Thursday, March 3, 2016

Onto Chile And The New Year

This post gets us to Vicuña in Chile and into 2016: it covers our travel from December 21st to January 1st. Vicuña is situated in the Elqui Valley where grapes are grown for the grape liquor called Pisco. This is just south of the Atacama Desert, so the photos in this post -- all 36 of them -- show a bit more desert landscape.
Tacna, Peru
Peruvian desert colors
Desert views/Wüstenlandschaft/Paisaje del desierto entre Peru und Chile

road in the desert

As we were traveling south from Tacna, the Peruvan city close to the Chilean border, we noticed the color changes in the desert and on the road: in Chile, the stripes are white.
Via Arica, we made it to Iquique, a coastal city which appears to have been built long the beach and on top of sand dunes.
Here, we stayed at a hang glider club and met more German travelers in a VW van and a big expedition vehicle. We also climbed up the dunes behind the club to fly “Barbie” (a CR Climmax Pro) in slope lift, and on Christmas eve, the slow flyer flew late into the very red sunset.
desert winds
Dust devils/Staubteufel/remolinos de arena
sand mountain
Iquique, Chile
German overlanders/Deutsche Overlander/Viajeros alemanes
As we travel south from Iquique, it looks like rivers of sand descending from the mountains, and along the coast, many jagged rocks looks like old lava flows. Between the cities of Tocopilla and Antofagasta, the coastal highway 1 nearly had been wiped out completely by severe flash floods in early 2015; the local name for these floods is “aluviones.” When we were there, the road still was closed for hours at a time to facilitate reconstruction.
We passed by Antofagasta and headed into the ochre-colored mountains to the Paranal Observatory, which is world famous for its absolutely clear night sky. And so it was, while the coast was covered in marine-layer clouds making for a spectacular sunset, the cristal clear, dry, and cold air showed a night sky so brilliant, it’s breath-taking.
up the sand dune
rc slope glider
CR Climmax Pro flying in /Fliegen in/volando en
Iquique, Chile

On our way to La Serena, we spotted the first penguins of our journey. The rocky landscape along the coast showed signs of wind erosion and also very curious black lines embedded in the rock. Slowly more and more cactus and red lichen appeared marking the end of the Atacama Desert.
Turning east up the Elqui Valley, we left the coastal clouds behind, and arrived in the picturesque town of Vicuña just in time for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. We welcomed 2016 in the company of travelers from Switzerland and our friends from Chile.

No comments: