We took the bus from Salta to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The drive through the Andes was amazing. We reached heights of 4200m above sea level and it was our first taste of high altitude. It didn’t affect us as much as it could have but we did feel it. Symptoms are headache, short of breath, vomiting and in some cases nose bleeds. All we really suffered from was short breath and slight headache but Michelle did feel like getting sick. Aspirin helps with Altitude sickness but I’m afraid we came without any. When we arrived in San Pedro a guy had to get oxygen. It can affect anyone regardless of fitness or age. A few times on the bus when I fell asleep, I woke up gasping for air. At the border in Chile, the customs gave a good search through all our bags. Luckily again the tea bags made it unnoticed and we’re beginning to think they have magic hiding powers!
San Pedro was the way we pictured South America. It has dusty cobbled thin streets, with small buildings where you have to duck your head to get in. The pictures of the town will describe it
best. After we checked in we went in search of some tours to do for the few days. The most important one, which we booked first, was the 3 day/2 night Salt Flats tour in Bolivia. This cost US$115 each and would included travel, food and accommodation. Also we booked a tour with a French guy to see the stars from the desert sky.
As we had arrived late in San Pedro there wasn’t much else we could do but eat. We went to a lovely restaurant where we sat outside in a courtyard. In the middle was a big iron bowl with a fire in it keeping everyone warm. As we are in a desert it gets very cold at night so we were well wrapped up as well.
The next day we booked a tour to visit Moon Valley. That wasn’t until 3pm so we went and saw all the sights in San Pedro. The church in San Pedro was open to the public but no photo’s were allowed as it hurt the saints faces!! Inside was beautiful with creaking floor boards and colourful statues. We also visited the museum to see how the local Atacamenos
survived thousands of years ago. It was interesting but the mummies found preserved in the mountains were taken out as the indigenous people found it disrespectful to have them on display.
At 3pm we went on our tour of the surrounding area to see the moon valley as it is known. It is called this as it resembles the surface of the moon. There were six of us on the tour. We visited a view point where numerous volcanoes were pointed out to us. One which is active is due to erupt soon as it does so every three or so years. From here we went to see a cave and walked through it. After that we went to see the sun set from the top of a mountain. The sun set wasn’t that great but it was the changing of the colours on the mountains behind the sun set which was best. We had met a Dutch girl on our tour and arranged to meet up later that evening for dinner. The next day we would go sand boarding in the middle of the desert on some sand dunes. You can go on a tour or rent a
bike and board and cycle out and do it yourself. While on our moon tour we had seen people doing it and the sand dune was certainly steep. Lets hope we do have to come home early with broken legs!!
In a bit. DH
Song of the blog: Bonnie Tyler - Total eclipse of the heart
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