We had an
interesting border crossing yesterday. The Bolivian customs building is a
little shack in the middle of nowhere, and the Chilean building is much bigger
and forty kilometres down the road, three thousand metres lower in altitude.
This lower altitude made sense later on, when they made us unpack the whole
truck to make sure we had no vegetables in our tent bags. It would have been an
exhausting exercise to do all of that at five thousand metres.
hinted that he was interested in an upgrade, the group unanimously decided that
an upgrade was in order for all. The Altiplano left us all dusty and we were
not out of the desert yet – San Pedro is a brown town with mud brick buildings
and gravel streets. Brooke quickly found a suitable hotel and made a deal to
suit our pockets (or rather kitty’s pocket).
lots of activities to do in San Pedro, but most of us opted for a day of
relaxing. Jan and Christianne went on a sunset trip to The Lunar Landscape – a
desolate valley on the edge of town.
surprise waited for us at Antofagasta. We were booked in at a super fancy
hotel. We all got rooms with sea facing balconies. Next to the hotel was a big
shopping mall; selling things we forgot we needed. There are also some old
English buildings and a train station to check out. And then of course the wharf
and fish market.
|More dead trains on the way|
|View from our rooms|
second last camping night we came to the Pan Azucar National Park. It is a
coastal park with campsites in the desert on the beachfront. It is beautiful in
all the smaller roads leading into the park were washed out, so we had to drive
right around it to find the main road going in. Tonight we will do our last
braai for the trip. We bought some big Uruguayan fillets and chorizo to go with
our potjie chocolate and dulce de leche cake.
|The Hand of God|
|Pan de Azucar|
|Ithaca on the beach|
meant to stay at a campsite in La Serena, but when we got to the address, the
campsite was a brand new apartment building. Luckily it was still early in the
day and we headed off in search of something else. Bush camping in this part of
Chile is not easy. There are only fenced-in roads and private properties. We
realised soon enough that we were heading towards more developed lands than
what we have become used to.
from La Serena we found a little village with a campsite right on the beach. It
was perfect for our last camping night of the trip.
does not look like much of great place when you drive in – it’s a bit dirty,
there are lots of hoboes around, it was cloudy and windy, and everything seemed
a bit desolate and closed (we came in on a Sunday afternoon).
we left the hotel on Monday morning it was a different city. It was alive and
bustling and suddenly very interesting. It is built on steep hills with a busy
shipping port at the bottom. You can walk for two minutes and you will be lost
in the old town. There are cobbled streets, countless restaurants, crafts
shops, street vendors, and “ascensors”. These are old (the oldest one is one
hundred and forty years old) funiculars taking you up the hills about fifty
metres at a time.
|Who dares pass?|
On the way to Santiago we went
looking for a nice wine farm to do a last group activity. We found Emiliana, an organic wine farm.
The vineyard tour and wine tasting they offer there is very good. Even for a
seasoned wine tourer there is much to learn about the effects of African
chickens and different herbs growing in your vineyard.
is a big modern city. We got to our last hotel easily and Ithaca could park
right outside the front door. We are all going our separate ways tomorrow
morning – Maggie and Nanna are meeting Stuart and Alie’s Chair to be whizzed
off for a week of spoiling, Sue-dawg is off to the Galapagos Islands, Jan will
relax in the spa, Frank and Julie are staying in Santiago for a couple of days before
also going to the Galapagos, Jan and Christianne are relaxing here for a week
before going home to relax there for two weeks, Jodie is off to a volunteering
camp in Peru, Tom is leaving super early in the morning to get a flight out to
his aunt, and David and Carol are catching a flight back to Tasmania.
say we will miss the Spring Chickens.
and I will ponder in Santiago for a week or so before heading over to Buenos
Aires, to start the epic South American Explorer expedition – six months of
action through just about every country on this continent.
|Julie & Frank|
|Last truck lunch|