20140106

Welcome to Chile! La Serena (Coquimbo), to be exact. Fri, 12/20/13


Our Golden Princess eased into Coquimbo Harbor 7ish Friday morning for the day.  Seasonal (summer) low clouds shrouded the scene, something we're used to seeing by now, which gave way around noon to clear skies and warm temps.  Coquimbo spans the entire area around the harbor, advancing straight into the hills, surprising us with its size.  We docked snug against the colorful city.  


A gray morning into Chile.


Eye-catching zigzag walk up the hill.


Appears the ship has rammed into the city, but we're just parked at the city's edge. 


Steep and richly colored.  That's Coquimbo

* * * * *

But our day is to be spent in La Serena, several kilometers east of Coquimbo.  Princess has shuttles operating between the ship and La Serena Square located in the city center.  La Serena is the regional capital of Norte Chile, and we've heard it is a charming city and well worth the visit.  Off we went on an explore.  Sue and Adel were with us initially, but we lost them somewhere along the way!


Court of Justice bldg -- love the architectural style.


The churches of La Serena are distinguished by many styles of belfries, which led the city being nicknamed, "City of the Belfries."


Street entertainment -- these guys were good!


Always, every city, Christmas is coming, and street vendors are out with their local handicrafts.


Christmas wrapping paper is a popular item.  Pick the paper and they'll wrap your package on the spot.


The Archaeological Museum had an extensive collection of artifacts left behind by Chile's indigenous cultures.  It wasn't expensive, obviously had "guard dogs," and was interesting.  The drawback?  No bilingual signs on any of the collections.  (Those dogs don't move.  People just walk around them.)


This giant Easter Island statue (called moai) is 12 feet tall, and this is the real deal, not a replica.


Skeletal remains from an Inca temple located 6300 meters (over 20,000') above sea level in Chile's Elqui Valley. 


OK.  So we walked and walked around this lovely city, and then chanced upon a tempting outdoor cafe. This lady served up two very fine cups of coffee!  Nice to get off the feet for a few minutes and watch the people walk by.


Aboard ship at the end of our day here in Norte Chile, we thought we heard music while walking to dinner, and saw a crowd of passengers at the ship's rail.  A street band had come to serenade us, bid us farewell, and played - of all songs - "Auld Lang Syne!"  What a nice send off.

* * * * *

Tonite is our last aboard the Golden Princess.  Tomorrow morning we disembark in Valparaiso, Chile.  We have had a superb 17-day cruise, enjoying every moment, from the entertainment to the food, new friends and laughter, the warm pools and relaxing moments poolside (some snoozing going on here!), fantastic sea life - fishies, whales, sea turtles, dolphins, frigates and boobies (birds, not people!), etc., the cities we've visited and the excursions we're taken... all of it was delightful.  One of the best parts for us was simply standing on our balcony overlooking the vast, ever-changing ocean, appreciating each moment and our great good fortune to be where we are today.



Baked Alaska on Parade by the junior waiters (Mauricio at our table) is a shipboard tradition.  Everyone cheers, hoots, and waves their napkins, as encouragement to each waiter.  Then, the dessert is cut and served at each table.  Bursting at the seams, we bid our guys a fond farewell.  It's been grand!

So:  Tomorrow (manana) we are on our own (babes in the woods?), boarding a jet in Santiago aimed at Punta Arenas, located at the bottom of the world, and a whole new adventure!  Bring it on! 

5 comments:

  1. Thank you SO much for sharing your journey! Keep 'em coming, seester!

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  2. Hard not to gain a little weight on those cruises.

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  3. What a lovely town; too bad it's not on our Celebrity cruise next December.

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  4. I have enjoyed your cruise tremendously, but I am definitely looking forward to reading about your independent time in Chile!

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    Replies
    1. Coming up next, Sue. Ready, set, go!!

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