This morning we woke up at an excruciatingly early time of 5am, ready to pack, shower and get prepared for our 7am bus. As you can imagine having got up two hours earlier, we definitely weren’t late for the bus and it also gave me time to FaceTime Charlie before we headed off to the station, which was so nice. As far as bus journeys go, from what we’ve experienced so far anyways, our bus journey was pretty normal. We were served breakfast when we boarded and then Juliet and I practically slept through till lunch when we were actually served a hot meal of chicken schnitzel (well kindof) and mash. We then had over 400miles of twisting and turning roads to drive through, up and over the mountains which did make me feel a bit car sick but the view was spectacular – definitely worth it.
The boarder crossing was easy enough and definitely worry free, it took a while but it always does and we were soon back on the bus. The only crazy thing about our journey was the extreme gail force winds blowing across the mountain. It practically blew us over when we got off the bus at the boarder and the bus was definitely swaying a lot and being pushed around the road while we were driving. We were top deck as well and it was so wobbly… But we tried not to think about that. After passing some small salt flats and a massive lake, we finally arrived in San Pedro, ten hours later.
We got a taxi to our hostel and soon enough were in the town, again a very bizarre place. The only way I can think to describe it is almost like Jesus town, as in somewhere where Jesus would live. A place where the roads, the walls, the buildings, everything all blends into one and is made out of the same material. The taxi driver dropped us outside a door in the wall that I didn’t even see at first as it is all the same weird road concrete material but on entering through the door we knew we’d arrived at Hostal Rural. This hostel is one we actually booked in England before we even came travelling, it’s crazy to think how long ago that was but we are so glad we booked it as it is seriously cool! It had a underground chill out pit, amazing murals on the walls, very friendly English speaking staff AND our roommate actually lives in Harpenden – so crazy to find someone from your hometown right in the middle of the desert of South America.
After exploring the town and finding out some interesting and quite scary information on Bolivia at the moment, Juliet and I have decided we might need to re think our route up to Peru. Apparently there are riots, civil problems and huge road blockages in Bolvia, and when we went to confirm our Bolivian Salt Flats tour, the lady asked us where we were planning on going after we arrived in Bolivia. We told her: Potosi and Sucre, she shook her head and said we definitely wouldn’t get into Potosi as the miners are on strike and rioting and we probably wouldn’t get into Sucre and there are 5 hour or more delays on busses to La Paz. We’ve decided to extend our Salt Flats tour so that it comes back to Chile and then we’re going to make a new plan, probably involving flying from Chile to Peru.
This evening we went out to dinner with or roommate and her friend (who also happens to be a girl we met on the bus today, such a small world). We discovered a small restaurant on the corner with the prettiest interior and a menu that we liked the look of. The meals were no more that £8 and they were absolutely delicious! I could easily pay a lot of money for food like this back home. I had a Thai chicken noodle soup which could give the food we had in Thailand serious competition and Juliet had a roast beef salad that was basically a cold roast on lettuce – huge and so yummy. We also had a delicious bottle of local Sauvignon Blanc, all in all it was an absolutely great meal – and we finished it off with desert in another local restaurant with live Chilean music and a huge fire pit.
Tomorrow is going to be our errand day, getting everything ready for our Salt Flats tour and booking our the Atacama Desert Tours that we have planned for the next few days including star gazing, natural hot springs and geysers and the moon valley. Hopefully we’ll also have a well deserved lie-in in the morning too…