Between La Serena and Coquimba
The riders are having a well deserved rest day in between two contrasting coastal cities along the Chilean beaches.The two are only 10 kms from each other and we are camping in the middle for two nights rest from cycling.Our campsite is peaceful and lush with blossoming trees and many varieties of local birds that chirp and coo in the early morning. Much better than the sound of traffic.
Seven kms to the north of our campsite starting at the lighthouse on the beach is La Serena, an elegant resort town with clean terra cotta tiled sidewalks colleges,university and plenty of hotels, holiday condos, cafes and a spa and casino centre.
Like all the South American cities and towns we have been through, La Serena has a walking pedestrian centre with a big square near a church and many shops. It is always great to see the local citizens out and about-whole families with little children in tow not having to worry about cars for many pleasant blocks of strolling.
Meanwhile, a mere 4 km to the south and where I am currently writing from is the rough and lively chaos of fishing centre Coquimba! The shoreline here is a colourful mess of fishing boats and fishermen at work, sea lions and pelicans.
We sat out over the Pacific in a seafood restaurant at the fishing market and watched the pelicans fill their beaks and the fishermen fill their nets with abalone and scallops and all sorts of delicious sea edibles.This town has a large cross memorial up on one hill and a mosque on the next hill. An interesting change to see testaments to multi-cultures living here.
What a great spot to see some local contrasts, enjoy some great local seafood and walk around this beautiful and colourful area of Chile before heading back on to some steep climbing and remote dirt roads in the next few days.
– Ruth Schonblum