We arrived early in La Serena and luckily found a hostel quite quickly considering we had both forgotten to book one the night before! We went for a walk to discover what the city had to offer but at 9am it was very quiet and there were few people around. We decided to visit a museum which was small but interesting and had one of the stone carvings from Easter island on display. Out of curiosity we weighed ourselves at a pharmacy and after discovering we had both lost our end of university drinking and unhealthy eating weight, we decided to treat ourselves to a coffee and biscuit in a very pretty courtyard. We went to the market and found a little stall that sold necklaces that joined together to make a heart. The man could carve letters into the heart so we ended up getting one with H on each side.. We're very sad we know! On the way back to the hostel we booked a tour for the next day to Isla Damas where there is a penguin national reserve. When we got back a room mate from our dorm had appeared who was a 33 year old teacher called Louise from Lincoln. She was very friendly but also clearly going through a bit of an early mid life crisis which we decided from all her travelling stories she told us as we walked to the beach. The map the hostel had given us was very out of scale and what we thought was a short walk turned into a 40 minute one. As Louise went back to go on a tour, Eddy and I stopped for some lunch. I had Chilean ceviche (which wasn't as good as Peruvian ceviche but still nice) and Eddy had a massive chicken and avocado sandwich which I don't think she was expecting to be so big! Because of the long walk we decided to get a taxi back but to the nearby mall so that we could find Eddy some new jeans seeing as she had ripped all three pairs she brought with her and could now only wear tracksuit bottoms. She was in her element shopping, especially when she spotted Aldo her favourite shoe shop from home.. I don't think I've seen her that happy the whole trip! She declared that she would like to live in La Serena haha. We wanted to watch a film but there was nothing good on at the cinema and all the films were in Spanish. We treated ourselves to some ice cream and frozen yoghurt and went back to the hostel.
When we got back to the hostel, Louise and another girl from our dorm Lisa said they were going out for a drink so we quickly got changed and went to join them. We ended up at a live music restaurant and had something small to eat but our 'drink' turned into three bottles of red wine. There were two Chilean men who joined our table for a chat before shortly leaving to catch a bus but they asked the men on another table to chat to us instead. They happened to be Chilean police officers but were undercover and so asked us to keep quiet. Eddy and I made them show us their badges before we believed them. They were very friendly and offered to drop us four girls back at our hostel but once in the car we all decided to go dancing instead. After a quick detour via the police station so that the men could drop off their weapons, we arrived at a local club with us being the only tourists to be seen. We ended up dancing the night away til after 3am and managed to catch a couple of hours sleep before we had to leave for our tour in the morning.