Well we made it and the 7 hour bus journey wasn't a problem at all. Very comfy seats, films on board and the time passed quickly. I think we both snoozed for a while in the morning, around lunchtime we ate our sarnies which we made in the morning, and then watched a film on the laptop in the afternoon. Right on time at 5pm we rolled into La Serena. The views along the way were good, lots of cactie, desert scrub and mountains.
We found our hostel OK, it was only a short walk from the bus terminal, one of the reasons why i chose it. Very hospitable hosts. It feels a little strange though, as you are practically living with a Chilean family, they have extended their house and in their garden have built little rooms and extra bathrooms, very clever idea. You use their kitchen to cook and can sit in their front room, I think they do have their own living quaters to sit and watch TV but we all share the same kitchen. I find it difficult to communicate with them as I am backwards in learning any Spanish. The penny will simply not drop! We visited the local museum and oogled at some shrunken heads, how do they do that? And saw one of the large statues which was taken from Easter Island, along with mummies taken from around the Atacama desert. We arranged our bus to San Pedro de Atacama.