Our tales of Patagonia so far would probably have you thinking that the whole region is awash with luscious scenery. We were starting to believe it too, after six weeks on Chile’s Carretera Austral, with its snowcapped mountains, glaciers, fjords, forests, rivers, lakes - have we missed anything? But after we left sleepy Villa O’Higgins we were in for a series of shocks.
While the Carretera Austral provided so many visual delights from the road, even bicycles were too fast at times. So when we got a message from our cycling friend Jochen begging “pleeeeeease, hike the shit outta that place!”, we had no problem obliging. Here's a run down of all our non-wheeled misadventures.
I was reminded of the age-old saying in this part of the world: “Quien se apura en Patagonia pierde su tiempo” (“Those who hurry in Patagonia waste their time”). It would be about taking the rough with the smooth, trying to look on the bright side of life when the weather was foul and savouring the beautiful long summer days when they came our way.
Uspallata - Santiago Cycling through a continent as vast as South America tends to yield slow and gradual changes. However, our four-day ride up and over the Andes from Uspallata to Santiago, the capital of Chile, upset the rule book. I loved how quiet Ruta 40 was. You could count the number of passing cars on … Continue reading “IT’S NOT ABOUT 30 PESOS, IT’S ABOUT THE LAST 30 YEARS”: Cycling Paso Los Libertadores into a protesting Santiago
Before writing up this blog post, I looked back on my diary to remind myself of all the little details of that time. “My god”, I turned to Chillo, “I was a grumpy cow”. If you were to draw a graph of our collective mood swings that week, there would be lots of zig zags, jumping up as dramatically as they plummet down. However, after reminding myself of all the little challenges and victories along the way, I’d say the overall trajectory would most definitely be an upwards one.
While not particularly eventful, this stretch of cycling was for us one of the most impactful. This wasn't because of anything momentous, but for the little, day-to-day occurrences. So we thought instead for this blog post that we'd dish it up straight from the source material itself: our diaries. Enjoy...
Despite the head winds, cycling through Argentina immediately felt easier than Bolivia. For starters, the standard of driving is much better and you can drink the tap water. You also know that every town you pass through has a campsite or hotel with hot water, a well-stocked tienda, a panadería with actual fresh bread and pastries, and an heladería with numerous flavours of ice cream to choose from.
Our last couple of weeks in Bolivia - ghost towns, canyons and dodgy wine
How we got to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, and how we crossed it. All by bike.
That classic traveller's tale of stumbling across a special moment with "the locals" My stomach was rumbling and all I could think about was pedalling as hard as I could to the next town, in the hope there would be a “comedor” selling some form of chicken and rice. I’m not a good cyclist on … Continue reading Donde estamos?
If you’ve been following our progress, or at least trying to, I imagine we’ve painted a slightly disjointed picture of our trip since we arrived in South America a month ago, which is sort of how it’s felt. But now we’re on the road and looking back on our first few weeks in Peru, we … Continue reading Finding our feet in Peru
Week 5: Toulouse to Barcelona Halfway up the Col du Perthus, a gentle mountain pass in the Pyrenees, Milla and I pulled over for a drinks break. What should have been a few quick sips of water soon became a half hour debrief as we realised we were about to leave France and weren't ready … Continue reading Bienvenido a España….más vale tarde que nunca!
Week 4: Poiters to Toulouse The week following Poitiers felt like it went by in a strange sort of blur, to the extent that when new people we met asked us about the route we’d travelled, Chillo and I would struggle to say where we’d been and when. This is especially odd when we spend … Continue reading The kindness of strangers