Well, we got to San Pedro de Atacama on Sunday night and checked into a quite unexpectedly cool accommodation…A mud brick little private cottage!
The town is all made of adobe and with no measurable rain in the last few years is unlikely to wash away.
We are at 2400 metres altitude in town and have done some day trips that took us over 4000 metres. Andrew was fine up at El Tatio Geysers and was bopping about disappearing into the mist taking photos. I however was taking it very slowly and had a bit of a tight headache until we came down a bit lower. Puno/Lake Titicaca should be interesting, altitude-wise!
The geysers were pretty amazing. We had a 4 am pickup at our hotel and a 2 hour very bumpy minibus ride with other weary travelers to the geyser field. There is also a thermal pool that one can swim in which is one of the highest in the world. Let me remind you that we were over 4000 m and it was minus 10 celcius. But I am proud to say that I took the plunge and was warmer there than in three layers of polar fleece, 2 pairs of wool socks and boots. Andrew, as ever, took photos!
That was today. Yesterday afternoon we headed out to the Vale de la Luna which as the name suggests, was quite lunar! We stayed for a sunset like you only see in the desert! Really fabulous rock formations and canyons and in the distance, the view of 8 or so volcanoes, 2 of them active.
Food – it has been pretty good here! Interesting courtyard restaurants with tourist oriented food. Well executed chicken, fish and beef dishes with local twists like the addition of Quinoa (a grain) and local herbs and spices.
Today´s empanadas were (as my nephew Gram says) nearly as big as your head! Muy Grande and hand made of course.
Tomorrow night we have an overnight bus ride to the Chilean coast to the town of Arica, where we will relax a few days at the beach before charging feet first into Peru!
Until our next instalment, keep well and stay away from pigs!
Cheers, Lou and Roo