Through wine, stars and desert. Part 1
From Santiago I went like from sling. Almost because in bus doors pinch me and I couldn’t went on that bus stop where I wanted 😀 That night I spend in cross road of highway. After few minutes I realize that place is exactly on road of landing planes on main airport of Santiago so in very quick time I knew how often airplanes are landing (and what connected is with that I was really sleepy)
To La Serena I rolled with absolutely amazing and insane in the same time Manuel. But how he went in truck 140km/h without any reaction when our tire blow u You can read HERE. La Serena make good impression with restored old city and avenue on the end which is giant lighthouse. But what is most interesting that lighthouse never function of lighthouse. Mayor many years ago when he prepared plan of rebuilding old town he decided that main avenue can’t end just like that on beach. So he decided to build there lighthouse. Thanks God he didn’t thought about, for example, monument of himself.
From La Serena to inside of continent is leading road, which named is “Ruta de la Estrellas”. This name is because on 300 km of that road theirs glasses eyes have pointed at sky around 20 observatories. Not common sky I need to say, because there first time I realized why people from whole over the world are coming to Chile to watch stars. There is no such a clean sky in whole world! Altitude (usually more than 3000m over sea level), 5-10% of humidity, practically no light pollution (nearest city is few hundreds from there) and some special characteristic of atmosphere in that region makes that when You’re watching cky at night You feel like to watch buzzing TV. Even good place to sleep in wayside shrine invited to sleep, that was really difficult. Because how You can sleep when on sky in star next to star! Entrance to that observatory unfortunately cost something like 130zł so I couldn’t watch inside sky. But I could see many vineyard, which that valley are closely covering with green carpet. Stars, best Chilean wine and swimming in cold mountain creek. What’s more is necessary to be happy? Maybe amazing family who is taking You from road inside theirs small truck. When we spill out like tune from can, they gave me a lot coke and sweets 🙂
most cold washing of things in my life.But shower there was much colder
I walked on road inside stars and wine when suddenly car stopped next to me and I heard question: “Are You from Poland?” Anna and Jacek decided to spend theirs 2 weeks of Holliday not in Wroclaw in Poland where they are usually live, but in Chile. Rest of cities in valley we visited in theirs rented car. Finally, I could talk a little bit about music, books, movies situation in world in country and not just only about chicks, beer, and prize of meat in Poland. That was really good two days! Only because of them I had a possibility to, literally, reach a stars. Why?
When I prepared plan for Chile I knew that I need to visit most beautiful and powerful telescopes on earth. I thought that I could just come there, but ticket and come in. If I would done that, I could kiss door-handle. Because to go inside obligatory is to reserve visit on web site of ESO. Astrophysics are a little bit like kids in preschool and they guard theirs toys like a 6 years kids, so visits are possible only on Saturdays. And not on every. That’s why people reserve visits even few months before! I knew about that at Wednesday so I had only 2 days! I send emails, I call there, I told them that so many kilometers through South America only to see that place, that almost whole my life I spend in stars, that real enthusiast. And true is that I’m first polish astronaut who was on moon 😀 Maybe because of mercy, maybe because they were tired I received that message: “With special agree of President ESO We can offer You on special rights entrance to La Silla and Paranal Observatory”. When I shouted on main square of La Sereny people thought that gringo was too long on sun.
La Silla. I’m going one day before because I don’t wanna be late. In message clearly was writed that camping around observatory is strictly prohibited (through Internet they felt that I’m backpacker?). But You live once! Last 10 km I walk through biggest solar farms witch I saw in my life. In night dogs barked near gate, I through few stones and absolutely nobody notice my presence there (even If there were best monitoring witch I saw since I left Lisbon). Next day guy from security told me that from gate to observatory is 20 km, so I talked with some old people from Europe who also came to see that place, and together in theirs geriatric car we went up to the stars. It’s truly difficult to describe magic of that place. Magnitude of that telescopes and theirs possibilities browbeat. Our guide are showing us another telescopes and machines, which are worth few hundreds of dollars. Finally when he see that I am slobbering like a dog for ham, he gave me to change some things in from machines. That were only few buttons but… I had real fear that I can destroy something.
There he is! On top of that mountain 🙂
To look into eye of telescope…
With my group 60+ I went another 200km to next city, Copiapo, on road had a checkpoint in police control point. They noticed that we are going 130km/h in place where permitted is only 80km/h. What made my driver? Classic “No hablo espanol” and we are going without anything! From Copiapo I just remember police mans who bought rings during theirs patrol. Than started my road to Antofogasta with stop on patrol station where I lost my cellphone. But how I received it You can read HERE. To city, I rolled with Berbnardo who not only feed me, said stories about places but also stopped in some interesting laces. For example in road in the middle of nowhere where near road on desert live old person. Nobody know how old is he old what his name is. He don’t eat nothing, only drink water which drivers will give him. With salt, which he’s collecting on desert, he’s building small wayside shrine. Some story says that he is doing that, because in that place many years ago whole his family died in car accident.
In secend part rest of my trip through wine, stars and desert 😉