Chile Pt III: Cycling to Valle de la Luna

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Valle de la Luna

We had decided to spend our second day at San Pedro de Atacama cycling to Valle de la Luna or Valley of the Moon.

Before setting off, we had breakfast at a restaurant along Caracoles.

Huge sandwich for me and pancakes for Ying

Co-incidentally we ran into Johannes and Kelli again. As it was Johannes’ birthday, we bought him breakfast and reminded Kelli to treat him dinner later in the evening.

They were also renting bicycles for half the day (3,500 CLP for six hours) but we were heading in different directions. Ying and I cycled around the town for a while to test the bikes and she decided that the seat was too high. However neither of us could adjust it and she rode back to the shop where the rental shop man knocked it down with brute force.

Following the simple map provided by the rental shop, we figured our way out of SPA and headed towards Valle de la Luna.

Desert

Great road (at the start)

Mountain

Early pit stop

Turn right

It took us around 25 minutes to reach the entrance of Valle de la Luna from SPA.

Ticket office

We paid 2,000 CLP each as entrance fee and the staff told us the time needed for us to cycle to the different sights. We would soon find out that it was wildly optimistic.

End of good roads

Although the distance seemed short, the terrain was punishing. We stopped a few times before reaching the first attraction: the canyon.

Painful to the rear

We locked our bicycles at the bicycle rack and made our way into the canyon.

Entrance to the canyon

Canyon

Tired

There were parts which were pretty narrow. Ying said that it reminded her of BBC Knowledge promo ad.

?

Nice to be in the shade

I was reminded of Jordan

Back on the bicycles and the terrain would get even more punishing.

The road ahead

The slope got so steep that we had to dismount and push the bicycles up.

Up the slope

We weren’t the only ones

Catching a breather

After more pushing/stopping/cycling, we made it to the sand dunes.

No bicycles

Our bicycles were parked below

Sahara?

Patrick was tired too

We decided to push on, hoping that the terrain would let up.

Obviously it didn’t.

What’s the white stuff?

Still bumpy

Finally we surrendered and decided to turn back. We wouldn’t have enough time to cycle all the way to the next attraction (Tres Marias) and made it back to SPA in time.

Place where we turned around

Shag faces

Going back

With less pressure, we stopped several times for photos.

Moon

Jump!

Between the hills

Our Giants

How long more…

Posing

Hitting the bad roads again

View from the saddle

On the right track

There was a section where there were some scary dogs and Ying’s bicycle had problems. It was definitely a hard work out for us both.

Boy were we glad…

After returning our bikes, we decided to have an early dinner.

Ended up at Ckunna where we ordered the pasta set dinner for two (12,000 CLP).

Ckunna

I don’t know why the Chilean bread and salsa are so awesome

Creamy pasta – enough to feed the whole village

Fancy desert

The friendly waitress came around and chatted with us after our meal. We made her guess where we came from and we were very surprised that she almost got it right on her first try!

It turned out that she had visited Southeast Asia around six months earlier and we were even more impressed that she had been to Singapore as well.

After the long day, we would turn in early. We would also need to be up by 4.00am the next day for our tour to El Tatio, the tallest geysers in the world.

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