Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Surreal Valle de Luna (Valley of the Moon).

The Tres Marias rock formation at Valle de Luna.

Pinch me.  Did I really see a most surreal looking landscape today?  Why, yes I did!  It's called Valle de Luna.

Earlier this afternoon, Bro and I returned to the office of Agencia Tourismo Layana to talk with the manager about getting a refund for the cancelled tour to Valle Arcoiris.  While there I was also hoping to get a more accurate update on the tour for Cejar Lagoon.

Petroglyphs at Yerbas Buenas.


We spent this morning seeing and learning about the petroglyphs at Yerbas Buenas which turned out to be a very large outcrop of rocks.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lagunas Miscanti y Miñiques.


M

y motto is to always save the best for last and today, that indeed was the case.  It was early afternoon by the time we arrived at Lagunas Miscanti y Miñiques, two lagoons that used to be one body of water but are now separated by a land bridge.  Miscanti is the larger of the two.

Piedras Rojas (Red Rocks)


I've only been in the altiplano for a few hours and already I have fallen head over heels in love with this place. For me, this is Eden on earth - the air is unpolluted, the land is pristine and the water....well, it comes in more shades of blue and green than I could've ever imagined. On the surface a place called Red Rocks does not sound like much of place to visit but do not let the name fool you into thinking that this place could be anything less than stunning.

Vicuñas and Laguna Tuyato.


After seeing the beautiful flamingos and having breakfast, we continued our trip towards the altiplanic lagoons.  As we journeyed on, we got higher and higher up in elevation and so far, I was okay.

Flamingos!


Great day today! It started bright and early this morning when our tour guide, Pedro, stepped out of the small van to greet us.  By my estimates, if all the seats were taken, there would be about 16 of us on this tour.  A good size.  After making the rounds to pick up passengers, we rolled out of town. We've got full day ahead of us!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stargazing 101.

The four points of light just above my head are the four points that make up the Southern Cross.

Wow! What amazing time we had tonight looking up at the stars in the sky.  Both Bro and I live in major US metropolitan areas so our chances of seeing stars is pretty much nil.  I'm so glad we were able to do this because it was truly the experience of a lifetime.

Atacama!


So happy to finally be in San Pedro de Atacama. This will be our home base for the next 5 days as we explore the Atacama Desert. I have set very high expectations for this so I only hope I will not be disappointed.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hanging Around Santiago.

Neptune's Fountain, Cerro Santa Lucia.

Today was a kick back day and it started with a lazy wake up this morning. The street traffic outside our apartment is constant and so it's been a challenge falling asleep. Luckily, we had nothing on our agenda today but wander about Santiago on our own.

Friday, January 27, 2017

More of Colorful Valparaiso.


After our sidewalk street lunch, we made our way towards the Artilleria ascensor station. Our walk took us along a familiar path as it was the same route that Aida had taken us on earlier this morning.

Introducing Valparaiso.


Despite the fact that I really did not sleep well last night - it was too hot in the room and there was too much street noise, I woke up at bright an early at 5:50a, 10 minutes ahead of when the alarm was to go off. We had a quick breakfast and were out the door at 7a. We caught an Uber to the central bus station. The service just recently started here and like everywhere else, seems to be able to coexist alongside taxis. Our ride came quickly and since it was so early in the morning, it was a short ride to the Terminal Alameda, the city's central bus station.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hola Santiago!


Continuing from the previous blog posting, Francisco took me up to the room and when I entered, Bro told me in all seriousness that there was no air conditioning in the room. Oh no! It as hot, hot, hot in there. But I had not slept all night and was tired. Bro and I chatted for a bit before I fell into a short nap.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On My Way to Chile!


I'm starting this post from seat 18C on the 3:28p flight to Panama City, Panama, my layover enroute to Santiago. For months I had been worried that the typical DC winter weather could result in flight delay and had been kicking myself for not having left a day earlier so I would still meet up with my brother in Santiago without issues. I don't know if it's because of global warming or because it's an La Niña year but when I left home today, it was a picture perfect sunny day with the temperature hovering around 50 degrees. If there were to be a flight delay today, it would not be because of weather.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The King of Tierra del Fuego.

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)
(Photo by Samuel Blanc. Licensed under  CC BY-SA 3.0  via Wikimedia Commons.)

From the Atacama Desert, our trip through Chile will take us next to Patagonia.  We fly into Punta Arenas where we'll spend a couple of days before heading north towards the heart of Patagonia. While in Punta Arenas, I took the opportunity to book us on a full day tour of Tierra del Fuego which includes a visit to Parque Pingüino Rey (King Penguin Park) where we'll get to see penguins.   Neither Bro nor I have ever seen these charming creatures in the wild so we're both very much looking forward to doing this.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Surreal Landscape of the Atacama Desert.

Salar de Atacama. Licancabur volcano in the background.
(Photo by Francesco Mocellin.  Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0  via Wikimedia Commons.)

Desierto de Atacama aka the Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a 1,000 km (600 mi) strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. Most of the desert is composed of stony terrain, salt lakes, sand, and felsic lava that flows towards the Andes. It is the driest non-polar desert in the world.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Packing List. Chile, Argentina, & Uruguay.

From Disney
I was looking for a graphic image to open up this post and I found the gif of Mickey packing.  I laughed when I saw it because I had also just spoken with Bro who was complaining of how much stuff he will have to pack along for this trip.  Mind you Bro barely brings anything with him but his suitcase looks stuffed because he literally just throws his clothes into it....just as Mickey is doing in the gif.  Bro says he does fold his clothes but I don't think so because the contents of his suitcase are always in a mess. Thankfully, while it looks like a filled suitcase, it always weighs light as a feather.

We're just a few short weeks away from leaving for South America so I'm already beginning to think about my packing list for the trip.

Clothing wise, we are going to three climate areas. Our first destination is Santiago where daytime temps will average around 20.2 °C (68.36 °F) - very comfortable.  However this is a La Niña year so temps in the southern hemisphere could be warmer. Overnight temperatures are generally quite mild with an average low of 12 °C (53.6 °F).