Being a Tourist for a While
Date: 13th November – 28th November 2012
Where: Santiago – Mendoza – Valparaiso – Santiago – Valdivia
Distance: 6322 to 6334 miles
We spent a very restful two days with Ricardo and his family in Santiago, before moving to a more central hostal…in fact very central. The Plaza de Armas hostal looks down from the 6th floor onto the very centre of Santiago (there was a lift for the bikes thank goodness).
That night Stavros left Miami and the next morning swooped over the Andes into the airport. We were waiting for him, and swiftly boarded the bus back into town. It was a memorable moment as it was the first person from life as we knew it who we’d seen since meeting Nico in Nicaragua all those months ago (although an ex-work colleague of Geoff’s saw us on the Salar…she thought of us, but didn’t stop the jeep to see if it was us, because the coincidence would be too great!). The hostal was being cleansed of bed bugs, so we dumped bags and went out for food, a favourite Stavrakakis past-time.
The remainder of our time in Santiago is summed up in the photos below, plus a lot of shopping. Geoff in particular completely refreshed his wardrobe!
From Santiago we retraced our steps back over the Paso de Los Libertadores to Mendoza. This time with a tailwind, a bus and a Stavros. We all got to see first-hand what we would cycle in an average day, and all of us were mightily impressed. It doesn’t seem that far when you’re on a bike, but in a bus it looked like miles and miles of uphill though a hot desert-like valley!
The weather in Mendoza was as hot as it was before and we spent much of the time wandering the streets under the cool shade of the trees. Trips to nearby thermal springs and vineyards combined with two parrilladas (mixed grills) and a Tango demonstration gave us all a feel for Argentinean life, and we were soon ready to return to Chile, this time to Valparaiso.
Valparaiso…the coast..the Pacific…sea level! The first time since Trujillo in Peru, over 3 months ago! We really enjoyed our stay in this town, from the working port, past all the graffiti-covered, colourful houses on its steep slopes, to the views at the top. The naval museum was fascinating particularly the one non-naval exhibit: the torpedo-cage which rescued the miners a couple of years ago. We found it impossible to not take photos, the ones below are just some of them showing life in the Port:
Our road trip returned us to Santiago after 3 days in Valparaiso and we set about preparatory tasks to start cycling again. Washing was done, Geoff’s camera was cleaned (at last!), bikes were oiled, punctures fixed and bags packed. Our bus to Valdivia left early the next morning, but it wasn’t till 11 o’clock that we got to bed. From Valdivia we will cycle South while Stavros goes wandering by bus, meeting up every few days for coffee and cake!