Monday, February 9, 2015

Thursday, December 18, 2014–Coquimbo, Chile–Mostly Cloudy - 64F

Puerto San Martin, Peru to Coquimbo, Chile: 1036 Nautical Miles (17.7 knots)

Port Background.  Located about 290 miles north of Santiago, Coquimbo (the port) and nearby La Serena are home to almost 200,000 people.  La Serena is Chile’s second oldest city and was founded around 1544. The city is built around the Plaza de Armas.

Another chilly day along the Chilean Coast…

After the usual breakfast (but still good), we are touring today – “La Serena On Our Own” – we take a bus into La Serena and spend some time there and meet the bus at a designated location and time.

20141218_GP docked Coquimbo (Small)

The Golden Princess Docked at Coquimbo

On the way to La Serena we passed a long pedestrian walkway with statues lining the entire length.  We have seen a number of similar streets in Europe and Latin America.

20141218_Coquimbo park of statues (Small)

We have been in La Serena before and we sort of know where everything is.  Even though it’s a Thursday and a work day, there are a lot of people on the streets of this quaint little town.  As we make our way to the center of town and the shops and square, I noticed a very important “landmark” – the Hotel Cristobal Colon.  I was unaware that Columbus had ventured away from the Caribbean to spend some quality time in Chile – the coat of arms seemed authentic.

20141218_Chris C slept here (Small)

Chris Slept Here

It was easy to find the touristic part of town – centered around the La Recova Market.  This “mall” features tourist stuff as well as local items such as canned fruit.  La Recova was pretty well jammed with ship folks and others this day.

20141218_La Recova mkt La Serena (Small)20141218_La Recova wares and goods (Small)

La Recova Market

Our walk along the main street led us to an indoor mall with an, as yet uncompleted, fountain or water feature.  The mall itself consisted of a variety of small stores situated in a tiered structure.

20141218_La Serena mall (Small)

Indoor Mall – La Serena

Perhaps the large of number of people out on the street was a result of some kind of military demonstration or ceremony.  There was a band and lots of men in uniform.

20141218_Military ceremony being filmed (Small)

Military Celebration

While the center of town was pretty crowded, some of the pedestrian walkways were almost deserted (below).

20141218_Pedestrian walkway La Serena (Small)

We made our way back to the Plaza de Armas, which is our designated bus pickup location.  The Plaza today has a few people sitting on the benches or just walking through.  It also has a ring of panhandlers (all women) trying to get some coin off the tourists.  We tried to give one of them some of our coins and I think she was unhappy with the amount of money.  We then noticed several women doing the same thing.  At least, they are organized.

20141218_Plaza de Armas fountain (Small)

Plaza de Armas – La Serena

Our bus was there on time and we headed back to the port.  On the way, we saw the Islamic Center (I got a nice picture of this a few years ago, when it was first built). 

20141218_Islamic Center Coquimbo (Small)

We drove along the beach area of Coquimbo – in the summer months, this place is probably jammed with tourist and locals.  The beach is lined with bars and restaurants and some hotels and condos.  Some of the homes look relatively new and all of them are in good condition.  The bus was moving pretty fast so getting pictures of the beach was not an option.  I was able to, with some luck and photo editing, get a picture of the Golden Princess docked across the bay.

20141218_ GP docked across bay (Small)

Golden Princess – Coquimbo

Once back on the ship, we were able to watch a picturesque (though cloudy) sail away from Coquimbo (sequence below).  The bay also contained a number of scuttled ships (a common thing in these South American ports).

20141218_ Coquimbo sailaway scuttled ships (Small)

Scuttled Ships in the Bay

20141218_ Coquimbo sailaway 3 (Small)  20141218_ Coquimbo sailaway 4 (Small) 20141218_ Coquimbo sailaway 5 (Small) 20141218_ Coquimbo sailaway 6 (Small)

20141218_Coquimbo sailaway (Small)

In the evening, we made a point to meet up with Sammi and Matias and thank them for their support.

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