At the other end of the 11-kilometre-long beach, on top of a hill, there’s another city with another giant structure—Coquimbo and the Cruz del Tercer Milenio.
La Serena isn’t some pueblito in the Atacama Desert—Chile’s second-oldest city is the capital of the Coquimbo Region and it has a population of nearly 200,000 (400,000 for the Greater La Serena).
Yet, it feels like a small town.
I’m glad I took a chance on La Serena—it paid off.
You never know, with coastal cities. Sometimes, the beach locals rave about is small and dirty, sometimes you end up in a tiny, overpriced town along with hordes of tourists, sometimes port cities are run down and dodgy.
If you see people waiting in line in La Serena, join the queue—chances are you’ll be soon eating the best churrascas you’ve ever had. What, you’ve never had a churrasca?
It’s pitch dark outside, which is a sure sign it’s way too early to be up, packing.
I hope I’ll be able to find a taxi.
I hope I won’t get lost in the maze of the San Borja bus terminal.
It’s 40⁰C, the taxi driver is talking way too fast and once again, I realize that even though I know the city very well, it’s going to take me a bit of time to adjust to Chile.
The Spectacular Border Crossing Between Argentina and Chile – Stuck on Top of the Andes Before 28 Hairpin Turns
Everything is terrifying—how close we are to the edge, the skid marks on the dirt, incoming traffic with massive trucks, the complete silence as we’re all counting the switchbacks.
“It’s your year, Juliette!” Yep, I’m a 🐖.
In Buenos Aires, last Sunday, after strolling down Calle Defensa through the San Telmo weekly…
Mendoza and I are not compatible. If the Argentinian city was a person, I’d probably have one of these quick, embarrassing chats with him, where I’d resort to overused lines, like “look, it’s not you, it’s me,” “you’re nice, but…” and “we can still be friends, right?”
Why Mendoza? Because it’s across the country, on the east side of the Andes, close to Chile. Because I found a cheap hotel. Because I found a great plane ticket that saves me a 1,000-kilometre bus trip across the country.
At one point, you just have to take a chance and hope for the best—and most of the time, you’ll get into the story and forget other options even existed.
I was lucky in Buenos Aires, so lucky that I extended my stay—I was only going to be there for four nights, initially. But hey, when everything works out fine, why not enjoy it?
The Escuela Superior De Mecánica De La Armada – From a Symbol of State Terror to Human Rights Defence
During the military dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983, about 30,000 Argentinians were “disappeared” by the state, i.e. kidnapped and taken to secret detention centres where they were tortured.
At 6:30 a.m., Montevideo was quiet, hot, and foggy. I walked to the bus terminal, which is, as always in Uruguay, inside a shopping mall—or maybe shopping malls are inside bus terminals, who knows.
After a few days in Argentina’s capital, I travelled to Uruguay, stayed in Montevideo, took a day trip to Punta del Este and now I’m back in Buenos Aires. So, what did I learn during these first 10 days of solo travel?
The first thing you see when you step outside the bus terminal is a giant hand, five human fingers made of iron and cement and partially emerging from sand.
If Buenos Aires is an old, elegant lady who never steps out without wearing her fancier clothes and applying bright-red lipstick, Montevideo is the grungy little sister with messy hair, a slogan tee, jeans with holes and not a care in the world.
Montevideo has the world’s longest Carnival, starting in January through early March. So basically, performers—given the size of Uruguay, I’m willing to bet that almost every resident participated once to some extent
Going to Montevideo from Buenos Aires is fairly simple. There are two main companies—Buquebus and Colonia Express, both leaving from opposite ends of Puerto Madero.
Adapting always takes a bit of time. I needed to digest Argentina like you digest new information.
My first mission would be to explore the main barrios of the city to reconnect with the Latin world.
Missions? I have plenty, come to think of it. Travelling is a bit like a real-life egg hunt. You spend your time looking for things or trying to make sense of your environment using clues, and then you move on to the next challenge to find a bigger chocolate egg.
The guys must have landed by now. I checked my email—yes, Feng replied to my own “landed!” email I sent last night, they made it to Ottawa. Phew.
Shit. I’m alone.
I think I need some coffee.
Don’t ask why I’m flying Qatar Airways from São Paulo to Buenos Aires—it doesn’t make much sense to me either.