The Chilean night sky and an island adventure

An unforgettable view from an astronomy observatory, a visit to the national park, and a tasty clambake concoction

School is now in full swing here in the Southern Hemisphere, as we are a little over a month into the semester down here. This, however, does not mean that I have devoted all of my time to school.

A few weeks ago, a few friends and I took a 7-hour bus ride north to a town called La Serena, where we visited an astronomy observatory. It was out of this world. (no pun intended). We went to the Obervatorio Turisítico Mamalluca where I was able to take a picture of the moon through the telescope. The view of the stars in the middle of the desert through a telescope will live in my mind for a long time. 

A telescope view of the moon

And as it turns out, apparently many of the world’s ground-based telescopes are located here in Chile because of its unique position on the Earth, and its pristine, viewing weather. La Serena is home to several observatories, as well as the University of La Serena.

Last weekend, we traveled in the opposite direction, and took an 18-hour bus ride to the south of the country. We went to an island called Chiloé where we visited the Torres del Paine National Park, which is one of the largest national parks in the country. It is an island, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and a beautiful bay where you find fishing pueblos that seem to be stuck in time.

at the Torres del Paine National Park

The whole weekend there, we stuffed our faces with some of the best seafood I have had in quite a while.  My favorite had to have been the Curanto, which is their equivalent to a New England clambake where they serve you a huge bowl of clams, mussels, sausage, chicken, beef and a “tasteless chewy dough” all topped off with a nice broth.  The night sky was amazing in Chiloé as well.

For those of you reading this in Syracuse, probably starting to think about finals, know that everything is going great down here, as we now approach the halfway point of our trip.

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