I was heading for San Pedro de Atacama. I had a few hours to kill before the bus left, and I didn't feel too keen to spend them in La Serena. I wanted to go to Vicuña, a village nearby, but the buses there didn't seem to follow any timetable. I decided that if one came in the next 15 minutes, I'd go. 10 minutes later, one came into the station, so I got on and headed out.
An hour later I was in Vicuña, where it was a hot, hot day. I sat in the main square for a little while, watching things happen. A small child drove by in a powerful-looking kart - it must have been a great Christmas for him.
It was heading towards midday, and the sun was beating down fiercely. I foolishly decided I fancied a walk up into the hills, bought myself an ice cream and some water, and headed out of town on a path leading to a viewpoint. It was hard work, but luckily not far.
I wandered back into town and got a bus going back to La Serena, and from there I got the night bus to San Pedro. I slept well, happy with the thought that I would wake up in the middle of the Atacama. Before I fell asleep, though, I got one last glimpse of the domes of La Silla on a distant hilltop as the bus rumbled north.