after a 6 hours busride along the coast I got to Antofagasta, founded in 1870. The city earned its importance by offering the easiest route to the nitrate mines of the interior.
War of the Pacific
also known as the Chile-Peruvian War, the War of the Pacific (1879-84) began after Bolivia prohibited a Chilean company from exploiting the nitrate deposits in the then-Bolivian-owned Atacama. Chile retaliated by taking over the port of Antofagasta, which was also then part of Bolivia, and declared war on Peru, Bolivia's ally. By the end of 1874, Chile seized control of Bolivia's only coastal access, plus Tacna and Arica provinces of Peru.
Like Iquique, Antofagasta sits on a terrace at the foot of the coastal range, 1350km north of Santiago.
Ricardo came to pick me up at the bus station, I stayed at his house and friends came over for drinks before heading to a disco at 3 am. I had difficulties to understand them -Chileans use confusing pronunciation and speak rather more rapidly than other South Americans and rather less clearly....
Second holiday, Armed Forces Day, I had my flight to Santiago in the afternoon with a delay of an hour. Flying over the snow covered Andes into Santiago. So nice to see some green after days of desert. The bus to Viña del Mar (another 1,5 hours) left also with a delay cause of heavy traffic and passenger demand due to the parade in the capital.