Geysers, Lagoons and sunsets
18.08.2010 - 21.08.2010
After leaving Valparaiso I took the bus 7 hours up the coast to a small town called La Serena, from here I took a bus up the valley for the day to another small village called Vicunya which was nice but pretty non-descript. Anyway that night I headed off again on a 17 hour bus ride to a small town in the middle of the Atacama.
The town, San Pedro de Atacama, is built pretty much entirely around tourism with absolutely nothing to do except go on tours. While the sheer volume of tourists is pretty annoying the sights around the town are stunning. I arrived at about half 8 in the morning and met a couple of dutch guys in the hostel I was staying in. That afternoon we headed out to a spot the called the Valley of the Moon (named so because if you imagine budget 50's sci-fi movies set on the moon that's kind of how it looks). We stayed there for sunset where the setting sun turns the distant mountains purple and red. It was pretty sweet but best check the pictures.
The next day me and team Holland got up at half 3 to get a minibus up to El Tatio geysers; at 4500m the highest geothermal field in the world. Watching the sun rise as geysers were blowing off around us was pretty special and would probably have been even better if it wasn't about -10. The cure for the cold however was to strip off and dive in a hot geothermal pool which was amazing while I was in it but getting out again afterwards, less so. We then headed back checking out some volcanoes and llama on the way.
The afternoon we went out again to a few lagoons dotted around the San Pedro basin. The first was massive and so salty you can 'stand up' in the water. It was generally pretty shallow except for this dark bit in the middle which apparently plunged several hundred meters down into the earth. The next couple of lagoons were just random holes in the rock, filled with water. I don't know how they came to be but these too are several hundred meters deep. The final lagoon was the backdrop for another sunset. This one was amazing but see the photos.
That night we met up with a few other people from the hostel and got well pissed on red wine and pisco. This morning we decided to stay in bed instead of going on a tour we'd already booked to try and alleviate the pain in our respective heads. And today I have been feeling so rough, which isn't helped by being in the middle of a desert. Pisco is the work of the devil.
Anyway tonight I leave San Pedro for a rather ramshackle journey to Bolivia. At 4pm tomorrow I'm supposed to be meeting Helen at a bus stop in a Bolivian town called Uyuni. Will I get there tomorrow? Stay tuned for the next installment of my shit blog........