Countries 5 Hotels 16 Cars 35
Flights 11:flying time 46.07 hours
Rickshaws 4 Buses 3 Elephant 1 Boat 1
Cog-wheel train 2 Cable cars 4 Subway 4 Ferry 2
Minibus 17 Coach 2 Catamaran 1 Funicular 3
Pick up truck 1
I left the hotel at 6 this morning to catch my 9.15 flight to Calama, the airport is in the desert. When I arrived two lovely young men put my case in the back of a pick up truck, and we drove for about 90 minutes to get to San Pedro de Atacama, with a stop on the way to take photos of the desert.
The roads are very straight and go on for miles and there is nothing to see either side of the roads because, of course it’s a desert, just dust and rocks The guide pointed out little memorials along the road side, usually a little house with a cross and the odd ornament or two, one has an actual car on it. The memorials are where the person died, and my guide suggested that the reason there were so many was because the drive is so boring, the drivers fall asleep, then crash. There were an awful lot of these little things and in some places several all together. We got to the hotel around 1pm.
Now I had to remind myself that I am in the middle of the desert when I saw the outside of the hotel and the dirt track it’s on, however inside it’s an oasis of loveliness.
The rooms look like little mud huts, they’re not made of mud!, they look really sweet, the grounds are lovely with lots of seating areas and a pool. My room has everything a spoilt person would want of a room in the middle of the desert, including a private seating area just outside my room/hut.
So after sampling the lunch at the hotel restaurant I went to explore the town of San Pedro de Atacama. At an altitude of 2,400 meters above sea level, San Pedro has been an important settlement since pre-Hispanic times, it was the stop between trading communities of the coast and mountains. I don’t really know what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting what I saw. One of the oddest places I’ve seen.
The ‘shops’ here are either: selling tours; small grocery shops where mostly European food can be bought; outdoor (high end mainly) clothing; money exchanges; restaurants; and the occasional craft emporium. There are lots of hostels here and so lots of backpackers too. There are lots of street dogs, and so dog crap, everywhere. There is a square which is nice to sit and have a coffee in. It’s just got a vibe that’s not me really. It was good to get back and chill at my lovely hotel. Where I had a coffee outside my hut, took these shots of a volcano, then the views as the sun set, really lovely and once the sun went down really cold.