After our Short wellness ride of 17 hours overnight from San Pedro de Atacama, we finally arrived in la Serena and went looking for our new Bag End. As it turned out it is not that easy to find a cheap hostel in Chile especially if you don’t like dormitories like me. Sometimes I feel like an old man not willing to tell a thousand times the same things in a small talk conversation and reply to standard questions like: Where are you from? How long are you travelling already? What countries have you already seen? We are going out tonight, wanna join? No, I do not want to nor do I want to know what happened when you were wasted in Thailand, China or Timbuktu. Don`t take me too seriously I usually reply to these questions patient and willingly and sometimes I even get wasted as well when the circumstances ask for it, fortunately they do not ask too often.
So eventuallly we checked in a lovely little hostel called “open hostal” for 12 CLP per person including breakfast. The absolutely cool thing about that hostel was, that we were the only guests and the owners simply gave us the keys for the entrance door so that we could make ourselves at home and that is exactly what we did. Basically we were all alone there for the entire 3 days that we stayed in la Serena. Not even employees were working there and just Mattias one o the guys “working” there stopped by to make us breakfast but apart from that it felt like we had our own house.
1 Day Discovering that Germany is actually a part of Chile
One of the first funny things that we discovered was that instead of the Spanish word pastel for cake the chilenos use the German word “kuchen” 2nd thing we discovered were “completos” which are basically hot-dogs but way more awesome as they are freaking huge an include tomatoes, onions, and shitloads of guacamole and a bit of creamy cheese. So if you are on a diet, which plenty of travellers are, more or less unwillingly say goodbye to it. And best thing is they are very cheap with prices ranging from 900 to a 1000 Pesos. From the day of our discovery onwards we basically lived of that stuff.
La Serena is a very beautiful, clean little city including a beach, so that’s definitely a + point moreover the chilenos are a very friendly and helpful folk that organize things way better than other people in South America (sorry all my south American friends, I hope that counts as constructive criticism) and also have a certain taste and style when it comes to furnishing cafés and restaurants (feel free to copy that Colombia, you who I love so much apart from the bad taste for interior designs). As stated above La Serena has a beach, a long beach, I would say a very nice beach for a city beach. In order to the beach you have to walk via “la avenida del mar” to add at least some useful information.
Isla de las dams
So after the obligatory stroll through the city we were planning to go to “isla de las damas” in order to find a penguin that fits in my hand luggage. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, not because the penguin did not fit in my bag but because a one day tour is almost unaffordable for an unemployed backpacker like me. Prizes for a one day tour start at 35000 Pesos.
Jardín del corazón
The next day instead of going to “isla de las damas” we went to the incredible peaceful Japanese garden “Jardín del corazón”, that made me totally get into my Zen Zone and made me feel a little high and like jelly afterwards. In case you didn’t understand entirely what I just wrote, this was my way to make a recommendation.
Valle de Elqui
On the 3rd day we decided to got to Valle de Elqui (I do not know why but the name sounds funny to me). For a moderate price of 2500 Pesos we made us on the way to valle de Elqui with a short stop at Vicuña. You can really skip that village as it is not very interesting apart from a really cute cafe called “oveja negra”. So after a two hour roller coaster ride that reminded me of taking busses in Colombia we arrived in “valle de Elqui” and enjoyed simply wandering around, passing plenty of vineyards. Valle de Elqui is very nice it is just a shame you can’t walk through the vineyards but we coincidentally itdid anyways. Thug life is all I say. Unfortunately I prefer beer over wine hence I didnt even try a sip of wine there. Next time I hope we can visit a vally where they cultivat hop. And after that little excursion our stay at la Serena already ended and we headed to Valparaiso. After a 5.30 hour bus ride for 8000 peso for a semi Cama we arrived eventually in one of the greatest cities I have ever seen “Valparaíso”. But more about that in my next entry.