Chile Archive

Lauca, Isluga, y Coipasa

During my time in Putre I got to know a group of engineers from all the way down south near Concepción. They were in town for a couple of weeks doing solar panel installations to power a new network of cellular antennae up on the altiplano. We drank beer and played pool. Making their acquaintance proved to be most fortuitous as it is a long, 20km+ climb from Putre back up to the altiplano at …

Putre etc

A small grid of quiet, dusty streets in the precordillera of northern Chile, the Aymara village of Putre sits about 75km west of, and at 3500m is 1.2 vertical kilometres below the remote Bolivia/Chile border post at Chungara. The population is somewhere around 1500 but to walk the streets is to wonder that more than about 10 people live here. Being somewhat warmer and lower than the high altiplano, and with some decent (i.e. edible …

Patagonia

I’ve been  thinking about Patagonia an awful lot recently, and not just because it’s a damp, grey January… There is a little place inside my heart that has Patagonia in it.. I can feel a tug there every time I think about the place. In 2016 I feel as if I must deal with some unfinished riding business in Central Asia .. so I think that’s what I’ll do this year by way of a …

Tierra del Fuego…

I think he wanted to play at Captain but instead was being forced to deal with The General Public.. oiks like me for example ;-) Unlike the captain himself the chap managing the boarding and taking tickets for the ferry to Porvenir was a grumpy old duffer… or maybe he just hated cyclists. Either way when we had questions or asked where to put bikes we were ignored with nothing more than a brief but …

once more unto the pampa…

The Furious Fifties were howling appropriately as I lay in bed feeling the building rock with each mammoth gust and thinking “oh it could be a bit rough on the road today”. It took quite an effort to wrench myself away from Puerto Natales that morning, I’d found very much a home away from home there with days filled with easy conversation, reading and the drinking of much coffee, tea and beer.. not necessarily in …

Penne al’Arrabbiata al’Torres del Paine…

“well you’ll still need a tray.” “No, I will not need a tray. I do not need a tray to kill you. I can kill you without a tray, with the power of the Force – which is strong within me – even though I could kill you with a tray if I so wished. For I would hack at your neck with the thin bit until the blood flowed across the canteen floor…” “No, …

square wheels…

I have concrete, possibly square, wheels on my bike… or this is how it seems. The last two days my efforts to leave town have taken me as far as the breakfast table where I invariably settle down with a few good coffees, some wonderful home-made bread, pull my map out, do a little arithmetic and think “ah, I can stay here another day, still make a loop of Torres del Paine and still get …

primary colours

The sun came out this evening. There is a little house with a red roof across the street from my window, I have been looking at it for the last couple of days… just enjoying the geometry of the roof and the overhead wires around it.   There is also a little green house… With the clear air down here the light here is fantastic in the late evenings. Despite midsummer being a month ago …

Puerto Natales…

Fireplaces. This was the metaphor that sprang instantly to mind when I thought of how to compare Puerto Natales with El Calafate. No idea why but it works for me. Apologies to any readers who have a cheap and shiny.. either fake brass or marble, fireplace, perhaps from Argos or B&Q if you’re English… that is El Calafate, a bit brash and tacky and possibly with a little porcelain dog on top. Puerto Natales however …

to El Chalten…

I lost my lucky hat….  I lost it in the gale of wind crossing Lago O’Higgins on the boat. But it’s OK, being well prepared as always I have a back-up hat, a woolly one from home in Cornwall. Given its origins I may well find it to be attractive to birdshit instead :-) I was happy to stay in Villa O’Higgins as long as necessary, it was a great place and with access to …

Jedi cat & the end of the Carretera Austral

Surely cows need to sleep too? It was a question I asked myself many times while camped on a farm one night out from Cochrane. Throughout the night, like a foghorn going off and with the same mechanical regularity. Every 5 seconds or so a great bellow that not even my earplugs could attenuate. Still, it was not all bad.. a night in a beautiful spot on the banks of a river, oven-fresh bread courtesy …

Los Exploradores and other places..

Somewhat stupidly I never really expected Patagonia to do heat.. proper, intense, stuffy heat that causes your eyes to fill with sweat on the climbs and leaves the taste of flinty dust in your mouth as you ride. But it does and it does it well. The last 7 days have seen a spell of almost unbroken sunshine and increasing heat day by day. The last couple of evenings I’ve watched from my tent with …

Costa Rica…. (or not ;-)

I lay in my tent listening to the rain pattering on the fly and huge gusts of wind tearing through the forest like cannon balls… each one followed moments later by a violent shudder in my tent as it flexed heavily in the wind. I watched my breath mist in the cold air above my sleeping bag and thought “Why am I not in Costa Rica..?” It was the day before Christmas… I did not …

Feliz Navidad and all that..

I shall wish you all Happy Christmas now in case, as seems likely, I don’t get another chance.. I hope you have a terrific time. I shall be on the road I have decided, it seems highly likely I will be able to link up with my German friends.. but if not it does not matter, I shall be surrounded by mountains and glaciers and all that kind of stuff.. so I shall be happy, …

Christmas gear list for the Carretera Austral… or how many pairs of underpants..

I looked up some climate statistics for this area… average annual rainfall for Coyhaique is 2800mm, it is thought of as a drier area… with a mean temperature of between 7 & 9 degs C.  Just to the west of here on the coast the rainfall goes up to something like 5000mm… So all you folk back in Cornwall complaining about the weather… be quiet :-) Having said that.. as I write it is midsummers …