Bye Bye San Pedro de Atacama

Our last was spent traveling by bus to the ALMA site, the world’s largest radio telescope. We made reservations for this two months ago. For Andre, it was a pilgrimage. We toured the laboratory where they receive the signals from space. The big receiver dishes are way up on a desert plateau where all the scientists and workers have to wear oxygen to go up there. Needless to say, we did not go up there. It was incredible seeing how they are investigating space and the origins of life. The desert in Chile has the driest place in the world, perfect for looking into space.

In the evening we were supposed to look at stars through telescopes out in the desert but it was cancelled because of cloudy weather so Andre and I walked around San Pedro, shopped, visited the church and a heard a cultural dance and music performance in the plaza.

Our very last day, we packed and met Eleanor for croissants, then taxied over to see Chilen s place and Eleanore’s “Earth Ship”

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Our two story Cabana, last two days.

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Inspecting an adobe building

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Eleanore’s “Earthship” in progress.

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ADIOS! Andre, Chilen and Eleanore

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San Pedro Church w/cactus ceiling

House that is in progress and said our goodbyes before starting our long journey back to S.F.

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El Tatio Geysers – The Andes

Our casita.

Up at 5am to head out to see the geysers at sunrise. The geysers are biggest when it’s colder. – 17 c

14,000 Ft elevation. I defitely felt the altitude. They gave me Coca leaf tea for the cure. We saw flamingoes, vicuña, llamas, Andes geese, Huge coots, Andes sea gulls, and multicolored Chilean ducks in a wetland high in the Andes.

Back to San Pedro to get our bags and out to Tulor for a night on the edge of the salt flats in a hand built adobe house. Eleanore  came out last night for an outdoor dinner. You could almost touch the stars overhead. Today we woke up to a sunrise on the desert and peace and quiet like I have not experienced for a little no time.

A thermal geyser

Andre with geyser

Main House in Tulor

 

 

Sun setting on the Andes

Andre making Espressos

Rainbow canyon

We made a trip into the Rainbow Canyon on a private tour. It was pretty fabulous. Andre loved all the interesting rocks, and there were lots of llamas, birds, and ancient petroglyphs.it was pretty high elevation 10,000 ft.

Health report: it’s been tricky, adjusting to the altitude, dry desert air, a stomach problem (me) and dehydration  for the first couple of days but we are doing better plus it’s cold here.

tomorrow the get

Petroglyph

Roadside llama

Andre amongst rock

 

 

If it’s Tuesday this must be The desert.

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What a pleasant surprise! We found a wonderful French bakery with Chocolate Croissants and baguettes, run by a young Frenchman. We made reservations for a tour for tomorrow to see a rainbow canyon and we will do some hiking.

 On to lunch at Eleanore’s and to an event at the school where all Eleanore’s children attend. This was in another town\oasis about a half an hour away. They had a big stage set up and entertainment. First a Pavarotti in the Desert singer then little kids dancing to YMCA (in English). It was rather surreal.  We cut out early and walked around the town, visiting a weaving shop and checking out the town’s water system.

The towns in the desert are supplied with water by a river or two that is channeled into sluices and small gates that open into people’s property in order to irrigate. A clever system developed by the pre-Incans thousands of years ago. It’s pretty interesting.

 

Weaving shop

Breakfasr at Tiffany’s

Irrigation of Corn

San Pedro de Atacama

I did not get a post out yesterday because we were tired after flying to Calama and then on to San Pedro two hours in a van. We went out for a wonderful dinner in town with Eleanore and Noa her daughter and had several Pisco Sours with dinner.

This morning was great.  We

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Afternoon shadows, Andre and Eleanore

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Wonderful Family Dinner

visited the park where Eleanore works and walked horses through the desert for 2 1/2 miles. It was an experience for the books.  Lunch at a local cafe for a Chilean lunch. In the afternoon, we drove to the Valley of the Moon and watched the moon come up over the Andes as the sun set. Unbelievable colors. What a day that was.

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Tourists w/volcano in background


This horse became my friend

We Made it to Santiago!

fish Market Restaurant

Amazing! We landed in Santiago this morning and shuttled to our hotel then rode the subway to the city plaza. Walked all over; people watching, listening to music everywhere and trying to speak Spanish. There was a cultural event going on with dancing and music from early 1800’s in Santiago. We had lunch in a small fish market cafe and went to an artisan market for special lapis jewelry. Exhausted…back to our hotel for an early night. Tomorrow it’s on to Calama and San Pedro de Atacama.

Back to Reykjavik

The quiet and peaceful setting at the farmhouse prompted sleeping late and staying until 12. Rain today as well. Our only stop today on the drive to Reykjavik was to the geothermal plant. Iceland is entirely powered by steam from the volcanos. The system brings Iceland to being carbon negative. The island is totally green with very little waste. No plastic or styrofoam, They lead the world in this regard.

The “hip” condo is in an  neighborhood near the harbor with lots of art and murals on walls. We ate dinner in and packed for tomorrow.

Blue Lagoon and the plane home.

Pics left to rt.:  our cabin at the farm, a clouded view of the volcano,Hekla, that exploded in 2000, part of geothermalplamt, a mural I liked.