Our first Chilean port was Iquique. It’s a pretty decent sized city with a population closing in on about 200,000. I chose to take a tour out of town to see Humberstone, an abandoned (and UNESCO world heritage site) nitrate plant and community that was in service from the late 1800's until 1960-ish. After that was a planned visit to the Pintado geoglyphs, located in the Atacama desert.
Here's some view of Iquique on our way out of town, climbing through the coastal mountain range and into the Atacama desert.
Our next stop was Humberstone. As I noted before it's an abandoned community in the Atacama Desert located about 50 kilometers from Iquique. It is an old nitrate mining town. This product was mined and used in fertilizer until synthetic fertilizer was developed. This town had a theater, school, housing, general store, railway train, meeting hall, cantina, dancing hall, and even a swimming pool.
After Humberstone, we went further into the Atacama to see the geoglyphs. The best known ones in the world are the Nazca lines, located in Peru. The ones we saw in the Atacama were built between 600 and 1500 AD. Historians believe that the Chilean geoglyphs played an important role in the transportation network connecting the civilizations in South America. The geoglyphs are found using 4 main drawings - fish, animals, humans and geometric figures. They were built by scraping the dark desert soil away which then exposed lighter soil beneath. They then added stones and other natural materials and were sorted and carefully placed. Some were painted. They were fascinating to see.
So, here's a quote about travel: "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." St. Augustine.
Stay tuned for more pig tales...................