purplecthulhu: (Kecks)
Woke at 7am at the Santiago guesthouse for breakfast before getting the taxi back to Santiago airport for the internal flight to La Serena. Santiago airport has changed more than I'd realized on arrival yesterday as the main terminal has been extended to deal with internal as well as international flights. A short 45 minute hop to the north and I'm in La Serena to be picked up for the final leg of the trip. The observatory is at the end of a very long supply line, but ESO has been getting astronomers, instruments and supplies up and down the mountain for more than 40 years so they're rather good at it.

The drive up starts on the Pacific coast along something like the Chilean Highway 1. It's actually the Pan Americana that stretches most of the length of South America, but the rugged coast road with mountains rising steeply inland is similar. Far fewer people, than Highway 1, and no sea otters. There's more building along the route, though, with what appears to be coastal holiday homes going up in some places, and the highway itself is very busy considering it's a saturday.

After passing a coastal village the road heads inland and up, alternating between steep switchbacks and long straight roads through high valleys. There are mines of various types to either side of the road, some drilling into the mountains others open cast. The strangest is the one at the top of the hills, only traceable by the spill piles extending down the mountain and by the trees on the summit where they've been collecting ridge fogs for water.

It's five years since I was last here but stretches of the road are still being worked on. At least none of it is unpaved, but there are long tailbacks from the places they're resurfacing - traffic jams in the Andes!

Eventually we turn off the road and head to the observatory, dipping down into a dry river valley before the long steep climb to our destination. Some things have changed here. At the gate to the ESO land someone seems to have started farming - no idea what, but there's something green in rows further up the valley.

And now I'm here, arrived, acclimatizing, and it's time for lunch.
Mood:: 'mellow' mellow
purplecthulhu: (Kecks)
Woke at 7am at the Santiago guesthouse for breakfast before getting the taxi back to Santiago airport for the internal flight to La Serena. Santiago airport has changed more than I'd realized on arrival yesterday as the main terminal has been extended to deal with internal as well as international flights. A short 45 minute hop to the north and I'm in La Serena to be picked up for the final leg of the trip. The observatory is at the end of a very long supply line, but ESO has been getting astronomers, instruments and supplies up and down the mountain for more than 40 years so they're rather good at it.

The drive up starts on the Pacific coast along something like the Chilean Highway 1. It's actually the Pan Americana that stretches most of the length of South America, but the rugged coast road with mountains rising steeply inland is similar. Far fewer people, than Highway 1, and no sea otters. There's more building along the route, though, with what appears to be coastal holiday homes going up in some places, and the highway itself is very busy considering it's a saturday.

After passing a coastal village the road heads inland and up, alternating between steep switchbacks and long straight roads through high valleys. There are mines of various types to either side of the road, some drilling into the mountains others open cast. The strangest is the one at the top of the hills, only traceable by the spill piles extending down the mountain and by the trees on the summit where they've been collecting ridge fogs for water.

It's five years since I was last here but stretches of the road are still being worked on. At least none of it is unpaved, but there are long tailbacks from the places they're resurfacing - traffic jams in the Andes!

Eventually we turn off the road and head to the observatory, dipping down into a dry river valley before the long steep climb to our destination. Some things have changed here. At the gate to the ESO land someone seems to have started farming - no idea what, but there's something green in rows further up the valley.

And now I'm here, arrived, acclimatizing, and it's time for lunch.
Mood:: 'mellow' mellow

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