Lomographer David Quesada a.k.a. david_darjeeling recently took a backpacking trip and trekked all over the best of Chile's geography – a getaway from the city hustle-and-bustle and into nature's wonders, where it's just you, a couple of trusted friends, and the scenery. From sea coasts, deserts, valley tops to the mountain ranges, Chile's breathtaking landscapes were captured in their full glory through David's film photographs.
I was living between Belarus and Ukraine for almost half a year until winter started. As a Mediterranean, I cannot tolerate that cold! I used to imagine myself on a Caribbean beach with a cocktail in hand and some Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses that I never had. I saved some money, found two cheap flights, and said, “Hell, I'm going to South America.” Finally, it was Chile.
Travelling Chile was an Odyssey – both tedious and stunning. The restrictions were very tough in the South, so I decided to go North first. After finishing the mandatory quarantine in Santiago, I took the backpack with a tent that my friends gave me and I was hitchhiking to San Pedro de Atacama. Many of the tourist attractions were closed and the town was a ghost, but still, I enjoyed stunning scenarios such as "Valle de Luna" (Moon Valley), Pukará de Quitor's fortress, and others. I traveled the region of Atacama and his "World's Arid Desert" to the Altiplanic mountains at 4200 meters high. That was full of wild animals who are usually quite scared of people but lost that fear during the month of quarantine. Then I went down to the coast to Antofagasta.
From there I took Route 5, visiting and trekking in some towns such as Tal Tal, Pan de Azúcar natural park, La Serena and Valparaíso. In the last I spent 1-month living, between sea and mountains, experimenting with films and taking a break. Then I decided to go South and crossed through incredible places like Villarrica, Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Cochamó, and Puerto Montt. From there, I chose to travel the famous “Carretera Austral” that crosses the region from Los Lagos to Aysén. Every landscape photographer should travel that route at least once in his life. When I finished it, I barely had 5 days left on my visa and I had to fly back to Santiago.
The wild berries were delicious. In Chile they are big and sweet; every day we ate them on the way! As for dishes, the Humitas became my best. It a paste made with corn pulp, onion, garlic, and basil wrapped in the same corn husks. Delicious and eco-sustainable! About drinks, you need to try "Cola de Mono" (Monkey Tail), a cocktail they usually prepare for Christmas which is made with condensed milk, sugar, schnapps, coffee, and cinnamon. The grandma of my friend Karla made the best one. Life in Chile is always cheerful and friendly. But 2020-2021 was a hard period as the country dealt with the revolution and later with the pandemic. The restrictions limited the people's political voices and the typical street life that you expect from Latin America. Despite that, economically it was not as hard as in other parts of the continent.
Take a backpack, a tent, and a sleeping bag. Chile is a country with adventure and its people are trustworthy and hospitable. You will always feel surrounded by friends. The night I slept in Laguna de Aguas Calientes was unique. The clearest stars I have ever seen. Nobody in hundreds of kilometers, followed by a morning with red and yellow dunes mingled with lakes and animals claiming the roads again. Nature was reborn once more.
The pandemic has been something that has entered everyone's house and has moved the furniture with no permission, haha. Professionally, it has forced me to take new perspectives and adapt my work to other areas. So far I have worked in fine art and fashion, and thanks to the pandemic I've felt the need to slow down, explore the documentary category and taste the analogue process again.
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