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Showing posts from March 25, 2012

Arica to Arequipa: we travel to Peru

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Being beside the sea in Arica was invigorating - our hotel was right on the water's edge and the crashing of the surf at night is something I have always loved. But it was time to explore again.
None in our small party was keen to spend another day on the road travelling through the desert but we were all looking forward to Arequipa. Our bus was late because of the danger of land mines! Pretty serious reason. The Chileans laid many land mines half a century ago in their fight with the Peruvians over land on the border. It was believed they had all been found until recent unusual rains exposed two - one on land and one that floated down to the sea and so there has been a serious search to find any more. The border was shut and our bus was coming from Peru. So when we finally did go through the long process of checking out of Chile and into Peru we couldn't help but feel a little apprehensive.
The desert in this part of world is like an endless moonscape and makes you aware just …

The driest place in the world and an amazing village

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Driving across the Atacama Desert is the type of trip you only want to do once in a lifetime - unless you love deserts, which I don't. I have never driven across the Australian desert, but it is not on my wish list - now I have driven across the driest desert in the world. It is so dry that there are no glaciers even on mountains that are around 7,000 metres!! And it is seemingly endless.
We left San Pedro early in the morning as the sun rose and headed across the desert to C and then north towards our destination of Arica. What was planned as an 11 hour drive ended up being about 14 hours because of stops to see geoglyphs (large designs made of stone and drawn on the sides of mountains and hillsides as 'signposts' to ancient travellers and traders) and to visit the absolutely fascinating town of Humberstone - which made watching desert go by for hours on end, fascinating.
I love history - especially social history - and this ghost town is in an amazing state of preserva…