Well we were suppose to stop here for 2 hours but due to the bus breaking down, we had missed the connecting bus to San Pedro and the next bus didn't go until tomorrow. We couldn't believe it and had to go to an interest cafe in the bus terminal to find somewhere to stay. It just wasn't our day!
Antofagasta is Chiles secondary biggest city, a jumble of one-way streets and modern mall culture but is low on travellers list as not much to do or see. It earns its importance to us backpackers though as the easiest stopover route to get North or south of the country. It doesn't have many places to stay as this is base for Chilean Miners but we managed to find a cheap hotel. When we arrived it was a bit strange as the hotel was behind bars but when the guy let us in, it was pleasant. But by this point I felt so sick I was tired, smelly and hungry. I managed to Skype home which was nice as it was Fathers Day and we headed out for some dinner. By which point I didn't feel well at all. I needed to eat. Sophie and I shared a dinner which Chile is famous for - it chips piled high with meat, onions, mushrooms, cheese and then topped off with fried eggs - translated to a heart attack on a plate but it was quite yummy and I started to feel normal again. We had a few drinks in the town before making the most of a nice hotel and getting some well earned rest.
In the morning, it was a new day. We went for the breakfast, we couldn't wait for a nice cup of coffee; which was ruined by the lady putting salt in the table instead of sugar. And then we were informed the hot water wasn't working so I had a freezing shower. however the lady felt so bad we got all our money back for staying at the hotel, this was amazing as it made staying here worth while.
When we went into the town centre - it was interesting as It has a British influence shopping centre 'plaza colon' with has a replica of Big Ben 'Torre reloj'. Slightly strange as its nothing like it and surrounded by Palm trees but people loved the fact we were English next to Big Ben. After we headed to the sea, temperature in high 20's and we sat looking at sea with the biggest ice-cream I think I've ever had. It was great one way was sea and the other amazing desert.
Around mid-afternoon it was back to the bus station to catch the bus. In which we got to 2 minutes before its arrival, I was running through the terminal with my rucksacks like a mad woman, which is quite impressive - to find the bus was gonna be in true Chilean style an hour late - yay!
However we met some English girls from Dorset and Dorchester who were also heading to San Pedro!
Once finally on our way to San Pedro we had Peter Pan and Pitch perfect to keep us entertained onboard however it's tricky to keep up in Spanish but I just love looking at the atacama desert it is truly amazing. The ride was actually spectacular with salt topped mountains in the distant with as far as you can see flat. sandy desert! The man sitting next to me kept showing me amazing views!