An unexpected journey…   Leave a comment

Wednesday 8th October 2014

As you know, we prefer travelling during the day because we want to see the countryside. Therefore, for the approx. 10-hour journey from Arica to Antofagasta we have booked a coach that leaves Arica at 7.15 in the morning. So the alarm goes off at 5 o’clock, we are showered, dressed and packed by 6.00 am and our host at the Hostal Sunny Days has also got up early to prepare an oppulent breakfast for us.

We arrive at the bus terminal with plenty of time (what do you expect? We’re German after all…) and head straight to the agency’s counter to enquire which platform our bus will be leaving from. Lo siento, says the friendly señorita, tengo malas noticias – sorry, I’ve got bad news: the service has been cancelled and the next bus isn’t scheduled until 9.20 am. Great, all the effort for nothing; we won’t get our seats in the front row, we won’t cross the Tropic of Capricorn in daylight and will arrive in Antofagasta after dark…

The driver of the later coach tries to make up some time but there are lots of roadworks –

… and several checkpoints

At least Johannes gets to see plenty of the Atacama Desert

Approaching the city of Iquique

… with its spectacular sand dune

And back to the desert…

Due to all the (partly unvoluntary) stops and delays it is already 21.00 hours when we arrive in Antofagasta. Now we have to organise our onward journey for the next day, find accommodation and something to eat. Too much hassle for this time of the day; and so we spontaneously ask the bus driver if we can carry on to La Serena on the same coach. Yep, not a problem, they just have to find new seats for us each time the bus stops and passengers with a booking get on. The crew even serves a snack for dinner…

 

Thursday 9th October 2014

We have a pleasant night-journey and don’t sleep too bad in our semi-cama (reclining seats) bus.

After 24 hours we finally arrive in La Serena…

We find accommodation in the Hostal El Punto, a lovely German run place close to bus terminal and town centre and then head for a sight-seeing trip into the city.

Iglesia San Francisco de Asis

Exhibition and art market

Plaza de Armas y Catedral

In Chile motorcycles need front number plates as well

Iglesia Santo Domingo de La Serena

Time to smell the flowers…

Late lunch at our new favourite heladeria ‘Bravissimo’

Model of the Faro – the lighthouse

… and the real thing

The Pacific beckons

… but it is bl**dy cold!

Coquimbo and its Millennium cross on the other side of the bay

In the evening we meet my friend Elisabeth, who has moved from San Fernando to La Serena since 2010, for dinner.

At long last, we have our first Pisco Sour, the Chilean national drink

We’re having a brilliant time…

 

Friday 10th October 2014

… so brilliant that we sleep until 9 o’clock the next morning and just make it in time for the excellent breakfast for which the Hostal El Punto is known.

Most of the day is spent with updating our records

… and writing the next blog post

As a reward we treat ourselves to another ice cream in the afternoon – and a trip to the local supermarket where they have a ‘German Week’.

Even our English friends wouldn’t get withdrawal symptoms in Chile…

Then we go to the beach again

Elisabeth joins us after work

… and we have dinner on the Avenida del Mar

The sunset colours are almost kitsch – but true

Far too soon the evening and our time with Elisabeth in the beautiful city of La Serena are over…

Tomorrow we will head to Valparaíso.

Posted 13 October 2014 by Pumpy in Chile, The 2014 Rucksack Trip

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