We arrived in La Serena and after checking in to our hostel went out for burritos. We managed to find a cheap place that used soya 'meat' which we haven't had since leaving the U.K. Upon leaving the little restaurant we witnessed a man running away with somebody's belongings, our first encounter of crime while in South America. We watched as another man ran after him and then saw the police arrive. We continued to walk past the church and a nativity scene to the Christmas market, the evening air was warm and therefore left us with little festive feeling.
The next day after a lovely breakfast we booked our coach tickets to San Pedro de Atacama and walked to the beach around 20 minutes away. It wasn't the nicest of beaches that we've encountered on our travels, the surrounding area was a little rough around the edges but still we strolled along the sand leaping over the rivers of water that ran to the ocean. An ice lolly helped to cool us down from the searing heat and a gentle swing in the playground while we watched people frolic in the water was a relaxing way to while away some time.
The area surrounding La Serena is famous as a producer of grapes to make Pisco an alcoholic drink well known in Chile. We decided to visit the Elqui Valley the following day to see the landscapes of the Pisco region. We took a collectivo which is a shared bus to Pisco Elqui; the journey took over an hour but went through rolling hills and little towns. We arrived in the tiny town and wandered the streets, where we were dropped off was a pretty church and square sheltered from the sun by all sorts of lush trees and colourful shrubs. We treated ourselves to a refreshing drink at a cafe under a palm tree, the seats and table had been made with repurposed wooden crates painted in pastel shades which was a delight. We took photographs of the graffiti and cacti that littered the town before returning to the pretty square to eat our delicious packed lunch of salad and homemade coleslaw. The heat in the air made walking feel very exhausting and so we sat and watched local children play and had a little nap before taking a collectivo back to La Serena.
The following day we packed our things and before leaving for the desert of San Pedro de Atacama went out for a 'meaty' vegetarian burger and handout chips from a local cafe. Our time in La Serena had been brief, we mostly wanted to break up the journey from Valparaiso to the desert but the friendly hostel and excursion to the pretty Elqui Valley had made the stopover worth it.
🎥 Chile - Up's and Down's:
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