So north we are headed and the landscape just seems to change dramatically every time we take a turn in the road.
Northern Chile is mostly desert and is known for mining.
About 100 years ago nitrate mining was very important here until someone in Europe managed to manufacture it synthetically. This has left a number of nitrate ghost towns dotted along the sides of the roads. Copper is another huge industry here and a small town called Calama has got the largest open copper mine in the world. We tried to do a tour but unfortunately got to the gate of the mine only to be turned away.
The industry is very visible with big pipelines being laid along the sides of the roads and lots of large trucks on the road. When one is not seeing this the scenery has a stark beauty about it. Again totally different from what we have been seeing previously.
At times we have been riding in the middle of the desert with the snow-capped Andes to our right and then a few kilometres later we are riding along the coast with barren little seaside villages dotted along the coast.
I hope these pictures do the scenery justice.
Our next big stop is the Atacama desert which is in northern Chile and is the driest desert in the world. Andy will be writing a post about this soon….