La Serena, Chile is a haven for those who love the ocean and appreciate some quiet time. Chase and I stayed for almost a week and I enjoyed every minute of it. The theme of this part of the trip was adding the phrase “on the beach” to absolutely everything we did. Take a nap? On the beach… Have a mojito? On the beach… It was just as amazing as it sounds.
There are two parts to La Serena. There is the main town, with lots of churches and restaurants, and the avenida, with all hotels and ocean. Our first night, we stayed in the main town and took a day to walk and explore. Because it’s the off season, there wasn’t much to do besides walk around and try the local food. That did, however, go really well. The buildings and architecture are beautiful and the food is absolutely delicious! One of the more unique restaurants we went to was a little Thai food place in a veranda behind all of the stores and markets. We came upon it by accident, as it is down a side street and in a small square with no other outside access. There was also a cafe in the square and patio furniture with a homely decor. We arrived at night, so the lights draped on the building twinkled and created a beautiful veranda look. We were the only foreigners there, and the owner himself came out to speak with us after the meal. It was amazing to see how two cultures mixed together could create the new form of Thai food that we had just eaten. The owner, a young man about 29, had lived with a Thai family in the east for three years. They taught him all that he knew about Thai food and it’s process. However, he cannot get a lot of the necessary ingredients here in Chile, so he has to make substitutes and travel 5 hours for other items that are simply irreplaceable. The outcome is a delightful meal with some underlying flavors that add to the taste and stand out in the smallest ways to be noticeable, but still scrumptious. This was something that I could appreciate as we ate our meal. There are almost no asian restaurants in Chile and Argentina, and so this was the first meal in our trip that we had. It allowed us to have some amazing Thai food, but also take a look at the cultural impact in the tastes and creation that could only come from being unable to obtain every ingredient. Simply Delicious.
The rest of our time in La Serena was spent on the beach. We found a steal of a deal at a local B&B just 40 meters form the ocean. Because there were few other guests, they gladly upgraded our room to a apartment style room with a patio, tv, and a king size bed. At night, I could hear the ocean waves from our window, and each morning, we were able to get enough fresh food for the day from the panaderia and vegetable market below our hostel. The 5 days at Katarsy’s Hostel were absolute HEAVEN. As I recently learned, travelling the world is incredible, but also exhausting. This gave us our own version of a staycation to rest, plan, read, and lay on the beach planning our next move. In the evenings, we sat on the beach and watched the sun go down over a mojito or dinner. During the day, we walked up and down the shore to see the restaurants and skyscraper condos line the avenue. The most important part to me, however, was how peaceful it all was. I read a book, took a few naps, and relaxed. Since we were there for more than just 2 nights, Chase seized the opportunity to cook creative meals with fresh ingredients and leftovers that we actually got to keep. One morning, he made banana pancakes from scratch! I LOVE banana pancakes! So, we sat by the ocean, turned on some Jack Johnson, and ate banana pancakes. It was perfect. This town showed me where the inspiration comes from in Kenny Chesney’s songs.
The ocean holds a dear place in my heart. I grew up in the mountains, and I have to admit I was thrilled when we finally got back in to them. However, the ocean brings a certain joy to my heart and a smile to my face that is irreplaceable. We swam in the ocean, jumped through the waves, and picked up shells to no end. I snapped photos while Chase leaped in to waves that were taller than him, and even from 50 feet away, I could see how much fun he was having. I think that the ocean brings out the inner child in all of us, spurring fun, laughter, and lots of splashing.
Well, now it is back to the mountains, the cold, and the snow! It was amazing to have a few days in this paradise, but now we get to enjoy the next paradise. ❤