La Serena, Elqui Valley and Coquimbo
La Serena Travel Blog› entry 33 of 93 › view all entries
Knowing that we had an 8-hour coach journey north on Friday and had to be up and ready by 7am meant that I spent Thursday evening in the only sensible manner, by getting drunk in a Bellavista nightclub and getting to know some of the others in the group until 5am. So I was straight back to sleep on the coach, which was much easier to do than on English, American and Canadian counterparts. The coach companies even have a guy who comes around to put a pillow behind your head - nice touch.
By the time I woke up we were almost 6 hours ino the journey and I'd slept right through my hangover. We arrived into La Serena to our hostel and I immediately regretted not making more of the nice hotel we had in Santiago.
We headed back to the hostel to layer up (as soon as the sun goes down it's bitterly cold) and check out what was available with Chad.
The next day we were headed to the Elqui Valley, 40-or-so miles inland fom La Serena with our very knowledgable guide, Geraldo. We stopped at the Puclaro Dam before heading on to a Pisco distillery further into the valley to sample some Pisco in various stages of production.
Back in La Serena Chad had dicovered that La Serena were playing Santiago-based Universidad in the premier Chilean league. The atmosphere was great although strangely the away fans outnumbered the home fans, whose end we were stood in. What they lacked in number they more than made up for in voice and enthusiasm, coming out with song after song ably assisted by a full percussion band! Unfortunately, despite a few moments of excitement and a couple of goals, the standard of Chile's top-flight is lower than I'd anticipated.
We went back to the hostel to pick-up Em and Robyn (more than half of the group had gone to see the night sky from an Elqui valley observatory) and along with Tim, Matt and Chad we took the crammed public bus for the 30 minute journey to Coquimbo. It was now almost midnight and around about the time that South American nights begin. As soon as we arrived it was clear why La Serena lived-up to it's name, everbody in northern Chile was in Coquimbo. We headed first to a bar with a live band about to play, but soon after they started their rock/emo/Green Day-esque set it was clear that either they needed more practice or we just weren't tuned-in to Chile's 'alternative' scene. Moving on, we (strangely) found a Brit-based bar, complete with Union Jack flags everywhere and a Coldstream Guard statue in the doorway.
With our hotstepping going on until the very early hours, Sunday began lazily, or as lazy as we could manage in a very cold room. It was warmer outside, so we headed out to have a look around La Serena, which was even quieter now being Sunday. We found some internet to chat to home and met the rest of the group down on some playing fields to kick a footy around and get to know them all a bit better, before wandering about the mall to get some provisions. We had a 17-hour overnight coach trip to look forward to..