La Serena, Chile: The Market & Japanese Gardens
Updated: I tried to get this post up last night but used up the 20 minutes you apparently get to use the wifi in your room before it decides to stop working. Didn’t feel like going outside and downstairs to finish in the chilly night air, so I’m finishing up this morning (Friday)
Sleeping In is NOT An Option
Our hostel is very quiet (an airpot is quiet compared to where we’re living in Viña), but the churches in La Serena apparently want to make sure you don’t sleep late. The bells started ringing no later than 7:30, and the second set, at 7:45, rang 91 times. Yes, I counted, because after the first interminable set I was curious. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the time, unless they’re counting the millennium, month, days and time. Cecile thinks they’re various levels of warning so you can get to church in time for mass, and she may be correct. In any case, it did cause us to slowly arise.
Out And About in La Serena
After a yummy traditional Chilean breakfast of cheese, jamón (ham), bread, juice, tea and various other available foods at the hostel, we went out to the artisans market in La Serena. Cecile didn’t have to work until the afternoon, so the whole family to go together. We were there around 10:30/11:00, so as usual we were early. The people outside in the square either weren’t there at all or were just setting up. I believe at times there are fresh fruits and vegetables, but we didn’t see any of that. The market extends inside and among some buildings, into some courtyards and some insidey type places. There are all sorts of things available, from authentic local crafts to tourist junk. Papaya is grown around here, and we saw it in every form you can imagine … except fresh. There was bottled papaya, dried papaya, candied papaya, and it goes on. We may buy some eventually, but we’d really like to find some fresh papaya. Ah well, foiled again.
Cecile did find some gloves and an alpaca hat which she felt she needed for Saturday when we’ll be up on a mountain in the middle of the night star gazing, so the trip wasn’t a complete loss. She also bought some gifts for people back home, but I can’t say more than that. La Serena is known for it’s churches, and we saw a couple on our walk, including the one that serves as our alarm clock. This is not a picture of that one, though one will be forthcoming. This one was on the corner with the market.
One of the highly rated things to see in La Serena is the Japanese Gardens, and we’re staying just a few blocks away. So after Cecile left for work and we had a little lunch, Joel and I headed on out. It truly is lovely and fairly large. We’re planning on going back with our friend Sara tomorrow, so we didn’t see the whole thing. Here are a few pictures from there and a few other things we saw today.