Sleep-in after yesterday. Tomorrow we head off but not till 9:30pm and have to check out at 12 so we’re trying to find options to keep us amused. Then I notice we could get an alternate bus but it’s not “direct”. We can’t book online which is really odd.
So we pop out for lunch and card doesn’t work…hmm…that’s not good. Try other card…fail…now that’s really not good. 3rd card lucky and tada!
Once we get back to the hotel it seems ANZ has decided to have all their systems off line for 6hours..which is fine in Aus when you’re asleep between midnight and 6am but for people travelling it’s really bad. See lots of people on social media unable to rent cars, pay for hotels etc.
So we decide to go to the bus terminal to change our ticket…but it’s closed. They shut between 1 and 4.
So John gets a bike and goes riding while I have the exciting task of trying to change our tickets.
He’s sussing out the canyon I wanted to see
and finding the bits that I’m not going to want to do.
The lady at the bus place doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish. Trying to explain I want to turn my San Pedro –> Iquique ticket at 9:30pm to a San Pedro –> Calama and a Calama –> Iquique ticket at 2pm tomorrow is quite challenging.
It’s lucky I’m really stubborn as eventually my perseverance paid off and I actually have the tickets we want.
I did a bit of shopping as there’s a few woolen things here
plus this guy that I really wanted but he was $70 AUS which I just couldn’t bring myself to pay.
Today was a long day. We did a big tour of some of the main sites.
First main stop was at the old bell tower and we saw the nun from the church across the road climb the ladder and ring it.
Next up Tropic of Capricorn.
Pass some vicunas.
Next we arrived at some beautiful lagoon. We’re up really high now but the vegetation increases as we go higher.
The tour company supplied jackets but we almost didn’t take them up on it. Boy was I glad we did.
The wind here was so cold!
Stop at Red Rocks.
Great contrast between the red volcanic rocks and the frozen salt pans. The wind here was insane!
So cold and so strong I really struggled to close the door of the car.
Finally the salt pan.
It’s home to lots of flamingoes
which looks pretty cool with the volcanoes as a backdrop.
Finally we watched the sunset and the mountains get lit up by the setting sun.
Then back to the hotel to crash after 12 hours of driving around! Amazing contrasts of landscape but boy am I wiped!
Saturday morning we had a bit of a sleep in after lots of travel it starts to catch up with you. We have the biggest bed I’ve ever seen. It’s like sleeping in a bed by yourself the other person is so far away and we’re used to sleeping in a King.
The afternoon was a bit of an explore.
Closed gates, avalanches and going to the wrong entry. I found a cool looking canyon you can ride through but found out after we took the bikes back it was further up..doh.
John made a new friend.
This morning we were feeling a bit drained from 3 days being tossed around a 4WD and we had a big journey ahead so we slept in, found the 24h House channel and generally chilled. In the afternoon we said good-bye to Quito and started our 24hr journey to San Pedro de Atacama.
We started with a 1hr drive to the airport, then flight 6,7 and 8 of our trip. Quito to Lima, a 1hr or so wait in Lima then Lima to Santiago where we had 6hr wait. We found the domestic lounge and made use of their comfy seats and I fell asleep. Then Santiago to Calama. There’s literally nothing in this town other than the airport and a giant minesite.
So then a 1hr shuttle bus to San Pedro.
Looks like a few renewable projects going on also as we passed a big solar farm and then a bunch of wind turbines. Checked into our hotel and found a place to hire some bikes and booked a Sunday tour. Not too shabby on hardly any sleep.