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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.
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|
Sweet tunnel riding and out the other side
|All the stations you need or don't|
need to pass through at the border
|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).
|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|
|Views from Conor's room at the top of the hostel|
Brake replacement at Kunterbunt with Conor Maloney
|Right pad has nothing left|
|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
|My tour guides taking photos of the|
soon to be tallest building in South
|Maria de Los Angeles, best name!|
|A cable car just like the one I worked at in NZ years ago|
|Statue of Mary watching all Santiago|
|Tasty burger at a Colombian joint|
|Night out at Alto Barcelona|
|Mario and Rafael my Brazilian guides|
|Central Train Station|
|A lost Bad Ass!|
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|
|Incredible colour difference |
between life and death
|Entering Concepcion I got the feeling they may be religious|
|Earthquake proof design|
|A healthy university bar scene|
|Lead singer is the same every|
weekend with different bands
|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
|Returning on Juan Pablo II|
|Crazy or safe, ride or not, haha?|
|Landlord, Mari and Rossio|
|Good night Baby Jesus|
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|
|Only Latin country that doesn't have gas attendants,|
but it's prepay instead. No honour system.
Costa Crackers! A good giggle from this video.
|All the big super markets in Chile|
are lined up like this