Mar. 25 - April 1, 2012, Day 167 - 174, CHILE


View Larger Map

DAY 167-168, Mar. 25-26, 2012, Valparaiso, Temp 18-26-12C (420/24,060km)

Sure I had made it to Argentina which was my goal, but I still had to see Chile and continue to Buenos Aires where I would deal with the bike and helpfully learn a lot more Spanish.  I had a couple must sees in Chile before going back to Argentina, Valparaiso and Santiago and then a couple stops which I found along my path, Concepcion and Pucon.

The great news today, I was going to be crossing the Andes to get to Valparaiso on the coast of Chile and the bad news, I was going to be crossing from Argentina in to Chile through the busiest border between the two countries who already don't hold very much love for each other.

What an amazing cross "Paso de Los Libertadores" C6R6/7T2V8/9 simply put - passing through the Andes!    Truly the only crap part of the day was waiting in line at the border which should really be faster considering it is the most used, but I get the feeling neither country wants people go to the enemy.  There is just one building where you do it all so it should be easy and will be next time I'm sure now that I know what I'm doing.  Station 1 - Migration Argentina, 2 - Migration Chile, 3 - Aduana Argentina, 4 - Aduana Chile, but there may have been multiple stations and 2 sides of them for each direction.  Like I said it's easy enough, but it felt more like crossing a Central American border do to the lack of helpful info I had.  Sign of a confusing border crossing = my Aduana for Chile had 5 separate stamps on it which normally would be 1 or 2.

Nice Side Note: Met 4 New Zealanders who had rented bikes in Chile and were finishing up their trip telling me how much better it would have been to bring their own and how cool my trip was.  Of course with less spanish they were more confused than me at the border, but if you stand around looking lost enough eventually some one sends you in the right direction.
Starting flat

Nice road














Passing Lake Embaise Potrenillos.

The last bits of
Lake Embaise Potrenillos 


Double line man!  Hey wait which
side am I taking this photo from?

Good tunnels through the pass

Seeing the light

Getting very close to the Chilean border.





Ski area














Sweet tunnel riding and out the other side


All the stations you need or don't
need to pass through at the border

Chile!

5 stamps from 5 different people
 tells me the system is not
operating that effectively.





















In to Chile and 150km to Valparaiso.  Border to Los Andes was great C7/8R7T3V8 coming down from the pass = curves and views.  Welcome to Europe or the closest thing to it in Latin America.  Hints of Switzerland were definitely crossing my eyes and the road signs also had a European flavour.  Los Andes to Valparaiso C3R8T2V7 urgh, loss of curves and mostly tolls to finish the day.  TOLLS for motorbikes ($1 / 25km).

Incredible curves

So good I posted 2 photos!

Runaway lane ahead



Similar design to Argentina

Between the Andes and coast some flat farm sections

Very European road system

?

Peaje (toll booths) where they nail bikes too.  25km = $1

River valley to the coast








Valparaiso.  A hillside coastal town that I expected more out of, but that could have been my fault especially considering I never made my way over to the more expensive neighbouring town Vina del Mar.  Still all and all Valparaiso has a good central area and some good restaurants, but don't expect it to have the late starts like Argentina.  At this point I definitely got the impression Chile was the more conservative of the two countries.  Very friendly people though.

Nice Side Note 2: Another reunion with the famous Conor Maloney that I had continued to run into through South America.  Always a pleasant situation and a good chap to have a chat and 2 or 3 bottles of wine with.

RECOMMEND: Villa Kunterbunt if you don't mind dogs peeing on your tires constantly.  Note this place is not great for location, but very biker friendly and quite comfortable once you settle in, oh and only takes bikers.

Talent at the lights

By the water, but not a place for
swimming



Views from Conor's room at the top of the hostel

Villa Kunterbunt


























Brake replacement at Kunterbunt with Conor Maloney

Right pad has nothing left

Front brake with Conor and Junior

Junior




Baker working away making empanadas which are twice as
big in Chile and cost twice as much, fair trade I guess.

Room at Kunterbunt for $30USD,
Chile is not cheap!

Conor and I shown where this nice restaurant was
by a very lovely police woman

The Irish Assassin and his wine































DAY 169-171, Mar. 27-29, 2012, Santiago, Temp 24C (110/24,170km)


An easy short ride to Santiago going from 14C to 24C, C4R8T2/3V7/8 dry and hot with a couple road tolls $1/50km.  Entering the city I was pleasantly surprised cruising to my Hostel Ventana Sur in minimal traffic just before rush hour in a city of 4.5 million that felt like 1/2 million.  Nice Hostel.  A great spot with a little swimming pool and tonnes of friendly people.  Santiago definitely felt like a good place to hang your hat for a while.  Friends, Maria de LA and Fran, that I made in Colombia who live in Santiago took me to "Parque Metropolitano de Santiago" for some excellent views where you can see that the city is 4.5 million.

While in Santiago I found out an American was looking for a motorbike so I tried to contact him and decided to stay an extra night in hopes of meeting up.  Unfortunately Lollapalooza was in town so accommodation was tough to find and this meant I had to move on to another hostel.  Why not try another part of town.  I found a lovely hostel Newen Kara in a posh part of town with an excellent restaurant near by, Liguria, where I had the best steak of the trip (so far).  Santiago is definitely a city you could live in on first impressions.

RECOMMEND: Ventana Sur, Newen Kara, Liguria for a steak.

Going to Santiago which is at the foot of the Andes
Nice toll roads




Sweet BMW Moto Cop.  A sign Chile has more money.



Nice warm weather to ride around town in and bike parking
on the side walk, love it.



What a nice little room

Pool and dutchie

Couple of drinks after dinner






















































On top of Parque Metropolitano de Santiago


Japanese Gardens

My tour guides taking photos of the
soon to be tallest building in South
America.

Parque Metropolitano de Santiago from a great look out over half of the city 

Maria de Los Angeles, best name!



A cable car just like the one I worked at in NZ years ago




Walking up to the top

Statue of Mary watching all Santiago


Great wall

Tasty burger at a Colombian joint

Night out at Alto Barcelona

Mario and Rafael my Brazilian guides



Central Train Station

A lost Bad Ass!



DAY 172-173, Mar. 30-31, 2012, Concepcion, Temp 30-24C (500/24,670km)

After a nice 3 days in Santiago I was back on the bike in the direction of Pucon (south) where I would flip back over to Argentina.  As Pucon was a fair distance away I decided to pick a spot in between depending on how far I got.  Why not Concepcion the earthquake centre of Chile!

Midday in a bit of traffic getting out of town and then mostly straight toll roads for the majority of the day until I made the turn towards Concepcion.  Santiago to Chillan on Ruta 5 runs between small mountain ranges and is quite straight C1/2R8T4/5V7.  Chillan to Concepcion was good sweeping curves through the mountains layered with a recently devastated forest of burnt trees C6R8T3V9.

Straight and smooth.

Some wine country.  Great thing on
a bike is the smells of vineyards.

Cool temporary bridge

Maintain a 2 arrow distance

Must be close to forests

The aftermath of a burnt forest.  Rumour has it that a tourist (I won't name countries, but it's not a well liked country and I'm not talking about the USA) who was supposed to pack their toilet paper out with them set it on fire instead.  Very bad when a tourist causes damage, very bad.

Incredible colour difference
between life and death


Arriving early evening in Concepcion you would never know this place had felt a 7.2 earthquake 2 days ago with the centre only 60km away.  Staying at the slightly pricey Hotel Don Matias which I worked down from $60 to $40/night I did a little blog work and then headed out for dinner and a beer.  I made my way to Plaza Independencia and Bar Choripan where I enjoyed a fantastic cover band! and met some cool girls.  It's not the place that makes the trip, but the people you meet.

The girls were so happy to meet me that I convinced them to put me up for the next night, great.  Since I was staying an extra day it gave me the chance to change my oil (well have my oil changed by the Zappettini crew, see photos).  Thanks guys!  After the great service I settled in at Rossio and Mari place for the night for a nice dinner and a good rest.  Thanks girls!

RECOMMEND: Meeting friendly Chilean girls and going to Zappettini's moto parts shop!


Entering Concepcion I got the feeling they may be religious

Earthquake proof design

A healthy university bar scene

YUM!

This singer was just fantastic.  Remember this is shot with a little waterproof camera so the speaker is not doing him justice!  "Hold the Line" by Toto

Lead singer is the same every
weekend with different bands


Encore because I need to show his range!  "Is This Love" by Whitesnake

Not drunk, I just got smoke in my eye



Some guys were trying to get the girls I met so they let
them know with a platter.  It was tasty.  Nice to
be a girl in Latin America.

Me and the Amazing Singer

Walking the girls home, ciao.
Rossio, Belen, Mari
Bad assing around town for one more day

Ivan and Dad dropping the oil out
of Bumble in front of Ivan's moto
parts shop.  Only paid for the oil.

Ivan's custom made chopper

Christian, one of the guys I met at
the shop took me for a quick tour
Conception Bridge - Puente Llacolen
Returning on Juan Pablo II



Crazy or safe, ride or not, haha?


Landlord, Mari and Rossio

Good night Baby Jesus


DAY 174, April 1, 2012, Pucon, Temp 22C (380/25,050km)

The last leg in Chile was a stop in Pucon on the way back in to Argentina which is part of the Lakes District and surrounded by mountains and forest.  Just lovely.  Concepcion to Los Angeles (Ruta156/182) had some construction stops and a lot of wind in sections C5/6-3R7T3/2V8/7.  Los Angeles (Ruta 5) to Ruta 199 was boring and the toll bastards got me just before the turn C1/2R8T2V6.  The last section 199 to Pucon was good C4/5R7T3V8 riding beside lakes and towards Volcano Villarrica.
Secure parking at the girls place.  Thanks again.

Just out of Concepcion



Lots of construction stops for 10 minutes at a time




Good curves after Santa Juana

Welcoming figures at Santa Juana


In the fields



Walking your horse with your car
  
What a train bridge



Once in Pucon, I met up with fellow partner in crime Conor Moloney again at the Hostel La Bicyclette which  smelled a little like a log cabin.  Pucon looks to be a ski area in the winter and a hiking paradise in the summer.  We had a good meal and an early night with not much going on.  This was also the day we got the sad news of Kevin's death which took us out of ourselves and into our minds.

Pucon is a nice spot and more time could definitely be spent there, but Argentina was too close for me to stay more than a day.

Volcano Villarrica in the distance as you enter Pucon

Villarrica Lake next to Pucon

Mountain tourist town

Fresh fish and German beer, yum


Next, back to Argentina and the gorgeous Bariloche...

Other Stuff


Only Latin country that doesn't have gas attendants,
but it's prepay instead.  No honour system.

Forget washing the bike.  Most
car washes won't touch bikes!















Costa Crackers!  A good giggle from this video.

All the big super markets in Chile
 are lined up like this

Sign reads "Zero deaths last month".  Horrah!
















1 comment:

Tyler said...

Loving the blog man! Keep it coming... what an awesome adventure you had!