Clean streets, orderly traffic and German beer in the supermarket – hard to believe we are in South America. Santiago was a little different than expected, a pleasant surprise really. We met up again with Guido and Sabine and also Yuki who had also decided to ship to Chile. We had a few days to kill before the bikes arrived and so explored the city before heading to the coast.
The town of Valparaiso was our destination, a good marketing campaign has ensured lots of visitors, but the only attraction seemed to be the ancient ascensores, funicular railways that connect the upper and lower parts of the town.
One of the ascensores dating from the early 1900’s that link the mostly residential upper town to the lower town.
There is no beach and most of the town is not particularly attractive, so, together with Yuki, we went to San Antonio, a little further along the coast, where our bikes were due to arrive. No tourists here, well apart from the crowds from Santiago, but lots of fish so we treated ourselves to a good fish lunch.
A day late, the ship arrived with our bikes. We went to the port with the agent from Broom and Sepp and Susi, a German couple who were shipping their huge green van with the same company. There we saw our bikes coming off the ship. They seemed at first sight to be ok and we were very pleased to see them.
San Antonio, with the ship in the background. Reunited with our bikes – the fun was yet to come.
On closer inspection however I saw that my pannier had a large dent and the whole thing was closer to the bike – it had been dropped at some point, heavily enough to dent the exhaust! Yuki was missing a few small things that were attached to the bike, nothing very valuable, just annoying to loose. We pointed all this out to the agent, who just shrugged his shoulders
The real fun came when we went to leave, only Arno's bike would start! The batteries on Yuki and my bike were flat. With the help of some port workers (not the agent who had done a disappearing act) we charged the batteries from Arno's bike, but still no use.
Trying to get Yuki’s bike to start.
Had to take out and clean the sparkplugs on both bikes before we could get going. Then we had to sort out the paperwork, for which we needed a form from the agent. A few calls were made by our new found friends at the port and the agent eventually returned. The paperwork was done and we were able to leave the port by late afternoon. It was easy doing it all ourselves, only cost us time. We heard later that the 3 riders that shipped to Peru had lots of problems getting their bikes and had to part with rather a lot of money.
So, the big question, would we recommend the roll-on roll-off ferry? For us, it was a good option. We didn’t have the hassle of building and transporting crates, it was cheap and it got us a good distance south. For 2 bikes it cost U$585 including all the paperwork. I don’t think we will use it to transport our bikes to Australia though. The ship takes around 3 months, plenty of time for someone to mess with the bikes!!
We spent the next day checking out the bikes. Arno finally got some welding done, my pannier was bent back into shape and we all did some re-packing.
Finally we had our bikes back and were ready to ride off and explore a new continent.
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