After the variety of landscapes in Bolivia it seems crazy that we could go to San Pedro in Chile and see different landscapes again!! We crossed the border into Chile and as the bus descended down to the desert the temperature increased (thankfully!!) and the landscape changed again. Dry rocks and cliffs carved by wind and water.
Firstly we were just glad to be out of Bolivia and the relief of walking around in the warmth and relative safety of Chile made us to very happy travellers. Unfortunately, with this slight in increase in comfort and safety came a hefty increase in the price of everything. Especially because San Pedro is essentially a tourist town. We found a nice place to stay, enjoyed a warm shower and then settled into the courtyard of the hostel for beer and chips in the sunshine. Glorious!!
While we were in town we thought we should do some touristy stuff, so after the bus to Salta, Argentina was delayed we decided to get bikes and head into the Valley of the Moon. It was amazing. Crazy coloured and shaped rocks and cliffs. It is salty, hot and dry!! It was nice to do some exercise after 3 days in a 4WD and also nice for the skin to get some sunshine after living in a down jacket for a long time.
We also did a night time astronomical tour out in the desert, which was amazing!!! The tour included a one hour explanation of everything you can see in the sky in the area and then we had free use of 12 telescopes that were set up to look at certain phenomena. The stars out in the desert are amazing and being able to see them and some planets through the telescopes was a first for me and a very cool experience.
After a relaxing couple of days we hopped on the bus for Salta, Argentina. This was not part of our original plan but it seemed silly not to head over there because we were so close. There was also nothing in else in northern Chile that we wanted to look at before Santiago so we headed back to our bikes the long way around. In Salta we enjoyed more relaxing (seriously we are getting so slack), went for a few walks around town, enjoyed our first Argentinian BBQ at the hostel (this made Bruce VERY happy) and generally caught up on exciting things like laundry and banking wooooooo!!! Then onto Mendoza to sample the famous wine of the region.