Campana mountain climb
Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
109Trip End Mar 31, 2011
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climb La Campana, which Charles Darwin had climbed and then enthused about. We set off without giving it much thought and it turned out to be an extremely tough climb, up and down 1500m in blazing sunshine with a time limit because the car park was locked at 5.30pm. It was too hazy to see the sea but to the east we could see some fantastic snowy Andean peaks. The climb and the view were excellent but as ever the downhill was interminable and left our out-of-practise legs very sore for days afterwards.
The hills around Olmue were much greener and are immediately somewhere that feels more homely than the harsh desert of the north
In Olmue we were also to begin to appreciate Chile's incredible fast food addiction. The food of choice is a hot dog with sauerkraut, guacamole, tomato and mayonnaise called a 'completo'. In the supermarket there was precious little evidence of the lovely turbocharged vegetables we saw in the Elqui valley: everyone was buying white rolls, frankfurters and huge packets of mayonnaise. There was a little shop selling excellent homemade ice cream, but business was languishing as most people preferred the rubbish cornettos sold over the road. As you would expect, the Chileans are probably the blobbiest and unhealthy looking people we've come across on our trip so far. They can also be a rather dour bunch, not particularly welcoming at first, although they tend to loosen up after a little while.