Last week we had a lot of free time, so a few of the girls in the group and I went on a little bus trip up to La Serena/Vicuna/Pisco Elqui for a few nights. I've split up the photos between the two posts so as not to inundate you, but it was breathtaking.
First stop was La Serena, a mid-size coastal city. It was a long, long bus ride (12 hours+ total) and we were pretty tired when we arrived. We didn't really do much in the way of touring the first day, but we did go for a shortish afternoon walk to the beach. I was surprised at how warm the water was! I am used to the frigid waters of Oregon, and I assumed that the water here would be the same. I really enjoyed slipping my shoes off and enjoying the warm sand and water after the long day!
The main strip had several sculptures, mostly portraying people in acts of bathing or playing with children. This bathtub fascinated me though! Why? Why have a random tub on the side of a walkway? What does it mean?
We spent one night in La Serena, and then traveled to the Pisco Elqui/Vicuna area. We went to Vicuna for the observatories, and it was so worthwhile. The ozone layer is much thinner here than it is in Oregon, and the visibility was amazing. Watching the stars that night, looking into the telescopes, every minute was just mesmerizing. There was such a peaceful stillness there on the mountain, and I hope to experience that again.
Random tidbit: Chile has a great deal of the same franchises/stores as Oregon, and I had seen several McDonalds while here, but no Subways. I had just spent a solid 20 seconds whining about it while walking past McDonalds #20000 when we came across this beauty. I don't eat a ton of Subway in the U.S., but this was such a nice taste of home. I really, really enjoyed that veggie sub! We ate local cuisine every other night, and only stopped here because it was a holiday and a great deal of the good, non-chain restaurants were closed. I'm really trying to eat/shop local as much as I can while here.