•San Pedro de Atacama•

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From Valparaíso we took the bus up north to San Pedro de Atacama: an oasis in the middle of the Atacama Desert – the driest region on earth. The journey (24 hours) was quite long but bearable as we’d booked beds in the Premium Class.

 

 

In San Pedro there’s not much to see beside a beautiful church and many tour agencies, restaurants and hostels! The reason why so many travelers come to this remote place is because of the fabulous landscape around San Pedro! You can visit geysers, watch the stars (they are so clear and bright) or discover the desert with its many-sided facets.

 

We decided to visit the „Valle de la muerte“ (Death Valley) and to try „sandboarding“ there. Basically it’s a snowboard which you ride down a sand dune! A blast – except the climbing up in the blazing desert sun (approx. 30 degree Celsius). By the way: where`s the lift? And the shed is also missing. Afterward we went to the “Valle de la luna” (Moon Valley) to enjoy the sunset. The lump of rocks casted interesting shadows on the rocks. After the sun was gone the temperature dropped quickly to the freezing point – it’s a desert with its extreme conditions.

 

And what are the „green“ news?

 

Well, on a small scale wind turbines and solar systems go into action. In almost every toilet there are “save water” stickers – what goes without saying in respect of the water shortage in the desert. And what we find most interesting are solar cookers that cook meals without the need of fire – just with the power of the sun!

 

Check out the pictures here!

 

 


 

•And on we go•

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There’s so much to tell but so little time to write all that stuff! Really exhausting such a trip! ;) Just for your information:

 

On Thursday (Sep 15) we took a bus from Valpo to San Pedro de Atacama (northern Chile)! On Monday (Sep 19) we‘ll hit the road for a 3-days jeep-tour to Uyuni (Bolivia). It’s gonna be cold and exciting … being approx 4800 meters above sea level! Pictures and stories are coming soon!


 

•Valpo’s colourful streets•

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On Monday afternoon we took a bus to Valparaiso – a cute, hilly seaport at the Pacific coast. Our hostel (Casa Aventura) is located at the Cerro Alegre (Hill Alegre) which among other parts of “Valpo” became UNESCO world culture legacy some years ago.

 

It’s great to see that the owners of the Casa Aventura (who lived several years in Germany) promote environmental responsibility by giving workshops in schools and putting little “switch-off the light please”-sticker and recycling-boxes everywhere.

 

And Valpo in general is not “sitting around idly passing the time: there are several places where you can find recycling stations and a detailed brochure with tips of how to live sustainably and where to buy local products.

 

At the hillsides of the various hills one of the colorful house strings together to the other. Street-art as far as the eye can see! In every little corner there’s something creative waiting to be discovered – we are thrilled! From up there you have an amazing view over the city and the harbor. A fresh freeze of sea air blows around our noses – we feel home in a way!

 

But take a look for yourself – a picture is worth a thousand words:

 

P.S.: It seems that allover Chile there are only fast-food places: Burgers and Hotdog which actually taste better at IKEA!

 

 

 


 

• First Stop: Santiago de Chile •

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¡Hola amigos!

 

The first travel destination lies behind us: 3 days of Santiago de Chile.

 

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After a 30-hours journey (via Frankfurt and Panama) we finally arrived in our hostel on Friday evening (Sep 9) – exhausted but happy. Fortunately we could take a hot shower before going to bed! That’s worth one’s weight in gold after such a long trip.

 

To get to know the capital and the history of  Chile a little better we participated in a free walking tour the next day. A very recommendable thing to do! Together with some other young travelers we walked through different quarters of Santiago and Felipe the guide told us a lot about the sights and their history. After this 5-hours tour we had a drink together with the others in a nice outdoor pub at Bellavista (night life area).

 

So, what can we tell about Santiago so far?

The city isn’t really pretty: wherever you look you’ll see old buildings which are in need of renovation and many of them carry graffities on them –except touristic places and public buildings such as museums, governmental properties etc.

 

The scarves from the Pinochet-era are not healed completely yet: suppression and dictatorship leave its shadows – but more and more people work up all their courage and air their displeasure! Because even if you don’t see it: the gap between the rich and the poor in Santiago is huge and discrimination against the natives (Mapuches, etc) is still a sensitive issue!

 

DSC_0442Whereas the state of emergency in educations and its denunciation is omnipresent: protest banners and graffities slogans demand free education for everybody! One semester at the public university costs about USD 3,000 – a sum which in many cases can only be paid when taking out a student’s credit. Thanks to an increased VAT of 20% books are hardly affordable … in Germany it’s only 7%.  In order to change this situation, more and more people join the student protests.

 

But inspite of all that we got to know the Chileans as polite, helpful and open-minded people and the view from Mount San Christobal towards Santiago and the Andes is simply amazing. Furthermore we noticed that there are several initiatives to promote “environmental protection”:

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in the parks we saw recycling bins

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in some toilets “save water”-sticker were put next to the sinks

 

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street vendors sell “recycled crafts”

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in some metro stations you can put your old cell phones in ”mobile phone recycling bins”

 

 

Our conclusion: Santiago is on the right track if only its citizens would put their trash in the correct recycling bins!

 

You can find more pictures from Santiago in the gallery!