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Published: August 12th 2018
Iglesia de San PedroChile: My Final Country
The walls, roof, and the entrance door are built only with cactus wood. Llama leather is used to bind them all together – no nails were used!
Hola, Chile! This long and thin, diverse sliver of a country running along the west of South America was my final (sniff) country to explore.
San Pedro de Atacama (20/07/2018-23/07/2018)
Our first Chilean destination sits in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the center of the world’s driest desert, with snow-capped volcanoes dotting the horizon. San Pedro de Atacama: a out-back desert town consists of dirt road narrow streets, one-story, mud brick houses, limited electricity, and basically no WiFi. It felt like we were in a movie set of an old time Western film. It was a very unique place indeed. Yes, it was touristy, but it was also very, very charming.
Upon arrival, we headed to a cande lit restaurant with a cracking fireplace (there's lots here because it´s cold at night!) and met out first Chileno (our waiter). We could not understand a word. Not a single word. Chilean spanish is very fast, full of slang ("¡sí, po!"), and full of dropped consonants ("buen día"). Oh god! I am going to struggle here, I could feel it.
After food, we were worried we would end up sleeping next to
the street dogs as we searched for a hostel for about an hour in the dark... It took 6 hostels, 6! They were all completely full (thanks, Yohan). But we found one in the end. Finally! What a long day! Valle de la Luna
Ever wanted to walk on the moon?
We hired some bikes one afternoon and headed to Valle de la Luna (leaving Andrew and his pneumonia behind). Valley of the Moon, so called due to the fact this landscape is very similar to the surface of the moon. Frustratingly difficult to climb (and bike), the salt-enriched ground feels hard at first, but crumbles into nothing right under your feet. I would touch the walls, and it would crumble into nothing in my hands. Very bizarre. We headed off-road and explored a cave, then headed up to the huge sand dune. Oh, and the sunset here wasn´t too shabby. Star Gazing
The Atacama desert is known for having some incredible stargazing. The tours leave San Pedro de Atacama in the evenings and head out to a remote location in the desert to see the pretty stars. But our experience
was very different. For one, it was cloudy (what? this is a very dry desert!). That coupled with the fact we had an awful guide. It took her 5 minutes to find the moon in her telescope and she couldn´t answer any of our questions. It was a waste of time and after a hot chocolate (my highlight), we headed home. I think we just got unlucky (thanks, Yohan). La Franchuteria
It would be a crime to not mention La Franchuteria
, a unforgettable French bakery that we went to every single morning. Think of delicious ham and cheese, dulce de leche, white chocolate and raspberry fresh, hot croissants, excellent coffee, and warm crusty baguettes. It fulfilled our craving for good, fresh bread. Funnily enough, it was Yohan´s recommendation - so, thanks, Yohan! (for real this time).
We would have visted the lagunas and the geysers but due to bad weather over there, it was impossible. After a few days here, we headed to Calama (the nearest airport, 2 hours away) to catch a flight to Santiago, Chile´s capital.
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