Andra is writing:
The morning starts in an unusual way, no smell of omelette made by Ilgonis. For the first time during the trip we are not preparing breakfast and there is no need to wash dishes either. We leave Copiapo to go to Caldera. Desert is all around, not even cactuses visible, nor a donkey in fog, only sand. Suddenly Sun beams start to break the fog, Ilgonis stops the car so we could observe a full fogbow crescent over desert.
At the midday we stop in the Pan de Azucar national park. Ilgonis is checking out the beaches very carefully. It turns out he has decided to go for a swim no matter what the temperature of the water is. When an appropriate beach has been found, Ilgonis is not going swimming by himself, but inspires Agnese, Dora and Imants to join as well. The others not swimming and watching the spectacle from the sidelines think that the photoshoot has been a success, and, even though the water indeed isn’t warm, the swimmers seem happy and satisfied after fighting the big waves.
Soon after the swim we stop at the Mirador trail, but decide against going to look at the scenery, as it would take more than 2 hours, however we can afford to eat well at this nice place. We continue our way over the desert. Now we understand what a real desert is like – during our drive we see not one speck of green, no plants, just sand and bigger or smaller rocks. When we have a need for a green stop, the only option is a big green roadsign, as there is nothing else green. However it is warm. In the afternoon sun in the desert the temperature has reached about 20 degrees.
Moving on we get in a traffic jam. When an icecream seller appears from behind a truck (i’ll remind that we are in a desert), we understand that we’ll need to wait for a while. Ilgonis is getting ready to get out to see how many cars we have in fron of us and Juris kindly offers him the binoculars. It turns out there is no need to worry, as due to some road construction, there are just a few cars ahead.
The next sightseeing object is the Hand of the Desert. By Dora’s calculation the sculpture is about as high as five Agneses and is made by Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrazabal.
Now we are very close to Antofagasta, the second largest city after Santiago. As per usual, one team goes shopping, but the other – to the housing. The them in the store are waiting for news about the dinner preparation options, but gets only a message saying that the owner of the hostel doesn’t want to know anything about booking.com anymore. Some thought about sleeping on the beach arise, everyone is showing sings of tiredness, we are waiting. But as we all know there are no problems that Agnese can’t solve, and an hour later we are already in a different hostel.