Along the Coast
4 Countries, 2 Days, 4 planes

October 20-31, 2017

After pushing to arrive in the big City of Antofagasta in Chile, we spent about 10 days being tourists with a little cycling and getting ready to fly to another continent.

What happened…

Andrew writes: I had a lot of fun in Antofogasta. The daily walks around town, taking the bus to centro, and enjoying the soccer match. Every evening we would walk across the street to sit on the boardwalk next to the ocean and watch people roller-skating, surfing, or playing soccer. It was just so peaceful, yet, those that live here are so vibrant.

The ride out to the Hand involved a bit of a climb to get up and out of the city, but as it was Sunday (I think?) there wasn’t a lot of traffic until we got back to the Pan American Hwy. Even then, we enjoyed a nice shoulder, a tail wind, and well..there wasn’t a lot to see except for sand everywhere, right? The Mano del Desierto smelled like pee, but was impressive nonetheless. The options for camping out there in the desert were slim pickings, as there wasn’t anything really out of the wind. Fortunately, the wind died down with the sun, and then the stars came out, and we enjoyed a nice quiet night. Cycling back, we tried to leave early to avoid the headwind, but alas, we still fought it for about half of the way back. On the plus side though, it was mostly downhill back to Antofagasta!

Amanda writes: We had decided to take a pretty direct route to Antofagasta to be sure that we had time to prep our bikes, luggage and selves for the next segment of our adventure. We ended up giving ourselves more time than we needed but enjoying most of it anyway. We had scheduled two tourist events during our time in Antofagasta although only one panned out. We cycled to the hand of the desert which is an iconic statue placed in the middle of the Atacama desert. It really was rather interesting to see and an easy ride to get to. We had also planned to go to Paranal Observatory which is an astronomical observatory in the Atacama Desert close to the hand. By total light-collecting area, it is the largest optical-infrared observatory in the Southern hemisphere; worldwide, it is second to the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii. We pre-registered for the visit which is required from a security perspective and reserved a rental car. The day before the reservation the rental car agency called to tell us the car wasn’t available anymore. Guess it wasn’t meant to be. So we just visited the hand which is a sculpture constructed by the Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal. Its exaggerated size is said to emphasize human vulnerability and helplessness. The work has a base of iron and concrete, and stands 11 metres tall.

We also spent a lot of relax time in our filthy ocean front apartment, went for walks and even went to a soccer match. Soccer is like religion here in Chile and it was fascinating to see how passionate people are about the game. One other thing that we did that really stands out for me is that we finally had a fancy dinner. This may seem like nothing to most of you, or maybe a monthly occurrence to some; but for me it was like the gift of the year. And it was a gift. One of my dearest friends back in August wired Andrew a gift on my birthday and said ‘treat the girl to a nice dinner’. This small gesture was so kind and thoughtful it literally brought tears to my eyes. Okay so you may be thinking that’s a bit much, but the more we live this life on the road; the more we don’t celebrate. We don’t exchange gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas; nothing – nada. So to have someone who is generous and thoughtful enough to know this and know how much it bugs me, is super cool. The challenge however at the time was that Andrew and I weren’t exactly enjoying each others company. You may recall that after I sprained my ankle that I took a month off the bike, rented an apartment and shipped Andrew to the Coast to surf without me. When he returned we were still working on a few things and a nice fancy dinner just wouldn’t have been enjoyable. So long story short; we had a lovely dinner and enjoyed my first birthday gift in a couple of years. Thanks #ykhif

So overall 10 days in Antofagasta was exactly what we needed to springboard our next chapter … The Bahamas!

The aerial view of our rides:

Today’s Photographs

[flickr_tags user_id=”17145280@N00″ tags=”102017,102117, 102217, 102317, 102417,102517,102617,102717,102817,102917,103017, 103117″]
Along the Coast
4 Countries, 2 Days, 4 planes