Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Long Weekend

Originally uploaded by Travels and Escapades
The Chileans really know how to liven’ up their winter. This weekend was the second long weekend in July.

On Canada Day long weekend we tried to go to El Morado but were unsuccessful mainly because we couldn’t understand exactly when and where the bus would leave.
It was a good though, because we now understand that it’s not the best time of year to visit this area. It is close to the mountains and not very accessible.

So we started researching and asking questions about an area north of Santiago near La Serena. We were told that there was a beautiful valley to the east of this city that’s well known for its Space Observatories, spirituality, clear skies, magnetism, papaya’s, pisco distillery’s and UFO sightings. This area actually has the highest levels of magnetism on earth and its telescopes are some of the biggest and most powerful.

So after our classes on Friday we caught a bus 500km north along the Pacific coast into a dry cactus covered land. We arrived in La Serena around 6pm and immediately bought tickets into the Elqui Valley. The bus took us to the main town, Vicuna, in the valley with a population of 7000 people. We got a room had a couple pisco sours and had a little time to gaze up at the stars before we fell asleep from a long day of travel.

We woke up in the morning to a beautiful cloudless day. We walked through the streets and then out of town and up a big hill for some nice views of the surrounding landscape, the town below, and the observatories far off on hills in the distance.

Later we went further into the valley towards the Andes by catching a bus to the end of the line - Pisco Elqui. It was a really nice drive even though the valley isn’t as lush as it usually is during the summer. We went through Monte Grande, the birth place of Gabrial Mistral, Chile’s other nobel prize winning poet, and continued down the road to Pisco Elqui. We had reserved a cabana here where we chilled out for two nights. Other than relaxing by the pool or going across the road to watch locals play soccer we went for a nice long hike up and around a nearby mountain going down through a vineyard over a fence and then followed the road back into town. The sun and altitude made for an exhausting trek so we went to a local juice bar afterwards and each had an all natural papaya drink.

We are back in Santiago now and don’t know when we’ll see another long weekend. We’ve hit winters peak and are looking forward to getting some of that sun you’ve all been basking in the last couple of months.

In other notes Chile is very excited about it’s junior soccer team that is well in the under 20 championships being held in cities across Canada. Tonight they are playing Argentina for a birth in the finals. Go Chile!

This just in....Chile lost and got in a fight with the Toronto police afterwards! We are laying low on being Canadian for a few days!

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