Monday, February 27, 2012

La Serena, Chile (5)

Continuing our 2010 trip to Chile, from Santiago we flew north to La Serena to visit some more family. La Serena is a city and commune in northern Chile, capital of the Coquimbo Region. Founded in 1544, it is the country's second oldest city after the national capital, Santiago, located 471 km (293 mi) to the south. The city is an important tourist destination, especially during the summer, where people go to visit the beaches. The population doubles in the summer months, principally for the beaches, recreational activities, musical festivals, concerts, and Fashion Week. The dry region around La Serena has exceptionally clear atmospheric conditions that makes it ideal to observe stars. As such, there are several observatories in the nearby towns, some of which are opened to the public. We took a midnight trip to one of then, an experience not to be forgotten if you get the chance.

La Serena
We spent a fantastic day at the beach at Morrillos enjoying the weather, the company and of course the delicious barbeque, followed by a long walk during which most of us fell asleep when we stopped for a break.


Preparing for the feast to follow

It's always fun when families get together and on this occasion nothing changed :-)

From La Serena we flew back to Santiago for our last few days in Chile. Having visited Neruda's houses in Valparaiso and Santiago we decided to visit the third of his homes. Casa de Isla Negra  is located at Isla Negra, El Quisco, San Antonio Province about 85 km to the south of Valparaíso and 110 km to the west of Santiago. It was his favorite house and where he and his third wife, Matilde Urrutia spent the majority of their time in Chile. Neruda, a lover of the sea and all things maritime, built the home to resemble a ship with low ceilings, creaking wood floors, and narrow passageways. A passionate collector, every room has a different collection of bottles, ship figureheads, maps, ships in bottles, and an impressive array of shells, which are located in their own "Under the Sea" room. Neruda and his wife are buried their with a clear view of their beach.

So that brought our first trip to Chile together to an end, a great couple of weeks in the Chilean summer (beautiful blue skies in almost every photo), a chance to escape from the winter here in Europe and most importantly a lot of fun with our family.

As I'm ending this section of our Travel Blog we're planning our next trip to Chile,  not long now and we'll be there again.