Tale of 2 Days
Trip Start Oct 16, 2010
58Trip End Aug 01, 2011
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Calama is a much bigger town than we thought and looks worthy of a stopover. Unfortunately that would not be our destiny as we were headed to the coast. The landscape from Calama to Antofagasta was very dry sand dunes and colorful pastel mountains with the occasional rail-crossing.
Upon arriving at the big beautiful Antofagasta bus station we were able to quickly transport to our hostel, Hostel 1127. It was difficult to find given that there is no signage but the trick is to simply go to the address, 1127 Coquimbo and ring the bell. The hostel is very comfortable and Gonzalo was very kind as he showed us around and gave us a map of the area. He suggested a beer festival and a restaurant for dinner. Since we only had a day or so in the city we decided to go on our regular five mile jaunt seeking our every corner of the city we could. We were quite hungry but it is so difficult to make a decision when a whole new city is opened up to you. We perused Plazamall (the first real mall with real stores with real brands we have seen in a few months), the beautiful beachfront, fake Coney Island, the fanciest McDonalds ever and a spectacular permanent sports complex along beachfront.
Antofagasta day 2
The hostel provided us some nice toasties for breakfast. Given that we only had one night reserved in the constantly full Hostel 1127 we had to make a choice to either find another place or catch a bus to La Serena. We decided on the later. We picked up some tickets at the Pullman station downtown and toured the second half of Antofagasta. We checked out the Plaza de Armas, cathederal, pedestrian streets and spent some time in an Internet Café. Raymie had to make some final edits to a paper that will soon be published before lunch. Bongos was a nice stop for some authentic Chilean lunchfare. Raymie has some huge churrasco bongo sandwich (roast beef, sauerkraut, avocado, carrot-pickle relish, mustard, mayonnaise, etc.) and Bee had weird spinach Greek like something special of the day. Another four mile walk today and I think we covered as much of Antofagasta as possible in our short time her.
P.S. go to the Mercado Central for lunch. This was the one thing we realized too late.
Given that we had plenty of time to kill before we our night bus left we did the proper American thing and used the internet and had a couple drinks at TGIFridays. We watched the sunset along the waterfront and then had dinner at Pizzante. Not sure that either of these are worth a recommendation but Fridays poured a good drink and the pasta at Pizzante was decent.
We picked up our luggage at the hostel and off to the bus station we head for an overnight bus to La Serena.