Photos from Easter Island

Some  photos from Easter Island. They are grey day ones I’m afraid before our post check in photo trip. 

( do ask him who hailed the taxi!)

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Back to the mainland

Google is very useful sometimes. Our flight got in to Santiago at 8.20pm, not ideal for picking up a rental car and heading off to a hotel (not to mention fitting in dinner). But I’d previously found out that the Holiday Inn could not be closer – perhaps 30 metres away when we came out of the customs hall! It made the day much more relaxed knowing we could walk to our hotel in seconds and not worry about the rules of the road in Chile. In fact we’ll be back here in 3 nights time, as we have an early morning flight, saves a day on the car hire being close enough not to need a car.

But first we have 3 days (2 nights) to explore the area. It’s wine growing country, and Chile’s second and third cities (Valparaiso and Vina del Mar) are on the coast only an hour or so away. Having done a bit more reading recently, it sounds as though a car is a liability in Valpo, so we’ve just booked 2 nights at the Ibis (OK, hardly a romantic boutique hotel, but gets good reviews on Tripadvisor, top for good value, great location, and (very importantly I gather) it has a car park).

Greg

Moai

I felt strangely down this morning, surprising as we’d had a really nice meal last night at a restaurant run by a charming Belgian woman followed by an excellent Polynesian dance show. I decided it was mostly my extreme irritation that we had a 10.40 transfer for a 13.30 flight (the airport is three minutes away); partly that the cloud cover had been solid yesterday (rather spoiling my pictures) whereas it was fairly sunny today; and partly the fact I get sentimental about leaving places I don’t expect to come back to (I’ve been known to take pictures of car parks!), so I’d never see those moai (i.e. statues) again. So I hatched a plan…

After we checked in and got our boarding passes, I looked round for a taxi. There weren’t any, but eventually someone else was dropped off, and I accosted the driver. Through broken Spanish we negotiated that he’d take us to Ahu Tonkariki at the other end of the island, 20 minutes to take some photos of the stunning row of 15 maoi on the beach, and bring us back. Val was a little reluctant, but persuadable, and off we went! It’s a place we had visited with grey skies yesterday, but there was sunshine and clouds today, which was great (and not being part of a group, we had the place to ourselves), and better still, he also stopped for us to take some photos of the quarry on the hill which has many unfinished maois scattered on it. And back with loads of time to spare, he even took a detour to show us the massive earthworks the Americans undertook to lengthen the runway in case the space shuttle ever needed to land here).

We really liked Rapa Nui (Easter Island). It doesn’t have quite the climate of other Polynesian islands, and there is only one beach of any size on the island (yes, Val did manage a (rather chilly) swim there), but it has a nice laid back feel, and has some very interesting historical places to visit.

Easter Island

We’re on Easter Island now.

We got here about lunch time yesterday ( Saturday). We explored the one and only town on the Island Hanga Roa and even braved a haircut. I’m quite pleased with mine. No longer shaggy! She was VERY thorough with Greg – he won’t need another cut until next year!

Today we have done 2 half day tours. We’ve seen hatbox shaped dwellings, which weren’t tall enough to stand up in, only squat.

An impressive volcano crater, which was used as an
orchard. Boys had to scramble down the sides to harvest.

We saw 7 maoi/statues. They were bigger than I expected, but smaller than Greg had imagined. They are thought to be (lots of surmising about the history of here!) images of the seven Polynesian explorers who’d come and reckied the place.

We have a day trip tomorrow. I should get a swim in the Pacific depending on the weather it’s very changeable here!

Pictures from Altiplano

On the salt flats. I'm so strong!

On the salt flats. I’m so strong!

Flamingoes on the salt flats

Flamingoes on the salt flats

Lago colorado

Lago colorado


Greg in the train. Cemetery

Greg in the train. Cemetery

There was an "Island in the salt flats with loads of cacti...this photo is one of many . Beware!

There was an “Island in the salt flats with loads of cacti…this photo is one of many . Beware!

The geysers were amazing

The geysers were amazing

Pausing for breath

It’s been pretty full on for the last few days (6 hotels in the last 6 nights). But we have another night here in San Pedro de Atacama and some free time. After yesterday’s 5am departure, I think everyone was looking forward to taking it easy, we didn’t have a group dinner, just did our own thing (there’s a kitchen here). We pottered around town this morning, found a cafe for breakfast, did some interneting and postcards.

It doesn’t rain here. There are places around here where rain has literally never been recorded. The air is clear, and this is probably the telescope capital of the world, there are loads in the area. We signed up for an astronomical tour last night, which was good. Ran from 9pm until 11pm, there’s no light pollution so the sky was sparklingly clear. The guy had two telescopes, got a good view of Andromeda (a galaxy outside the Milky Way), and a nebula. He knew his stuff, he gave a pretty good explanation of things in the night sky.

We’re exactly half way through our 10 week trip today. it’s been great so far. We only have three more days with the group, then we head off to Easter Island (three of our fellow travellers are on the same flight, so we may bump into them over there). We do have a trip out today, but not until 3.30pm, we’re off to the Valley of the Moon. NASA tested one of their Mars rovers here, it’s harsh terrain, but beautiful I believe.

Our group has been really friendly. Unfortunately I’m one of the very few who haven’t had a dodgy tummy, the food has generally been pretty good but clearly not perfect. I was served some rather pink chicken today, but I sent it back! 

Greg