(Day 37 – 44)
28.12.2009 - 04.01.2010 25 °C
San Pedro de Atacama
We waited for a while for our transfer at the border in Bolivia, then made our way to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Everyone started clapping when we got on a highway, so sick of gravel and dust roads in Bolivia, finally, a bit or western luxuries.
As we now had a day less in San Pedro de A (because of the car breakdown), we went straight to book our next activity which was a sunset tour of Valle de la Muerte (Valley of the Dead) and Valle de La Luna (Moon valley). The scenery is quite dramatic here too, large volcanic peaks, lunar landscapes etc. After a few stops, we finally made our way up a giant sand-dune for a view of the sunset.
We have no photos of quaint San Pedro de Atacama itself sadly, as during the night Martin got very ill and the next day was spent recovering from a sleepless night, until our bus to Calama.
The next day we flew to Santiago and took a bus immediately to Valparaiso. The countryside reminded us of Spain or parts of Italy, Mediterranean with light brown soil hills spotted with dark green shrubs, small trees and plenty of cyprus trees.
We arrived in the colourful and busy city of Valparaiso. Situated in a bay and surrounded by hills which are the big attraction due to is many view points over the city and numerous antique funiculars riding up the hills. In the main part of town there are art workshops and galleries in every street and impressing graffiti and murals on every wall, which highlights the city’s bohemian culture.
It’s rather nice to be in a large city that has everything one needs again, such a change from Bolivia and Cuba, it feels like we’re back in Europe. Time to relax and unwind for 5 days.
For New Years we made dinner in our hostel, which consisted of salmon canapé, frozen pizza and Haagen-Dazs ice cream, with some champagne of cause. We then headed out to the center to watch the fireworks with the rest of Valparaiso.
There were at least 6 different sets of fireworks arranged in the bay which went on for about 20 min and were really impressive. Everyone was wearing party hats, throwing streamers, shaving cream and party crackers. The vibe was great and so festive.
All during the night crowds would shout in harmony, “Chi --- le, Chi Chi Chi, le le le, viva Chile!!”
Tomorrow we leave for Le Serena, where we plan to do a tour of the Elqui Valley, where Pisco is grown and made from Muscatel grapes.