Tuscan Traveler’s Tales – Last Post from the Atacama Desert

Florence in January and February is mostly gray – gray medieval or renaissance stone palazzos, gray cobblestone streets, gray rain, gray skies, gray clothes – so it warms me up to think back to hot days on the high, high, high Atacama Desert of Chile with its rose and peach wind-shaped bluffs, its white-silver salt flats with pink flamingos, its blue-black midnight skies with a moon hanging within reach.

Before I arrived at the Calama airport, I thought I knew deserts, but the Atacama is unique with geysers at altitudes that steal your breath, volcanos – both active and sleeping, … Read More

Tuscan Traveler’s Tales – Seeking Stars at La Silla in Chile

Sometimes Tuscan Traveler wants to go someplace out of this world. La Silla Observatory run by the European Southern Observatory seemed to be the best place to start.

ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in the Atacama Desert region of Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. ESO’s first site is at La Silla, a high desert mountain 600 kilometers north of Santiago, Chile. It is equipped with several optical telescopes with mirror diameters of up to 3.6 meters. La Silla has been an ESO stronghold since the 1960s.

And, among other things, they are looking for earth-like planets, which … Read More

Tuscan Traveler’s Tales – A Winter Earthquake in Chile

Tuscan Traveler escaped the extreme weather of Florence in November by going south of the equator to Santiago, Chile, to visit warm friends and hot weather. There we were urged by on by our good friend, Gerardo, to visit an only-in-Santiago, have-to-try-it-once, eatery for the soon-to-be-famous Terremoto Cocktail. With the proviso that this place was too dangerous to visit at night, we ventured forth.

Supposedly the Terremoto Cocktail only dates back to March 1985, when some German reporters came to Santiago to cover the damage caused by the recent earthquake. Due to the heat (probably in the mid-70s) they went … Read More