02 November, 2012

Day 116, 429km: Leaving the desert

After a week in the Atacama desert, it's time to be back in tempered regions, with these strange little green things covering the ground. Trees I think they're called.

That's a sign
These past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about where my trip is going to end. Depending on the time available that'll be either Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro. The safe option and my current plan is Buenos Aires. Well this morning when I asked Garmin to take me to La Serena, Chile, it managed to let me know its own opinion on what should be my final destination.
Got me thinking. Can I wake it? A bit more than 4 weeks left, and a lot of distance. We shall see!

Beautiful skies up there
Slowly but surely as I headed south on this road, vegetation came back. First a few bushes here and there. Then the hills got covered with scattered grass, then small trees. It was fun to see how creative nature can be when it comes to inhabiting the inhabitable. That was a pretty uneventful morning.

Charqui de caballo
Stopped for lunch and unpacked the food I bought on the road side. I saw a sign saying "Charqui" and that reminded me of USA's beef jerky (which is delicious). Well here it's (or at least this variety that I bought) is quite different. First, it's caballo (horse) which tastes pretty strong. Second, it isn't seasoned at all. Just dry slices of meat, which will put your teeth to the test as it's really hard.
Well. I'll have to see if there's seasoned charqui over here, because this was pretty disappointing!

Arriving in La Serena
I arrived in La Serena around maybe 5pm and thought that'd be a good place to spend the night. A vast bay going all the way to Coquimbo, 15km away. Strangely enough the "old town" isn't on the seashore but 2km away from it. It featured nice buildings and a relaxed atmosphere but I was looking forward to enjoying the seaside view after a week in the desert.

La Serena Plaza de Armas IIRC
Arriving on the shore-side road, I started looking for a place where I could have a beer and enjoy the sunset. It being a Monday, there weren't many people and most bars/cafes were closed. At one end of the bay the only place opened was packed. No place to sit. Came back to the other end of the bay and found another place with a nice view of the bay.

No alcohol, said the waitress, it's election day we aren't serving any. Ha! I never understood the rationale behind "no alcohol on election days" but whatever.

So I looked for a hotel, found somewhere with a nice sea-view and enjoyed the night with the sound of the waves crashing.


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