Chile

Well, we just arrived back into Argentina after spending 3 weeks in northern and middle Chile. We will be returning to Chile in a couple of weeks to drive south down the Carretera Austral.  Chile, for us, was and will be about the natural history – the coast and beaches, the astronomy and numerous observatories in the Atacama Desert, the national parks for hiking and fly fishing, and, of course, the wine.

Our blog posts, for the most part, have been not so much a day-to-day recap of what we’ve been doing but more stories and experiences, but, as Henrik mentioned in a previous post, I do keep a journal that I write in every day. It’s a hodge-podge of writing, maps, museum brochures, restaurant cards, and other touristy-type items. Pretty much the day-to-day stuff.

New journal - so clean and pristine!

 

My journal now...

 

A page from a day in Sucre, Bolivia

 
Anyway, since I really don’t have a good story to tell at the moment – no, that’s not true but I’ll post that later – I thought I would share a few highlights of our time in Chile.
 
We arrived in Chile from Peru on Monday, January 2 and after spending a few days at non-memorable beach campsites (I know, really???), and wicked long days of driving, we arrived in Bahia Inglesa which is a beautiful summer beach town about 1200 km south of the northern border of Peru. The campground was a 5 minute walk from the main beach and we spent 4 days relaxing, reading, and playing in the ocean.
 

Henrik enjoying some beach time

 
 We then continued to drive through the Atacama Desert and spent an evening at the Mamalluca Observatory to do some star and planet gazing. At our campsite (within walking distance of the observatory) we met a lovely family, Jose y Norma who are amateur astronomers and we had our first lesson of the constellations in the Southern Hemisphere. Then we headed to the Observatory late in the night to use some more powerful telescopes. Very cool.
 

Stargazing at our campsite

 
We then headed to Valparaiso, a very pretty coastal city. We needed to have a business day, including taking the truck in to get washed and serviced – oil change, tire rotation, etc. We found a fabulous Chevrolet dealer and, while the truck was getting serviced, we wandered around the city and ended up having a drink at the beach bar and experiencing an earth tremor!
 

Chevy Dealership in Valpo

 

 
 From Valpo, we headed to two of the major wine valleys in Chile – the Casablanca Valley (known for their white wines and Pinot Noirs) and the Maipo Valley (known for their reds, especially from the Camanere grape). Lots of wine was consumed and purchased!
 

Enjoying some wine at the Emiliana Organic Vineyard

 

 
Finally, we visited two lovely parks – Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay and Parque Nacional Conguillio. Beautiful campgrounds and excellent hiking.
 

Mirador del Venado - RN Altos de Lircay

 

 

Beautiful campground at PN Conguillio

Monkey Puzzle Trees (Araucarias). Only the Mapuche people are allowed to gather the pine nuts.

So, there you have some highlights from Chile. A rather long post, but I hope you found it interesting. Adios for now.
 
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