Monday, 28 February 2011

A place to hang my hat

Officially this is the last day of summer here and at some point the clocks change and we’re yet to find out when this date is.  Not that it really matters as we all wake up when we please.  We have noticed in that the sun is setting earlier than when we first arrived.

Our lease runs out in ten days and we have been scouring the internet, reading the local newspaper and walking the streets in search of little posters in windows.  This is perhaps the best way to find an apartment as you can get a feel for an area while you’re walking and if you don’t like the area then keep on walking.  We've found the easiest way to take down numbers is to photograph the flyer and because there is such little rain here posters last for ages.

We often use Ascensor Reina Victoria when we’re bringing shopping back up the hill and we pass a yellow house and the other day was a hand written sign for an apartment to rent.  The definition of apartment can be sketchy but we rang the owner and went through today.  It has high ceilings, perhaps 12 feet high.  The house was built in 1901 and has survived all subsequent earthquakes.

The owner (dueño) is a German chap, Max, who was very generous when we said we’d have to find beds for the girls.  He asked us if we wanted a trundle or bunk beds for the girls.  The price was very reasonable but we had one more apartment to look at.  It turned out to be $100.000 dearer and with a kitchen so small you couldn’t even cook a cat... or is it swing?  I always get those two mixed up.   That's probably why Talluah never lets me cook.

I rushed back to the first apartment, where Max said we have to buy a contract and I pay the bond.  Buy a contract?  I thought I was about to buy a pig in a poke but we walked down to the local newsagent, which was brimming with mum’s getting their kids ready for the start of school.  For the equivalent of twenty cents Max bought a notebook of standard lease agreements.  We then filled it out and in a mix of Spanish, English and the odd German word, Max talked me through the contract.

We’re moving in on the weekend.  It all looks legit and thankfully this apartment comes with an iron so Talluah can put away the GHDs.


  1. Congrats on finding a place! We're still in La Serena and apartment hunting from afar. Here's a Valpo question, do you think it's possible to ride a bike there? My husband has his road bike with him and wants to do some cycling. To me it seems impossible, but he thinks he can do it.

  2. I have seen quite a few people, locals and foreigners riding. I don't think I would like the cerros too much but streets like Avenida Alemania are flat and easy to ride. I think it would be a beautiful ride to follow the coast road. So I think if he wants to ride he'll find a way around the hills and the stairs. Any luck on the apartment front?
    Hasta Luego

  3. Thanks for the cycling tips. Can you bring bikes on the elevators?

    We're still searching online from La Serena.

  4. Hey Sheryl,
    Do you mean the Ascensors? If you do, then I'm pretty sure they wouldn't fit through the turnstile gates.
    I have seen bikes in peoples apartments and others carrying them down stairs etc I haven't been on any elevators here. I also think that they probably wouldn't except them on the trolly buses or the public transport. It would appear the locals use mostly public transport and walking. I have seen a few people going for pleasure rides but that's obviously not overly popular either. I think that If he's keen he'll find some nice rides.
    Let us know if we can help on the apartment hunt..