Get on your bike and head to Chile! We have just had the most relaxing and visually varied month of travel ever! The secret has been having an enduro motorbike as independent travel to get out of the cities (and stay out) and get to lovely out of the way places on any type of road.
Early on in our time in Chile we picked up a booklet of the best bed and breakfast places in off the beaten track destinations in Chile. Check out the website: wwww.backpackersbest.cl We have met some amazing people, stayed in some unique places and had some of the best seafood meals in our life. We are now spending US$50per day on accommodation up to $100per day if its really special. (A big jump up in standard from $10 per day thet we were spending when here 5 years ago.)
We have also noticed a lot more baby boomers travelling (45-60 year olds) which makes for a lot more interesting conversations than teenagers!
As we travel more, we are travelling slower, we average 100-200km per day. Our daily schedule consists of this:
9.15am: alarm goes off (have to get up in time for breakfast that normally finishes 10am!)
11.30am: hit the road after packing everything up and deciding our destination.
2-3pm: Lunchtime, we have a large lunch and little or no dinner.
3-4pm: Look for somewhere to sleep!
4.30-5.30pm: Pat has a sleep and Bin washes clothes, sews clothes or checks the place out.
5.30-7.30pm: Walk around and check everything out together.
7.30-9pm: Have a bottle of Chardonnay and watch the sun set and read in bed or watch TV and fall asleep whenever.
Pat says when he is driving its like he has an angel looking over his right hand shoulder as Bin watches his every move! Four eyes are safer than two, so at the end of the day we are both pretty tired.
Chile has been very varied ranging from volcanoes, glaciers, many gorgeous lakes, the ever present Andes slow capped mountains, the great surf beaches and the many German villages.
Our route consisted of going down Route 40 in Argentina down the lakes district (which was absolutely wonderful.) We then crossed the border to Chile at the most remote border crossing we have ever seen, in the Andes. In fact the road into Chile we thought was a farmers track to his house! We were the only ones the Customs Agent saw there for the week, let alone the day! The road got rougher and rougher and steeper as we crossed the Andes. Talk about wind and it was freezing! It was a relief to arrive in Coihaique (a very remote town in the south of Chile). Our destination was the end of The Carretera Austral Road way down in the south of Chile. It was an amazing journey on some of the worst dirt roads we have ever travelled on, but with the most spectacular scenery. (The BOUGI boys would have been as proud of Pats performance in handling the bike as Bin was!) We met more than a dozen crazy international cyclists doing the very same road- we would rather spend a year in jail than bicycle this road!!
We celebrated Christmas Day with some international long distance bicycle riders at a little fishing village near the end of the road called Caletta Tortel. It was really unique place in that all the houses were built over water and linked by a 2km timber boardwalk. We had freshly cooked Salmon which we loved which was lucky as it was the only thing on the menu!!
We then spent Christmas night in a gorgeous Lodge overlooking a lake and we were the only ones there! We kept waiting for the crowds to catch up with us, but they never did as we stayed out of the touristy places. We stayed at a few Wilderness Resorts in amazing luxury. Bin negotiated from $370 to $100US CASH!! US CASH is king in this country and opens up many great doors and private fireplaces and spabaths.... you get the picture!
Anyone entering Chile through a small border crossing make sure that you carry CASH as most ATM machines in small towns will not accept foreign cards. Chilean fuel is 1.5 times the price of Argentinian fuel. Fuel is must cheaper south of Bariloche, Argentina as it is subsidised by the Government and is US.60c/litre.
We then slowly worked our way North towards Santiago. Chile is a long thin country, a bit like New Zealand and very varied in countryside. Another highlight was the huge island called Chiloe where the pace is real slow! We stayed in some great places with views overlooking the beach and met some great people and had some great meals...a common thread throughout all of Chile. Next was the amazing lakes district of Chile. Daily, we had the choice of motorbike riding, bicycle riding, kayaking, rafting, trekking up volcanoes, walking along the beach...heaven for us, SO WE DID IT ALL!!
We are now close to Santiago and close to the end of this amazing chapter in our lives! We truly have loved every moment in Chile and would recommend motorbike riding in this country to anyone. We have been very lucky with the weather. The rainbelt in Chile seems strongest below Valdivia and it only rained on us a few days, which is rare. The Chileans and Argentinians we met were always super friendly and we never felt threatened in any way.
Next chapter, off to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 2 weeks starting 3 Feb with Nevionne and Don Crawford, Pats Mum- Colleen and sister- Kathy. Then Egypt for 2 weeks 14 Feb and then Greece 4 March with Orestis and Csilla and Oli. We will pick up our Super Tenere from Crete, Greece, give her a big service and then off to the Middle East.
So enough from us, let us know your news and we hope you are happy and enjoying each day like it may be your last!
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