Following the delays encountered Arica was now to close to our overnight stop so the destination was changed to Iquique, we managed to buy fuel from our hostel owner & set off in fine weather, we were expecting a change in Chile but so far it looked very similar to Bolivia.
As the road continued further towards the Chilean coast the landscape gradually changed to desert with some great riding & views.
The vegetation varied according to the altitude with some ancient candelabra cacti as we passed through ‘Parque Nacional Lauca’, I think the sign said they were 2500 years old & grow only around 5mm per year, but I may be wrong.
Enjoying the road!!
Some greenery as you approach the coast, slowly you notice a difference, decent road signs, no adobe houses & a general feeling of greater prosperity, it was also great to get back to warmer climes & a change back to the Airflow suit.
As we get to Arica it’s time to re-fuel, a Shell petrol station with minimum 93 octane fuel & V-power for Roger, you can also pay with a credit card, now we know we are back in the western world (they had an ATM to)!!
Outside of Arica we come across the ‘Complejo Escultórico Presencias Tutelares’ this type of landmarks seems popular in Chile & they make good pictures for travellers with the clear blue sky.
We descend from the hills into our stop for the night at Iquique, Chile seems to be desert apart from a small strip of coast where most of the 17million inhabitants must live, at least in the North of the country.
A Christmas tree & sunset on New Years Eve, something a little unusual for natives of the UK!
Finding a restaurant proves difficult as the town is closed for the Holidays, a taxi takes us to a great place which happens to be right next to an open air concert, we join in the fun & have a great night, Happy New Year to everybody & have a great 2012!
This is why Dave had a sore head the next day (he blames Jimmy his new Bolivian friend) & we decide to stay for an extra day, this traveling sure is hard work.
Sea Lions & Pelicans on the beach at Iquique, I wonder if they have a hangover?
The old town is Georgian in style with wooden buildings & sidewalks along Paseo Baquedano, today it is again deserted & it’s clear to see that some places are in need of a little TLC.
The beach however is buzzing with the locals enjoying the New Year holiday.