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Between the tall mountains and the wild coast lay the dry desert.  There are long cycling stretches between the cities, which are linked by the Pan-American Highway. The scenery surrounding the road is dry and bleak.  It looks like a land of nothing on my map, the only indicators are the lines of road that connects the dots of civilization and significance. On the bike however, I spend most of my time between those dots. If I had been on a bus I would probably have fallen asleep, not knowing what I was missing. There are so many things to experience, even in the driest of deserts.

In some areas, the ground is covered in purples, pinks and yellows. They are wild flowers that have not grown here in years, but after a long rainy season even the desert has turned into a field of spring flowers. It is lovely to see small scorpions run around the flower stalks and see flower pedals spread amongst the cactus thorns. There are so many areas that feels far from dry. I arrive inVicuña and a valley of vineyards where the national drink is made, in Valle del Encanto there is a rock area with pictograms from ancient civilizations and in Termas de Socos is the mineral spring with water that  is sold everywhere in the country.

In other parts there is only desert. I sometimes see shining sci-fi-buildings on the top of the hills, which turns out to be astronomy observatories. Due to the Atacama desert being the driest one on earth, it also has the clearest skies. The stars create a bright map during the night, with the Milky Way sweeping across the sky as a winter street. When I am visiting one of the observatories I see nebulas, galaxies and planets through the telescope, but it is when I sit outside of my tent that I really can admire the universe. It feels grand du sit out there in the dark desert and view a starlit sky with lots of dots of light. I enjoy it here, in the driest of deserts with winter streets and spring fields.




  1. Nicolai Michel Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at 4:18 AM

    You’re so lucky to be there during the flowering!

  2. Hanna Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at 5:35 PM

    I know Nicolai, everybody are very excited and some say that they have been waiting for the flowers for fourteen years. It is gorgeous.

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