A 14 kms de Paihuano está Montegrande. Entrando, a mano izquierda está La Galería de Arte Zen, de origen budista, donde existen pinturas, talleres de relajación y meditación. A su lado, un pequeño stand en el que se pueden comprar perfumes naturales de limón, naranjas o hierbas. Más arriba, el Mausoleo de Gabriela Mistral, donde en su lápida están grabadas estas palabras: "Es mi voluntad que mi cuerpo sea enterrado en mi amado pueblo de Monte Grande del Valle de Elqui". Ya se empieza a respirar un aire diferente. Es impactante el contraste entre los cerros secos, con tonos de café, gris y púrpura, y la riqueza de vegetación de los parronales. Un cielo impecable, de un azul que no se ve en la ciudad.
Victor Paz' Pottery Work Shop
He's a very well known personage in La Serena, because of his cheap and good pottery.
Here you can buy plant pots, jars, and also clay plates and salad pots which looks very rustic and nice at home :o)
Mr. Paz is a very friendly guy and will be very pleased to show you his work shop.
You can also see him working, like in this pic.
ANDACOLLO, A DUSTY MINING TOWN
This town is located 60 km from La Serena.
It's mostly a mining and religious town.
There are 3 important mines there : DAYTON (gold and copper) which is already closed, MINA CARMEN (copper), and Minera Andacollo.
There are also 2 Historical Monuments:
Iglesia Parroquial of Andacollo and
Iglesia Grande of Andacollo.
Don't know if this is a really "must see activity", but some people might be interested too.
This is the Flea Market in La Serena, there are lot of stuff.........but I have only found junk ha ha ha.
Anyway, you'll lose nothing if you just take a look here.
It's open on Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm.
Sun Sea and Surf
"Running out of steam"
Well I have to say that we are finding Chile very uninspiring. I don?t know if it is partially that we are getting a bit jaded of South America, or whether this country is particularly boring. To be honest I think it is maily the latter, the few people we met who were coming fom Chile when we were in Argentina were not enthusiastic about it. The south is meant to be amazing, but as we are not going there.....
We arrived in La Serena after a long and boring 22hour bus ride, with the crappest food. We were given very salty and boring food (and they accuse British food of being bland) and no water or juice. Tantamount to salt poisoning I think. When we arrived in the town we realised the election was on, and it was dead (although it is quite a pretty place). The entire place was closed up, even in the evening none of the restaurants opened. We managed, luckly, to find a supermarket and bought some bread, cheese, ham and fruit. So didn?t quite starve. The hostel we stayed in was fine, comfy and clean with quite friendly staff. We managed to get there with the help of very attractive young man (who was standing in front of a building for no apparant reason, possibly a guard, but didn?t really look like it), and an older bloke who worked in the building and made phone calls.
The following day we decided to go to Pisco Elqui, up the Elqui Valley and the home of Pisco Sours. We took the bus up the glen, which was very beautiful, green and lush and reminded me of the valleys around Prades (SW France), with the stark dry, orange mountains and fertile valley floors. However when we arrived at Pisco we found out the the plant was closed indefinitely for refurbishment - the place was a building site. Therefore we had to get the bus back along the valley. we decided to stop in Vicuna, the main town, and try a distillery there. We went on a tour, which was meant to be in English, but that person wasn?t working that day, so we had to make do with Spanish. The girl was very patient thought and we understood most of it. Then tried the beverage at the end. Sarah wasn?t too keen on it, but rather liked it. It is very strong, but I liked the tangy freshness. We then returned, met and had some dinner with a friendly Aussie called Sarah, then took a night bus to Santiago. As you can see, not completely inspired!!