Sorry again that it’s been so long since I’ve been able to get a post up! These last few weeks have been full of hiking, camping and lots of catching up with other students who came back from outreach in different locations, so it’s been hard to focus on keeping this up, but the blog posts from here on should be a fair bit shorter as less “insane” events have been happening.
So I’ll take you all back to our final destination in Chile really quick and describe what I think is almost the perfect end to such a strange trip as this one was.
Our bus to the surf town of Pichilemu was booked to leave sometime in the afternoon of the 24th, after we helped serve at this nice wedding in Santiago. Just to be safe we left the wedding early and arrived several hours early at the bus terminal so that we wouldn’t have any chance of missing the bus. Well after waiting around for an hour and a half a few of us went a little stir crazy and our travel coordinator actually went and got our bus changed to a bus that was leaving in 5 minutes... now at this very moment a couple of the girls were in the bathroom and all our bags were on the opposite side of the terminal. This made for a little bit of madness and a kinda stressful start to the final leg of our trip, but we all made it on the bus and were able to enjoy a nice long nap on the 4 hour bus ride to Pichilemu.
We arrived in Pichilemu sometime after dark, I can’t’ remember any of the times right now, but the thing was no one was there to pick us up. We sat in the dark at the random city hall for about another hour, a little confused and not sure what was going to happen. We finally got a hold of our hosts and found out that they didn’t realize that we were coming tonight and that they were actually in a meeting at the very moment so they would send someone else to come pick us up in a few more minutes. When the car came it was just a little vehicle that could hardly fit any of our bags, but hey, we stuffed them all in somehow and then got the directions to the base and started walking down these deserted, Chilean streets in the dark. When we finally got to the base we were very pleasantly surprised with the building, it had a half sized Olympic swimming pool, fitness room, dance room and a very nice sushi bar, (which is what we would end up sleeping in for the next couple nights). We enjoyed a nice late dinner at the base and listened to stories from our host. Listened to plans he has for the base and for different things that we could do while we were in Pichilemu. It was great information and the guy, Mitch, was one heck of a character himself. He told us of is different injuries from big wave riding, how his daughter is the Chilean national surf champion and how he was built the entire base basically with his own bare hands. It was a lot of inspiration to take in but really cool to hear a guy who was so dedicated to this city and making such a change to the area.
The next morning we were all woken up by very loud, very upbeat music that was being played next door in the dance studio. It was 6:00am and none of us were ready for that, after the late night previous. It just meant we started our day earlier and went off to see if we could find a bakery open on a Sunday so we could get ourselves some breakfast. After breakfast we spent the rest of the day doing our final team debrief from the trip, we talked about highs and lows and different things that stood out to us. Things that could change, things that were good and so on, it was a really interesting chat because our group is so talkative that I figured I had heard everything from everyone already, but nope, there was lots to be said that day too! We finished off our debrief and then all headed into town to go and explore a little bit before meeting up again for dinner, which we found out was very hard to find at 8pm on a Sunday! We did end up finding this very interesting bar that was still open and enjoyed some surprisingly good bar food.
The next morning we had a bit more individual debrief where we talked about our personal feeling from the trip with our leaders. It was good to get out but I was really antsy to get out to this place a few kilometers away for sunset so my heart was exactly there… oops!
One cool thing that happened while I was waiting with Johannes at the beach for my debrief to start was these three, old Chilean women came up from the beach and started jabbering on to Johannes his this excited Spanish, asking about our trip, when we’re leaving and offering if we wanted to stay with them in Chile instead of going home. It last for a good 20 minutes and was hilarious to witness. And as they were leaving they stopped again a few meters away and say a welcome to Chile song for us! It was the strangest encounter, but really was a great way to start a wonderful day!
We all ate lunch together after that and then split off into sort of groups, where 6 of us went to the famous surf location of Punto Del lobos, which created the most magical night from the entire trip! We walked all the way to Del Lobos which was about a 2 hour walk along a huge beautiful beach that was completely empty, and just for the few of us. It was almost like a movie, slowly coming up too this world famous location for big wave surfing and having no one around.
We arrived in the late afternoon and explored different parts of the beach and met a few interesting people and surfers. We were even able to enjoy a nice cup of coffee from a coffee truck that was at the very end of the road on the point. It was total hippieville here and I just loved it!
We grabbed some food from the only restaurant around and then moved back to the point to watch the sun set into the sea as the surfers slowly made their way inland before the dark overtook them.
3 of the people we were with were tired and wanted to head back after the sun set, so we split up again and sent them home with a collectivo. Loic, Rachel and I all stayed back to watch the stars come up.
Never before in my life have I ever seen the Milky Way so defined. It was so breathtaking and incredible I hardly had words for it. I tried getting some shots but there was no way to be able to replicate the feeling of being there, under the sky so bright with stars it almost seemed impossible. The three of us laid under the stars for a few more hours picking our constellations and talking about the future. I think I could confidently say that this was one of my most precious moments from the entire trip and I so wish that one day I’ll be able to go back to Chile so I can look back up at those beautiful stars and think back on this night.
The next day was spent relaxing at the beach and just taking in all that had happened, I ended up falling asleep on the beach for a few hours before we needed to get back to base to connect with the group for our last meal together in Chile.
The next morning was an early one. Getting up and packing so that we could start on our journey home to Norway, a grand total up 40 hours with the bus trip I think. The whole trip seemed to go by far too quickly, because before we knew it, we were standing in the Aalesund airport hugging and saying hi to the China team that had arrived a few moments before us. We all went back to the base together and in a kind of euphoric state, tried to get back to a normal routine for the next 4 days.