Vicuna Travel Blog› entry 5 of 27 › view all entries
My day starts at the excellent coffe shop in La Serena over omelette and tea. A walk around the Plaza de Armas and then off to the bus station. Special thank you to Claudia, Thomas and their parents at the Don Carlos Hostel. There is a mad rush for the bus at the Station, by the time my luggage is in the boot it is standing room only for the hours journey to Vicuna. The words "tube" and "used to it" spring to mind.
So the road follows the rio elqui (see how good my Spanish is getting) up into the valley the Andes looming higher in the distance, the river is dammed forming a lake which fills up thevalley for the next few miles, it´s blue in contrast to the brown bare mountains.
The bus passes numerous villages some just perched on the hillsside other offering camping and retreats.
We arrive at Vicuna with the square, fountain and trees (why change a winning formula) and I wander off to find my hostel again a family house with accomodation spread around a garden. My room is small, my bathroom is larger. A cold shower not of choice and I wander back into town to book the tour of the observatory. I find a pleasent place for beer and dinner a huge stake rice and chips (the chips arranged in a jenga style stack tempting you take the middle one and see if they all stay up) and then back to the square where a big concert is about to take place, by I think the chilian equivalent of the nolan sisters. Shame I´m going to miss that one.
The observatory is high on the hill, the elqui valley has 350 clear days a year hence is perfect for star gazing and home to several observatories. High above the town and with the moon safely behind a large mountain we can see clearly the milky way and the magallen clouds whivch are other galaxies (before you all rush out into your cold ruislip, northwood oxford gardens they are only visible from the southern hemisphere). We get a very informative talk of the stars did you know beetlejuice is red because it´s dying ? After a lesson in astrology a pick of the stars looking at nebulas through the telescope we go inside to view Mars and saturn. To see the ring of Saturn so clearly was the best part of the trip for me. We finished with a view of the moon and picking out the crators. A really good trip. back in town the Nolan´s have packed up and gone home we buy a beer 1 pound 1 litre now that´s a pricing stratergy i could get to like, and sit back at the hostel looking at the stars listening to everyone speak Spanish satisfied in the knowledge I don´t really care what any of them are saying !!