Antofagasta

It’s about 300kms down across the barren Atacama desert. And when I mean barren, I mean barren. Completely bereft of life, just dirt and rocks and sand. Absolutely extraordinary scenery. Then, cutting through a pass, the road reveals the blue ocean, and the town of Antofagasta painted on the narrow strip between the mountains and the sea.

I checked into the Hotel San Marco, then spent Monday morning confirming my insurance was in order (it was, just a mistake on the paperwork) then the afternoon getting my Revision Technica done on the car which took about three hours of standing in a line in the broiling Antofagastan sun. The car passed fine, thankfully and all the paperwork is good for another year.

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Antofagasta is a very industrial town, and port. Huge ships anchor just out to sea, the coastline must drop away suddenly. It is a mix of old and new, the mining industry is big here. It’s always a sign of a mining town when the hire car agencies have only pickups with flags and roof flashing lights…

The climate is defined by the lack of rain. The cold currents coming up the coastline bring no moisture into the winds. The driest towns on earth are not far from here. Some locations have never recorded rain.

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With the car all sorted, all I need to do is fix the slow leaking tyre, and I’m off to the mountains again.

 

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