Flying through the desert
10.03.2013 23 °C
We journeyed from San Pedro to Valparaiso today, and sensibly we decided on a few hours flight to Santiago and a 2 hour bus ride, rather than a 24 hour bus journey on a normal (not lie flat) coach. We got an airport transfer to Calama airport and the roads were long and straight, with nothing much on either side.
The airport was tiny and we met Caroline and Tash at the gate, who were heading to Mendoza, Argentina, via Santiago to meet Tash's boyfriend who was flying out to start his trip with them. Tash looked particularly clean and well dressed, unlike the rest of us, in preparation for seeing her boyfriend after 3 weeks away! Andrew said I nearly missed the flight because I was in the toilet but I swear they hadn't called us yet...needless to say I was the last one on the plane! The flight was pretty uneventful but the views of the desert from the plane were awesome.
The journey to our hostel in Valparaiso was easy too. A bus from Santiago airport to Pajaritas bus and metro terminal, then a bus straight to Valparaiso and a short taxi ride to the hostel on one of the many steep roads in Valparaiso. We were there a little earlier than we thought and no one was answering at Hostel Destino Bella Vista, which meant we spent the first 20 minutes sat on the doorstep! We found a phone number and the owner Patricia met us with hugs and kisses, apologised and said her English wasn't very good but she spoke German as well as Spanish. She showed us around, gave us a map and talked us through the city, and we got through fine with bits of English, Spanish and German! We were given our room for the first night (as we came a day early and couldn't get the room for the whole time) and it was a bit like a sauna with wood clad floors, walls and ceiling!
We were tired from the journey so went to the supermarket to get food to make at the hostel. Going down the hundred or more steps to get the food was fine, but the walk back up with a few bags and a 6 litre bottle of mineral water was not easy! It felt like we were at altitude again! The hostel has a balcony out back that looks on to the hills of Valparaiso, so we ate and drank wine there, looking at all the houses lit up in the distance.