Sunday, April 20, 2014

La Serena is indeed, serena!

So, back to La Serena:

La Recova

The day after we arrived, once I had the chance to recover from my late dinner, I was free in the morning so we walked over to La Recova, the touristy market a few blocks from our hostel. The present market was opened in 1981, after an older structure was damaged by fire in the 60s and merchants worked out of a warehouse for 16 years or so. The fire-damaged market was not the original, there have been several over the years, dating all the way back to the 1600s when the town was founded.

At any rate, the current market specializes in touristy stuff on the ground floor, with some restaurants and other shops (hair salons, other specialty stores) up top. I found it to be mostly more of the same old same old that is available in the other tourist-oriented markets I've been to so far. For those of you planing a trip, I did see that lapis is a bit less expensive here, as were some textiles. The really big deal here is all things papaya, except for fresh papaya! Apparently the papaya here is a certain type the does well candied, dried, jarred, juiced and turned into syrup, but isn't good eaten fresh.

In the afternoon, I had lunch with Professora Nidia on campus, and then went and did a presentation in her class that went very well. Afterwards, I met a number of other professors for tea, and we discussed some of the differences between our universities. Great students, lovely school, and warm professors!

Tour of La Serena

On Friday the 11th we had a lovely tour of La Serena, hosted by Julio and Hugo, another Chilean Fulbrigher who spent time in the US. Joel enjoyed some exercise equipment:

I enjoyed the view over to Coquimbo, the port town that is about 10 minutes away from La Serena:
I believe Steve has some pictures on his blog that include both Julio and Hugo, that Joel took, using Steven's camera.

Part of our tour included going up the hill to campus, so that Steve, Joel and Sarah could appreciate the great view from up there. I was intrigued with what a group of students were doing:
Turns out there were 1st year architecture students, displaying their weekly assignment. Each week, they are required to do 50 sketch around town, to help them develop an understanding of perspective, and how drawings of buildings fill space. 

Friday night workshops

Friday evening, I went back to campus to present two more workshops, in Professoras Marian and Claudia's classes. Once again, I really enjoyed working with the students, and was treated so kindly by everyone. There was even a break with coffee, tea, juice and cake served between the two classes. It seems there are always coffee breaks for this Friday evening class, but because I was there, we had cake instead of cookies.

And to continue on the food theme, Marian and Claudia took me out for a late and very yummy dinner after class. We've already started talking about the possibility of me coming back for some more workshops in June, and I'd love to come-I had a great time.

Elqui Valley Tour

I'll let Steve tell you all about the excellent tour we took of the Elqui Valley on April 11th. (Remember, his blog link is on the left). I did get this shot of Steve in a little bakery we went to, in a tiny village. He is adding our info to that of all the other visitors who have stopped there:

The Hostel

A quick word about where we stayed. Our hostel, Terra Diguita, was beautiful, and fairly quiet except for the church bells that rang at about 7:40, 7:50 and 8 a.m. each day (but oddly not on Sunday). I did find the place to be COLD as other visitors reported. And while the garden was beautiful, going down stairs and over uneven surfaces at night to go to the bathroom (no, not in the GARDEN!), was not much fun.
Joel and I did enjoy Unsa, the hostel cat very much:

On the Road Again

And a few picts from the journey home. Since we were in the better section of the bus, we got a meal. Honestly, it was kind of gross:
But we ate it anyway:
Such a nice trip! I hope I do have the chance to go back in June.

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