We arrived in La Serena at 5.30pm on Wednesday 14 October and the three of us walked to our hostel. We stayed in a nice little triple room in the gardens of 'Maria’s Casa'. Chile was playing Ecuador at 7pm so we found a bar with a big screen and ordered a couple of pitchers of Cristal beer. There was even a TV crew in the bar filming the crowd of people anytime something exciting happened. Chile won the game and celebrations followed but nothing like that of Santiago 4 days earlier. We went for dinner in a local restaurant but the food wasn’t great. Then we returned to our room and had a relatively early night. We all slept until midday and then we walked into town and went for lunch at the café in Santa Isabel supermarket. They served a very good and very cheap 'Menu del Dia' and we were full up afterwards. La Serena is one of the best places to go on an observatory tour to view the stars but when we tried to book they said it was too cloudy and that the observatory was closed the following night. We were really disappointed but figured
we would do a similar tour when we got to our next destination San Pedro de Atacama. On Thursday night we went to a nice restaurant and the food was really good. Then we bought a few bottles of beer and returned to the hostel to play cards. A group of 4 girls joined us and we sat until 2.30am before deciding to go out to try and buy more beer. The shops were closed but we heard some loud music coming from a building and the odd local person was knocking on the door. We hung around outside and when the doorman answered we asked him could we all come in. He eventually let us in and we were allowed to order 2 pitchers of Cristal (I don’t think they were allowed to serve after 3am and the place closed at 4am). The bar was packed with locals and there was a big projector screen with karaoke and a few people were singing. They seemed to like our presence and before long we were made to sing Lionel Richie’s Easy (Like Sunday Morning). After that they cleared the tables and everyone started dancing. We left the bar just after
4am but it took us a while to get back between knocking on random doors in hope of more alcohol, queuing for food or just talking to drunken strangers. Once again we got up around midday and went to the supermarket café for the Menu of the Day. Then we walked to the beach and spent a couple of hours sunbathing. We started the evening with a couple of beers in the hostel and then we went for dinner. I had a nice pasta alfredo and shared a good bottle of Chilean red wine with David. Then we went to a bar with plastic chairs and tables that felt as though we were in a huge marquee. The bar was packed, drinks were cheap and the music was good. We decided we needed to play drinking games as we were fading fast. We took it in turns to name famous people beginning with a particular letter and if we didn’t answer correctly in 5 seconds we had to drink. Some of the answers were hilarious and before we knew it we had got through 4 litres of beer and we were ready to move on. We went back to the
karaoke bar from the previous night and after knocking, the doorman let us in. Again, the locals were pleased to see us and we did our best to talk to them. After a few more pitchers and some dancing we eventually left the bar at 5am. Once again it took 45 minutes to walk home when normally it would take 10 minutes. We woke up at midday which was the time we were supposed to check out. David negotiated that we could check out at 3pm so we stayed in bed until 2pm and then got ready to go. Our bus was not until 6pm so we went to Santa Isabel again for lunch. Then we spent an hour walking around the shops before going back to the hostel to collect our bags and go to the bus station for our 6pm bus to San Pedro de Atacama. Again, the scenery was quite dramatic as we took the coastal road north through the mountains.
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