The apartment was so luxurious and the company so great. We took a guided tour by Sam (the Belgium traveller staying in the apartment too) around the city and up to the look out point at San Pablo’s house. It is impossible to avoid the hills in Valparaiso and as you go up and down along small passages and along main roads you see a contrast of sturdy houses made of brick and houses that look like they could crumble into the valley. The wooden staircases up to the houses were crazy, and there were a few times we imagined what it would be like arriving home with a boot full of groceries. New years eve was a great party, and we spent the wee hours of the morning dancing with the locals in the street to a live band. Not a bad way to welcome in 2014.
We spent Nick’s birthday enjoying the luxuries of the apartment and making sure everything that needed to be charged was charged.
|amazing street art|
We arrived around 9:30am Monday morning impressed at our early rise and departure! The bikes were in for their service and we had a day to kill in Santiago, so we headed back to Lira to look for a powerpoint to attach to the motorbike as well as exchange money into US Dollars for Argentina – as suggested by a number of travellers.
We received the paperwork and vamoosed quickly out of the city and headed north towards Las Andes. Ruta 5 is the main freeway north and pretty busy, it definitely takes some getting used to the change from the KLR650 to the XR125. We average around 80kmph, which is what we were travelling through Africa, however the lack of acceleration is a little daunting on the free way with the amount of traffic and large cargo trucks.
We arrived in Los Andes in the eveningand started to look for accommodation for the night. The first place we found at a reasonable rate where you could even pay by the hour, was rather interesting with red and green lights out side each room and some suspicious activities going on… we were not too sure about this so decided to look around a little more. We eventually found a little hotel in town called Hotel Manuel Rodriguez for 20 000 pesos (R400) for the and rested up for the night.
|peanutbutter and bread staple lunch!|
After stocking up in Los Vilos we went on the search for a camp spot and landed up at Chigualoco at a camp ground which we later found out had only opened that day and we were there second guests for the season and managed to get the price down from 10 000 pesos to 5000 pesos for the night. The camp site was situated only 5 meters from the beach and the sunset that evening was just amazing even the pictures don’t do it juctice !
We left Samo Alto and ended up on a dirt track through the mountains, absolutely amazing ride with so much to look at , all the different rock shapes and colours and not to mention the fields of cacti. We arrived in Vicuna and it felt a lot more touristy being the gateway for the Elqui valley were they make the local pisco which is the equivalent to our brandy. We had a local lunch called Pastel de choclo chilian corn pie. We then headed to La Serena the coastal holiday city which was very busy and crowded so we diceded to head up the coast a bit. We pulled off route 5 towards the beach and inbetween rocks we found some locals and asked if we could camp there for the night they said it was no problema !! so we watch yet another amazing sunset that evening and the local herder try and gather all his goats for the evening.
Continuing along the salt road we passed many shade cloth shelters which seem to be established for families to come down and camp in. Many cars passed us with mattresses on their roofs and at a few shelters we saw tents as wells as mattresses laid out. Bahia Inglesa, our first stop of the day, is another holiday town which apparently has the warmest coastal waters in Chile. We had a coffee and enjoyed watching the pelicans dive bomb into the water while the seagulls chase after them trying to steal their catch.
|tucked away behind the rocls for the night|
|one of the more extravagant road side reflections and tributes to the saints|
After a great night’s sleep we woke up to a misty morning feeling nice and relaxed and couldn’t resist the fact that there was no urgency to move on so we decided to stay another day (ahhh the joys of no time constraints).
|before the tide came in!!|
|look no hands or kick stand!!|
|tough life !!|
El Salvador reminded us of Secunda, developed purely because of the mining industry in the area. Not much to see in this town though as it consisted mostly of housing with maybe one or two hotels. We booked into a Residencia and enjoyed the luxuries of a TV, wifi and hot shower.
|ready for the dakar !!|