22 October, 2012

Day 109, 220km: To San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is a town in Northern Chile, close to the border with Bolivia. It's actually close to the Salar de Uyuni. But since I left the Salar from the north, I looped during the past 3 days and was now back in the region. A quick look on Trip Advisor told me there was plenty of hotels and hostels so I thought I was going to a massive city somewhere up in the mountains. Boy I was wrong.

Leaving Maria Elena, heading for the mountains
The day started with a 60km close to straight line. Perfect when you're still asleep! It was a challenge staying awake on that road.
On that long, flat stretch, the temperature went up by 10 degrees C in just over 30 minutes. That's quite amazing how little heat the thin and dry air can keep here. Nights are cold, days are hot. Oh yeah right we call that a desert.
The cordillera's summits ahead in the distance
Driving west up there, one side of the bike was facing the sun while the other was in the shadow. It was impressive to feel the temperature difference, one leg being warm and comfy and the other one really cold.
The silence up there was amazing. Like it was on the Salar. You hear noises that you've never heard before.

Oh so that might not be the huge town I had in mind
 Arriving in San Pedro, I saw this sign "1938 habitantes" and realized that there was no big city, but more likely a tourist village with dozens of hostels.

The view above San Pedro
I started circling the town, looking for a place to stay for the next two or three days, as I planned to visit the region and its telescopes.

French license plates! This 4x4 is badass
 Since I was still early there, I stopped for breakfast on the plaza. It's actually a rather cute village. Plus the temperature is nice with around 20degreesC.

San Pedro de Atacama
I circled the city quite a bit to find a hostel
And finally found something nice, quiet, with good internet
I'm going to stay at least two days, get some rest, try to explore the region, possibly the telescopes and get into an astronomy tour of some kind.
A full laundry is also in order, since my boots and I have been staying separately for the last 10 days. They need a wash :-)


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