Northern Chile has been wonderful but tough! We had to cycle through the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert! With very little humidity to block our view, we had the most spectacular night sky to look at! The stars were so clear we can see them clear down to the horizon! Camping was easy and fun but we had to ration our supplies as there were some distances between towns, but not so distant that we starved!
The Atacama Desert
The people here are extremely friendly, but very difficult to understand. Coming into Chile was a culture shock to us because their Spanish is much different than the other countries we have visited here in South America. They spoke much faster and pronounced some words differently, which threw us off our game! We recently met a man from Colombia, who was also traveling, and he said he couldn’t understand these guys too! But with some perseverance, the Spanish here will be picked up also, just give it some time! The mountain range just northeast of Santiago (Portillo) was fantastic and offered views that are usually seen only in the movies! However, seeing the sight in person will only do it the justice it deserves! The terrain just looks fake, but is a far cry from safe when nature decides it is time to storm!
The border guards made the comment that many people die here every year. The snow storms get so bad that it would be hard to see your hand stretched out from your body! The rescue teams do not dispatch until the storm settles, and for many, that is too late.
Andean Mountains – Portillo, Chille