Caves and iron churches. Arica.

Published: May 4th 2012
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First of all dear blog followers a confession. I have had my first South American MacDonalds.Wandering around the city of Arica in search of an iron construction church designed by Eiffel - he who built the tower that bears his name in Paris- I saw the golden arches on top of a large pole. I started to salivated. Resistance was futile as having not eaten anything except Henny's grapes the night before, and despite the promise I try and make every time I go away to solely eat the food of the country I am in, I caved in and wandered inside. It was like a magnet and there was nothing I could do to resist. It was also a public holiday in Chile, it being May 1st, and nothing else was open."A big mac meal, fries and coke" por favor!Sat in the sunshine I savoured every mouthful, except the gerkins which I hate and always fish out. Meat, vegetables, bun, potato, sauce. A meal in a box.Digesting it however was a different matter and it sat like a lump of lead in my stomoch. The yinn and yang of fast food I suppose. First the pleasure and then the pain. A brisk walk was needed to help the burger and fries go down and come out. As Ben Elton once noted. Should have bought it and chucked it straight down the toilet. Cut out the middle man. None the less, despite breaking the promises I made to my self, the lump of shite now sat in my stomoch sloshing stound in a syrupy sugery brown solution it was worth every last peso. Confession over.Arica is a large city build within a valley. An important port town it has seen its fair share of battles, the last being the Pacific war in the late 19th century when Chile came out supreme and seized it from Peru. Bolivia also had an eye on the place, for then the country would not be land locked. There is a large military presence in the town, a reminder that Chile will not give up this place in a hurry, should other countries be mindful to have a go.On top of the hill overlooking the town is a huge statue of Christ. Decided to climb up and have a look. On the way I found Eiffels iron church in the main square and it looked very shabby and rusty. I suppose, even being in one of the driest places on earth the elements will stlll find a way to take it back. The old railway station was a much nicer building. Spanish in style with a terracotta roof.Found the path to the top of the hill and after 20 minutes made it. A fantasitic mirador - viewpoint. Could see the snow covered mountains of Peru in the distance where I will be heading Friday and the beach were I body boarded on Monday. As I did not stand up I will not call it surfing just yet.<br style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969);" />A huge flag flapping about in the stiff breeze, the remnants of war dotted around it. Cannons through the centuries. Sitting beside the flag a museum about the history of the town and the battles that raged here. There was an entrance fee. Happily there was no roof and the walls were only 5 feet tall, meaning I could wander around the outside looking at all the exhibits within for free.The statue of Christ is enormous. With his arms open, looking out to sea, it is similar to the world famous statue in Rio de Janerio.He sits upon the smallest of buildings which is a church. Room for only four rows of pews, an alter snd a smaller image of the man himself. It was tiny and those who make the climb every sunday must be good catholics. I suspect most come up by car but you never know, there may be some diehards about this city. Unfortunately the church was locked so could not venture in.<br style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969);" />Big Mac firmly digested it was time to venture back to the hostel as some movement was in the offiing and PDQ to. Ben Elton was right after all. Should have chucked it straight down the bog.Disco out.

"Let's go to the caves" says Yoyo. After the "let's have a barbeque" statement the night before I was a little dubious but went along for the ride.It was truely fantastic spontaneous night, as most spontaneous events are.Eight of us crammed into the beat up old Mitsubishi. Yoyo, Rich & Stacey- Canadian , Carmen, Henny, Samantha - Dutch, Julien-France and me.Situated some 10kms south of Arica is a coastline of powerful beauty. Rocks that have been eroded over the millennia forming caves and walk throughs. Stunning scenery we arrived to watch the sun set, the mighty rollers of the ocean crashing in making the noise of thunder as it smashes against the rocks, the foam spraying all around. Opened a tin of beer and we all sat there as the colours in the sky faded to red orange and yellow. Truely awe inspiring. At one with nature. Difficult really to describe it so I won't and hope the pictures, which paint a thousand words, do it justice.We all then went to a beach bar and sat round a fire (barbeque stand which was burning properly) drinking beer and eating sea food empanadas. I had osiones and queso -Scollops and cheese.A fabulous spontaneous night and memories shared.Disco out

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sunsetting at caves

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