Tuesday, April 21, 2009

La Serena and Vicuna

We left Vallapariso and headed north by bus to La Serena. Founded in 1544, La Serena is located on the pacific coast and is Chile´s second oldest city. Many of the buildings in La Serena still have much of there colonial charm. We stayed in the home of a sweet little chilean woman named Iris. In La Serena, we were hoping to be able to relax on the beach and soak up some sun. Much to our dissappointment, it was too cold to even think about shedding layers of clothing that we have been wearing ever since Ushuia. We went for a walk on the beach anyways followed, as usual, by a pack of stray dogs.

From La Serena we took a short bus ride inland to the village of Vicuna. Along the road we could see acres and acres of grape, avacado, papaya and plantantions along the valley floors.
Uphill from the valleys, the landscape could be described as desert complete with cactus and tumble-weeds.
The remote inland location helps make the hills around Vicuna perfect for observing the stars. As a result, several international observatories have been established close to Vicuna. We booked a tour and talk at Observatorio Mamalluca. Both the stars and our tour guide were amazing that night, and we can now identify several constelations in the southern hemisphere with confidence.

From Vicuna, we headed back to La Serena to catch a bus north to San Pedro De Atacama.

Chile Fun Fact: The most popular junk/fast food in Chile is a hot dog completo. A hot dog completo is a footlong slider with guacamole and somtimes tomatoe and mayo on it. You can get completo´s everywhere!

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