Chile - La Serena

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July 5th 2017
Published: July 6th 2017
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Suzanne here...

The bus arrived in La Serena 1.5 hours late. Not usually a big deal, but we'd booked an apartment and given an arrival time of 2pm, and it was that already. There were no taxi's (perhaps as the Confederations Cup Final between Chile and Germany was on). Nor could I find free wi-fi anywhere to let them know. We found the bus stop and after a bit of a wait a bus came along and took us to within 10 minutes walk of the apartment. We were just under an hour late. The security chap had to phone the guy (who had given up waiting for us) to come back. All rather embarrassing.

Still, the apartment was fabulous. Modern and with a great sea view. We quickly settled in and then went out to the supermarket. We planned to cook all three nights to save some money. The first supermarket was shut (it was a Sunday) and we feared the worst. But thankfully another, bigger supermarket a few meters further down the road was open. We got some essentials and dinner ingredients then looked for the wine. Nothing. The display was covered over. Presumably shops can't sell alcohol on a Sunday, although we'd not heard that anywhere. Of course we could easily have given it a miss. But after a twenty hour bus journey, and with a sofa and TV showing English language films, it was a bit of a blow.

We got back to the apartment and dropped of the shopping. A quick Google showed another shop nearby. For reasons that will become clear I won't say too much about it. We made our way there to find no beer on display. Foiled again. I was happy to give up, and a bit embarrassed when David insisted on asking them. The shopkeeper answered 'Si' and made a zipping motion across their mouth. Aha! The upshot was we got some under the counter beer and wine, and were very grateful for it.

Back at the apartment I cooked up a fish and pasta dish which made a nice change from meat. Then it was an evening on the sofa watching The Avengers and Thor Dark World. A night in watching films is such a simple pleasure at home, and much missed when you are traveling. It might sound a bit boring. Certainly we wouldn't want to do it every night. But once in a while it's nice to have home comforts.

The next day was a bit overcast. We took a walk along the coast, but a seaside resort out of season when it's gloomy can be a bit depressing. So we headed into town for a look around. La Serena isn't full of sights, but it's a nice little town. We tried two different empanada places in the name of research. The first one was a pino (meat, olives and egg) and was quite nice. The second one, chicken, was terrible. Undercooked and bland. Oh well, we'll just have to keep up the research. After another supermarket stop we walked the 7km home. Back at the apartment I cooked steak (sadly a bit tough) and we settled down to another cosy evening with The Fantastic Four and A Perfect Getaway.

The next day was sunny, hurrah! We walked along the coast again, the other way this time, towards the neighbouring town of Coquimbo. It was a lovely day. Along the way we saw loads of pelicans and sealions. We made it all the way to Fort Lambert, 8km away. Aparently the town had a bad spell in history due to pirates. Mostly English. Sorry about that. There was a woman on the gate who indicated we needed to pay but wouldn't say how much. We gathered it was a discretionary tip. David pulled a note out which happened to be a C$10,000 and she nodded enthusiastically. Yeah, right! There was a C$1,000 note in there already so David put C$2,000 which she looked less impressed with. Anyway, it was small but a nice spot, we sat there in the sun enjoying the spectacular view.

We stopped off in the centre of Coquimbo, and popped into the supermarket, before catching a bus back to La Serena to save us from the long walk back. Our first priority was to get a laundry load in, and that achieved we settled down for another quiet night in. The film delights for that evening were Finding Dory and Ted 2. Possibly not what we would have chosen but diverting enough. We have felt quite virtuous cooking every night, but I'm looking forward to eating out again at the next stop.

The next day we had a lazy morning and, sadly, left our lovely apartment at noon as the next stop was only an hour away. We jumped straight on a bus to the main bus station, and were there in no time. Then almost immediately we were on another bus to Vicuna.

We've enjoyed La Serena. Mainly for the apartment and a little slice of normality. I don't think it is unmissable, especially out of season. But it was good to be away from other tourists, and it is a pleasant enough place to spend a day or two.

Additional photos below
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12th July 2017
...lots more

Love this photo
13th July 2017
...lots more

Always nice to have my lack of photography skills appreciated! ;-)
29th October 2017

no booze on election day
hello. i've enjoyed reading some of your travels, especially your time in chile. i'm sure you figured this out at the time, but since there's no mention of it in the blog i'll just throw it out there. you mentioned not being able to buy alcohol on sunday july 2nd (you mention the confederation cup final that day). that also happened to be an election day in chile (local municipal elections in the country). as in many countries, alcohol cannot be sold on election days in chile (which is always a sunday). there is no sunday alcohol prohibition in chile. anyway, just wanted to pass that along. glad you have enjoyed chile up to this point (as far as i've gotten---i have no idea where in the world you two actually are now). saludos!
31st October 2017

Home again!
Hi James, Many thanks for the information. Unfortunately, we are now back at home in England, our year of travelling now over. But what a year! We enjoyed Chile very much, especially San Pedro and Valparaiso. Santiago also holds some lovely memories for us as well. All the best to you!

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