IMG 0139

A free day in Iquique. The Lonely Planet suggests the Giant of Atacama and the Humberstone world heritage area. The former is a good 2 hours motorcycling each way and there was no way either of us was up for that and the latter only an hour each way so that was a simple choice. Mary declined.

The Humberstone was a saltpeter (nitrate) mining town complete with shops, theatre, factories, the works in fact and looks for all the world as if the residents just packed up what they could and walked out fifty years ago, which in fact they did. I spent a facinating hour just walking around until it got too hot in the sun and in any event I just had to go and pick up Mary.

The picture if of the inside of one of the industrial sheds where the iron has rotted letting the sun in. The picture does not do the reality justice.

The view of the city from the top of the hill is just as stunning the second time around. It makes you want to be a passenger.

IMG 0141Returning to our very excellent hotel (the Gavina, recommended mostly for it's superb location) Mary and I took a taxi to the Zona Franca or duty free shopping mall for lunch and a look around. This comprises a lot of small holder shops selling much the same goods, knick knacks, electronics and so forth but not nearly as upmarket as the mall in Antofagasta.

I ended up going back to the mall to see if I could buy a wireless memory stick. No luck. The range of goods is not great. The highlight was the biker taxi driver with whom I had a very pleasant chat.

An excellent dinner at the relatively nearby Sumapuriwa restaurant after drinks in a pedestrian mall just to IMG 0142the east. This is Tripadvisors top choice for Iquique and we certainly agreed (not that we have seen 2 or 3). Brilliant!  

What is for sure is that Iquique would repay a considerably longer stay than a couple of days. We have found the various people who helped us to find the restaurant very generous and helpful although there were some very dubious types hanging around on our return.