We arrived in Santiago at Hostel Sammy in the early hours of Tuesday (4th) morning to find our beds weren't ready so we cosied up to the resident dogs on the sofa! Once we recovered from the journey we ventured into the city to explore. After walking down the main street for a while we stumbled across a bright yellow building which has steps leading up the hill behind it. We walked all the way up the old rickety steps to find amazing views of the city. At the top was a tiny lookout which we got trapped in when a whole class of 10 year olds decided to congregate there and have a 20 minute class on what they could see! We got chatting to the teacher and she asked if she could introduce us to the children (which we thought meant 1 or 2!) in the end we were introduced to the whole class and told them all a bit about ourselves! (see piccies!) We were also invited to their school for the day but unfortunately it was too far away for the little time we had! From our look out we saw a higher hill with a statue of the Virgin Mary at the top so we made it our mission to get there! After a sweaty hours hike up this hill we got to the top to find more beautiful views of the city.
On the second day we awoke from our ridiculously wide bunk beds (maybe something to do with the american owner wanting everything ´supersize´!) to an amazing pancake and scrambled egg, fresh fruit and homemade bread breakfast. We then set off on the freebie bikes around the city to find parks and typical neighbourhoods. That evening we went for dinner to an amazing fish restaurant (again see photos!) where we had a huge shellfish starter and lobster to share with a bottle of wine, all for 40 pounds!! We liked Santiago but there wasnt too much to do within the city, so we were glad to find San Pedro had lots to offer.
We got there after a record breaking 22 hour coach journey!! We had planned to take it easy that night but found a gorgeous open air bar and restaurant which was bustling with saturday night crowds. The 2 for 1 mojitos didnt help either, and as they were the best we´ve ever tried we had our fair share! Our entertainment was the party for a 65 year old who had more energy than anyone else in the bar! They were dancing till the early hours around the log fire! The next day we hired bikes for £5 each for the day and headed to the Moon Valley and abandoned caves. It was a breathtaking place but best to look at the pictures for descriptions! We cycled around 35km that day in 30degree heat! (also officially the driest place in the world!) And to regain our energy we went to a restaurant where James had a HUGE pizza and chips to himself, much to the amazement of the waitresses, especially as it took him less time to eat than it took to prepare it!!
The 2nd day in San Pedro we were up at 430am to take a trip to the Geyshers. We were warned it would be cold, but neither of us were prepared for -10 degrees!!! Luckily a few of the other tour people were more prepared and donated clothes to Em! Geyshers are steaming holes in the ground made by the heat of the volcanoes and the freezing morning temperatures. You have to go early as when the sun comes up the steam disappears. Sadly, the area has been sold by the governent to a company to be used for energy sources, so the geyshers will no longer be there in a years time. We then had breakfast with coca leaf tea to get us acclimatised to the 4000m above sea level altitude. The tour then took us to some thermal pools where the water was above 30degrees and almost too hot to bath in! Then we went onto a small town in the middle of the desert where we had lunch consisting of typical cheese empanadas (pasties!) and llama kebabs! (Sorry Abbi and hehe Emma!) Both were very tasty! Then finally onto the cactus valley where we took yet more photos!! The whole day was spectacular and even better as none of the places were spoilt by tourism. We absolutley loved San Pedro and would recommend it to anyone wanting a very different and unique experience, which you can explore independantly and freely as you choose.
We are now in Arica and will update this blog in a few days time before we head to Peru! Hope all is well at home, lots of love to everyone xxx