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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Travel – Coquimbo (La Serina), Chile

Chile’s second oldest city, La Serena is doubly blessed with some beautiful architecture and a long golden shoreline, making it a kind of thinking-person's beach resort. The city absorbs hoards of Chilean holidaymakers in January and February, though it is fairly peaceful outside the summer rush. Sauntering through downtown La Serena reveals dignified stone churches, tree-shaded avenues and some pretty plazas. Some of the city's architecture is from the colonial era. 

La Serena also has numerous attractions in the surrounding countryside, with pretty villages and Pisco vineyards aplenty, as well as international astronomical observatories to the north above the Atacama Desert that take advantage of the region's exceptional atmospheric conditions and clear skies.

This description above is from tour books and internet research and are primarily about La Serina. Off in the distance I’m sure that the descriptions are more or less true, but the ship docks in Coquimbo. Coquimbo can be 
described in the most opposite of terms.

I have seen many shanty towns, down to those with dirt floors and tar paper walls. Usually those are sparsely distributed in jungle areas and not in congested areas. Some of the places in Southeast Asia are rustic primarily because of the climate, but some of Coquimbo housing could be blown away in a medium wind storm. 

 I’m not sure what they do during storms. I can only assume that this part of the port is protected from the worst of the sea’s wrath. My pictures again will give you the rest of the story.

 Noteworthy is the church at the top of the hill in Coquimbo. The mountain will come down and the church will still be there. The church was reportedly designed by Eifel of Eifel Tower fame. You can see from the pictures the resemblance.

After a grueling day’s tour in Santiago, John and I decide to forgo a trip to La Serena and stay on the ship. I know…we are wimps! The highlights of the city are the buildings dating back to its Colonial heritage. The ship has tours outside the city to the Pisco Distillery. The grapes of the Elqui Valley are used to produce Pisco. It is a type of brandy distilled from grapes. Pisco is the main ingredient in a Pisco Sour. It is 3 parts Pisco brandy, 1 part lemon juice with a dash of egg white (if you are brave enough) or float Quattro on the top. One drink is great, two drinks are very pleasant and three drinks will put you out for the duration of the day. We have tasted them all the way up the coast of Chile. They are very nice indeed.

I believe that I've seen this kind of brandy in the wineries in Woodinville.  Now I know what to do with it.  YUMMMM!

More exploring to do...Bye for now!


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