Wednesday, 9 January 2013

First blog 2013

Firstly apologies for the gap between blogs, don't know where the time has gone!! Secondly a very Happy 2013 to everyone and hope that this year you make all of the things you want to do happen!! 

Christmas was quiet but nice, we had a BBQ on 24th ( on the balcony as it was raining) then Christmas day was dry and sunny. We had a lovely breakfast, then I went to mass, a walk along the Lake and then in the evening our planned meal. It was very simple but beautiful with fresh, local ingredients and not the hassle usually associated with a Christmas Day meal. We loved our time in Villarrica, we cycled 25k one day and the views were stunning, we had a trip to the Thermas at Conaripe and got sunburn ! We got a local bus to a place called Nancul and walked for a few hours, and didn't see a soul. It was good to get some exercise after the period of bad weather we had experienced in Pucon.

We got the bus to Santiago and 11 hours later, ( not my favourite mode of transport), we were back in busy Santiago. We had another apartment, we use either wimdhu or airbnb to book them, and were tired so had take-away pizza and crashed. Since Santiago the weather has been fabulous, this is summer SUN SUN SUN.

New Year's Eve was lively there was live crazy Latino music in the main street and then at midnight we watched the fireworks from the 33rd floor of our apartment block.........they were fabulous. New Year's day was pretty quiet, the locals were still drinking till mid afternoon. We spent some time in one of the parks and then had a nice lunch.

On our last day we decided to try the outdoor pool in Parque O'Higgins ( named after Bernado O'Higgins, of Irish descent), our last attempt had been foiled by the weather but also it was about £15 for a swim. This pool is where the ordinary locals go, very basic, very cheap but the water was cool and refreshing. We had a  nice meal in a family-run Chinese and that was Santiago.

Our last stop in Chile was Iqueque, and this time we flew to save spending 2 days on buses. Iqueque is a seaside town built with lots of European influence, many of the streets are English surnames, and given its terrain the early houses were built of wood with balconies-it looked like the wild west. 

We stayed in a very basic and crazy "hostal" and if hadn't been that we paid up front we would have left and found somewhere else. The family lived in the house, and lived their lives in a goldfish bowl and the paying guest were around the edges. The owner was a very loud and bossy ex teacher. Breakfast was chaotic and there was no privacy, after the 3rd time that someone just barged in the room Chris went and told her that if our key was not on the hook it meant we were in the room and to wait till it was on the hook which meant we were out. 

We went paragliding in Iqueque and it was awesome, I felt a little nervous as we drove up above the town but once we got there it was only about 15 minutes before we were harnessed and ready to go. The takeoff was so smooth and thanks to Chris we have some photos-I decided not to take my camera!! Did feel a bit motion sick but it was worth it, the wind was really swirling and I wasn't able to make it to the beach to land but we landed in the big sand-dune. Chris made it to the beach but his landing was pretty bumpy.

Sunday 6th January and we left Chile for Peru, we got a bus to Arica and then a little mini-bus to Tacna. The border crossing was pretty straightforward  stamped out in Chile, back on the bus and 5 minutes later stamped into Peru. Tacna is not a tourist destination and we have had three nights here.After the crazy woman in Iqueque this is a lovely clean and comfortable and organised hotel.......and it is cheaper than the hostel. 

We went to the tax-free zone to look at cameras and MP3 players but didn't buy anything. Yesterday we did a day trip into the countryside........well the desert........ and saw petroglyphs, tried local wine and pisco. We came back to town and were searching for a vegetarian Chinese place for lunch, but instead found a lovely fish restaurant  full of locals with a great menu. Lunch was delicious.

Today we are off again, this time to overnight in Arequipa before we head north up the coast of Peru. Hoping to have 2 nights in Camana, in a hotel with a pool. The Dakar rally is here today but just too complicated to get to see it. 

Our route up the coast will take in Nazca, to see the Lines,  ( which we ditched from the itinerary in October) second time lucky. Then up to do some wildlife stuff and maybe some snorkeling and diving. We will get back to Lima for a few days and then head further north, visiting some pre-Inca ruins and maybe ending up just short of the border with Ecuador. That is the outline plan anyway. 

So back in Peru, which I prefer to Chile and Argentina, it feels different and not too westernised. Our money will go much further here, our 4 hour trip yesterday was a tenner, so we can do much more. The downside is less posh.......toilets without seats etc but nothing like the grime of India so it is manageable.

Lots more adventure to come but I know that these last 7 weeks are going to fly by and in no time we will be flying back to the cold of February in the UK but looking forward to being re-united with my lovely girls.
Me taking off.......

Best wishes

Chris in full flight........looking relaxed

Beautiful volcano Villarrica

Christmas breakfast

Fireworks from Torre in Santiago

Moorish inspired casino espanol on Iqueque

Day of the Kings-live angels as part of the Christmas tableau

He is meant to be one of the shepherds but I think he is a grumpy old angel!!
Norma xx


  1. and so your wonderful adventure continues. We loved the Nazca lines and have read much about them since. Also enjoyed Peru as a difference experience to Argentina and Chile, felt more foreign somehow. Hadn't heard of wimdu so a good tip to add to my resources for future trip research. Enjoyed the rest of your time in Peru.

  2. Loving the blog sounds like your having a truly wonderful time, hope to see you sometime this year !! x