Northern Lights

Posted on January 19, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Well we left Santiago to go north, and our first stop was La Serena. It took us 7 hours by bus and we had travelled about one tenth the length of the country: as James mentioned before, this place is loooong.
 
We liked La Serena.  We stayed in a nice little hostel called Hostal Croata, although it was about as Croatian as I am. It's a small but interesting city. We went to a super little museum called Museo Arqueologico that was filled with some fantastic pottery from the area, and also had a very good section on Easter Island Art, including a moai (one of the giant stone sculptures the island is famous for).
 
The highlight of the trip to La Serena was a last minute trip to the Mamalluca Observatory – we went on a night tour and saw stars that you can´t see in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as many that you can, except back to front! Neither of us had ever been to an observatory- it was fantastic fun. The guides were great and we really enjoyed it. No pictures obviously, but here is a picture of what we saw on the way to the observatory:
 
 
 
So after La Serena we were on to Valparaiso, about 5 hours south again, and close to Santiago. Valparaiso is an odd place. There are lots and lots of hills, and lots of ascensors (what we would think of as cable cars or funicular railways) to help you up and down, although many of them have been closed as they are unsafe.
 
We stayed at Hostal Patricia – there was at least a Patricia in this one so it beat Hostal Croata! She was welcoming and super friendly, and our room was huge! It wasn't the best appointed hostal we've ever stayed in, but it more than made up for it with the fact that it oozed homeliness and light. 
 
Our favourite part of Valpo was Bellavista- there is a open air art museum that we really liked, full of murals and mosaics in amongst houses and suburbia. Some of the official stuff was a bit bland but we liked this one:
 
 
Lots of people have added unofficial stuff as well, many of it better that the originals. The views are also amazing.
 
 
 
 
After Valparaiso we were back to Santiago for a night where we stayed with the lovely Heinz again, and then we were off to Peru.
 
 xR

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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