Travelling with Pachamama – The Earth Mother


Atacama Desert

Atacama Desert

A bit weary from my prior experiences I joined the Pachamama-Bus in Santiago, to travel in five days to San Pedro de Atacama, together with a mixed group of people. The Pachamama-Bus is currently unique in Chile: A small bus for backpackers, which leaves Santiago on two routes – southbound to Puerto Montt and northbound to San Pedro – and stops at various places for sightseeing. This way, one can see much more of the country than by just taking the normal bus (22 hours) or flying to the North. Pachamama, by the way, is the Earth Mother in Andean mythology.

Der Pachamama-Bus

The Pachamama-Bus

Musste passieren - kurze Panne, aber bald ging es weiter

Had to happen – brief repairs, soon we were on the road again

We were a small group, all Europeans, plus our Chilean tour guide and driver. Still slightly troubled by my memories of the food-storage and party habits of the group in Valdivia, I sent a brief prayer to whoever was listening that I wouldn’t end up in a party bus, and the fates were merciful – although all were younger than me, and some by far (indeed, one said; You could be our Mutti. Yes. Thanks!) – they seemed to have an even bigger need for sleep than I, and most were mildly anti-alcoholic.

So we drove North, staying in various cities on the way, and had a good time together. We lay on the beach; swam in a salt lake which contained more salt than the Dead Sea (by the way, it’s really impossible to swim in a salt lake); cooked and had barbecues; looked at penguins, dolfins, whales, cormorans, pelicans, sea lions and what else there is to see in Chile’s animal kingdom; jumped into hot springs in a geyser area; swam in a pool in the desert; walked through cemeteries for miners and trains; and I learned on one of the long bus journeys how to make bracelets, which may come in handy one day if I have to earn the money for my travels. And all the time, all around us the beautiful Chilean country side – I’ll let the pictures talk.

Tomorrow I’ll make my way to Bolivia, and hence to Peru – I hesitated, but have now made up my mind to visit Machu Picchu -, then onwards to Ecuador, Cuba, Canada, and finally Hawaii. There, I’ll board the plane to Germany, where I’ll land on the 14th of July – the end of 18 months of travel. But that is still in the future, for now I’ll keep enjoying the journey.

The Moon through a telescope, San Pedro

The Moon through a telescope, San Pedro

Jupiter, seen through a telescope at San Pedro

Jupiter, seen through a telescope at San Pedro



















9 responses to “Travelling with Pachamama – The Earth Mother

    • Yes, after the other two experiences I was feeling a bit apprehensive, am so happy I took that bus! I wasn’t too happy about the full moon when arriving – no chance to see any stars – but when staring at it through a telescope yesterday, I forgave him (her?)

  1. Hi Gudrun! Been enjoying your posts, travelling vicariously through you to those places I’d like to visit too. Sorry to hear about yr ‘slumming’ experience – unfortunately I’ve found that many young backpackers are just into partying, like on eternal weekend & it’s something that I try to avoid, but not easy when you’re budget travelling!
    How long will you be in Bolivia? When do you think you’ll go to Peru? I just got a 6 month visa extension for Ecuador & will be travelling/WWOOFing around this country for a few weeks, but wd still love to hook up with you.

    • Hola, nice to hear from you! I am having computer problems (comes with the country I guess), sorry for my late reply. Thanks for your kind comment! I’ll be in Bolivia until the 24th of March, then Peru for just a few days, and from 30th of March through 16th of April in Ecuador – parts in Quito, plus travelling to the Amazon. Would be great to catch up – where will you be during this time? Best – Gudrun

      • Hey! I can’t yet say where I’ll be. In Vilcabamba for next week, then travelling a bit & back here. Might be good to catch you in Peru. When & where?

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