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Karens Adventure
18th Jan 2006 - 29th Jan 2006

We had 10 days in Chile and we wanted to utilise the time wisely and we did just that. After a dodgy hostel for the first night we then checked into Hotel International which was clean but had absolutely no character. Nethertheless we stuck it out.Its strange weve come across so many places that are dirty but great craic and then clean places that end up being boring so were starting to opt for the dirty places. Its strange how your standards drop after a while!

For the first few days in the city we did lots of walking around. Its a very modern place in comparrison to Peru and a lot more expensive. We checked out the Zoo, wanted to do a walking tour but thanks to the wrong information from the people in the tourist information we missed it two days in a row so ended up doing a city bus tour with lots of old people to most places we had seen the days previous! Bit of a mistake so wont be rushing back to toursit information again!

The highlight of the trip was the Pachamama by Bus tour which took 6 days. We set off heading north and there were 15 in the group altogether along with the guide Jorge and Sergio the driver. There was the 3 of us, Andy and Cassie-Hull, Ben and James-London, Marion and Jacob- Denmark,Greg and Agote-France,Stefan-Mexico,Julie and Salvodor-Germany and Austria and Will from Glouster.

Day 1_ We covered a distance of about 500km and stopped in La Serena, Chile second oldest town. Had about an hour on a touristy beach and later that eveing sampled some Chilean night life which consisted of some cheesy spanish singing, more salsa dancing and rocktes-4 litres of beer in a tube!

Day 2_We drove to Punta de Chorus and got a small boat for an hour across to a nature reserve where we saw wild sea lions and penguins. Although the smell was really bad it was well worth the trip. I was gutted when the battery in my camera went so unfortunately dont have photos of that day. From there we docked on Isla Choros to have our picnic which was like being on a desert island, green sea and white sand, pure bliss. After about another 500km we reached our campsite in Bahia Inglesa and settled for the night.

Day 3_The campsite was brilliant, we had little wooden cabins that slept 5. We shared with Cassie and Andy from Hull and I slept in the loft, it was cosy! After 3 weeks of constant moving and seeing sites it was lovely just spending a day on the beach and chilling out. That evening the whole group had a BBQ made by Sergio-It was the nicest BBQ Ive ever had,sorry Dad,and Louisa and I have even been converted to eating rare to meduim steaks! Sorry about that Jane but it does taste so much better. It was a great night, people took advantage of the cheap Chilean wine, the Pisco, we had music coming from the bus and a fire was lit. Cassie kept us entertained with her robotic dancing and Greg had everyone dancing a routine to Barry White! The whole night was great craic.

Day 4-Back on the bus crossing more desert which wasnt a novelty by this stage. Stopped at an old cemetry literally in the middle of nowhere, were people has been killed from the nitrate mining. Very eerie and bizarre. Later that day we arrive to The Hand of the Desert which was a massive sculptor also in the middle of no where. The thinking behind it was that if we do not start treating mother nature with respect then this is what would happen all acorss the world, ie the world would become nothing. That was fascinating. Stopped in Antofagasta that night after about 350km.

Day 5-We had an action packed day. Visited La Portado which was a cliff and rock formation which dates back to the Jurassic period. From there we went to Baquedano and visited an old abandoned train cemetry, we were able to climb inside the trains and up on top. There should be some interesting photos from there. Next we stopped on the Tropic of Capricorn! From there we travelled some more and got an excellent views of the Atacama Salt Flats, saw mounds of salt and saw really class hexagon shaped salf formations. Nature really is amazing. Karen and Haley I have some excellent picture you can use in class. Also saw a nature reserve of pink flamingos which are endangered because they havent been able to find a perfect partner! That evening we checked into a rustic hostel in San Pedro, mud walls, infested with flies and a cold dribble shower just the place we wanted to spend 2 nights!

Anyone getting bored yet?! Day 6-Looked around San Pedro which took about an hour and a half but it was a lovely little town. That evening we went caving in some salt mountains which was excellent. From there we visited the Moon Valley and walked along the ridge, climbed to the top of the mountain and waited for the sun to set. It was gorgeous and a lovely way to finish the trip.

And so we set off from San Pedro on a 24hr bus journey to Santiago. Made it in good time for the airport after they had sold our seats from Peru to Chile we were not going to make the same mistake again considering we heard someone had to wait 2 months to get another flight out! 14 hours on a flight and a short bus journey later here we are in the Aloe Tree Hostel in Auckland. So hope this keeps you going for a while and you enjoyed your break from work! Thinking of you all. Take Care. Karen xx

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Diary Photos
19th Jan 2006  Pachamama group.

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