped, and all the rich folks left Valparaiso. What’s happened to the oldest part of the town since then is pretty amazing: it’s now filled with every kind of artist–most obviously graffiti, but sculptors, theatres, and dance schools too–plus amazing restaurants, hostels, and shops. I did NOT want to leave.

Photos from FRANCE: Vallauris

For the last 5 WEEKS, I’ve been at an artists’ residency in the town of Vallauris, in the south of France, the French Riviera…aka Paradise. In between French wine, French food, and good-looking guys speaking French to me, I’ve been working on storyboards for TWO short films for when I get back to Canada.

Here’s some of what I’ve seen!

Photos from FRANCE: Antibes

Antibes is 20 minutes from Nice by train. Its old town is amazing — dark, twisty, under-and-over streets and archways. This part is separated from the sea by a frankly intimidating stone wall. From the Port Vauban (home to multi-million dollar yachts and sailboats), all you can see of the city is the Musee Picasso, because its in a castle at the original town’s highest point. It’s very much a seaside resort, summery place.