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… more »

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… more »

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… more »

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… more »

the camp stove sessions…

I must have picked up some bad karma along the way I think, possibly something to do with my comments about the tourists here in El Calafate.. hehe, I was expecting some stronger words but the worst I’ve been accused of so far is being a “a little wry..” ;-)… more »

the Pampa…

“ach, the fuc*ing wind…!” is a phrase I have heard often over the last few weeks.. it is usually the second, if not the first thing cyclists I meet coming from the south say to me. Regardless of their native language they at least have this much English. Statistically it… more »

a salad of meat and beer…

It is strange how not being able to do something increases ones desire to do that very thing… in this case cycling, the motivation is back after a couple of days hiking and a couple of days chilling… but there is little point in rushing south from here. I have… more »

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… more »

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… more »

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… more »

Chaiten y la Carretera Austral

< a couple of caveats before I get on with the narrative.. it’s quite a long one so I hope you’re sitting comfortably.. and one or two of the photos might not appeal to the squeamish or those of a vegetarian disposition… > Post-apocalyptic Chaiten, 2 1/2 years ago a… more »

Quellon

I’ll post this little bit now as once I leave Chiloe on the boat tonight I suspect it will be a while before I see wifi or internet again… While wandering around Quellon yesterday evening I wondered if I would feel the same about the place if my host in… more »

somewhat damp in Castro & Chonchi

Just 87km down the road from Ancud, Castro had a noticeably different character.. lacking Ancuds outgoing charm I suppose it is no more than you would expect from a renovated administrative capital. The palafitos on the waterfront are pretty but beyond that the weathered old wood and corrugated buildings have… more »

Arturo Prat…

Arturo Prat, possibly known as Archie or Arty to his friends, was a Chilean Navy Officer who become a national hero after his death at the Battle of Iquique in 1879. I only mention him because most Chilean towns, at least down here, have a street or a plaza named… more »

Ancud etc…

If I was asked to summarise Ancud in one photograph I might use this one… or possibly this one might be more useful.. But I don’t so instead I can just throw a few at you :-) Ancud has a terrific vibe to it, aside from the colour all the… more »

Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas, I have a room in a rambling old hospedaje.. a veritable rabbit warren of dark wooden corridors and alcoves illuminated by little rectangular skylights. There are redundant bakelite fittings on the walls from an earlier electrical age and I can enjoy such curious innovations as the light switch… more »

No hay agua caliente…

In Osorno, for a few quid, I stayed in a gloriously delapidated pension where the old blankets lay an inch thick on the beds, lino was peeling off the bathroom walls and the friendly but slightly eccentric landlady in her pale blue dressing gown kept the ignition for the hot… more »

Los Lagos log house…

One of my favourite things about travel by bike, other than the freedom, is that one is never fully in control of ones destiny, unexpected things happen that invariably add to the richness of the journey, even if it is a dog running away with your shoe… On Friday morning… more »

Lican Ray & other odd place names..

Lican Ray felt like a place that was holding its breath.. in late November the new seasons tourists have not yet arrived and the previous season is just a distant memory amongst the footprints in the black sand beach. Just 30km south from Villarrica this was my way of testing… more »

Monday. Sunshine

Monday, sunshine.. the faded, melancholic town of yesterday springs to life with a colour and vibrancy that could not have been guessed at a day earlier. Wish I could say the same of me, about as much vibrancy as a bread roll dropped in a puddle… still not strong enough… more »

Beerography..?

Villarricas faded Sunday evening streets, out on the hunt for food I note that Funerales Corona is open, always good to know that one can pop one’s clogs on a sunday evening without having to worry about one’s corpse kicking around until 9am on Monday. Finding something to eat on… more »

Villarrica…

Despite my words of a couple of days ago I do have reason to remember Santiago… not because I have come down with a dose of bronchitis, no doubt contracted courtesy of Iberia recycled cabin air but rather because of the fantastic hospitality shown me by my hosts yesterday as… more »

Santiago de Chile…

Some cities have a character that I pick up on instantly, other cities have a character that takes a day or two to become apparent… and some just fail to make an impression. Mendoza was in that latter category and so it seems is Santiago. That is not to say… more »

not exactly rocket science…

over the last couple of weeks riding with Pete I’ve been subject to something of a standing joke… I’m an (or maybe that should be ‘was’.. don’t know yet) aerospace engineer by profession… near as dammit a rocket scientist I reckon, hehe… it all came about because of that Mitchell… more »

Chinchero, fake Soles etc

…a breakfast of oats & quinoa with a mug of coffee in the plaza at Ollantaytambo sorted me out well for the climb back up out of the Sacred Valley… 20km gentle climb back up-river by way of a warm-up to the scruffy little cross-roads town of Urabamba and then… more »

los últimos días: Puno a Cuzco

… in the words of Jim Morrison… This is the end Beautiful friend This is the end My only friend, the end Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end….. …ahh but I’m getting ahead of myself,  last time I wrote I was still in Puno,… more »

floating on a bed of reeds…

Well I stayed in Puno an extra day, due in part to a chance chat with a local chap last night who knew someone who ran a tour boat out to the Uros Islands.. so this morning I was down on the dock at about 7.45am watching various tour groups… more »

a rock in the face… Juli to Puno

… my plan to make the most of an extra hour in bed in Juli with the change to Peru-time failed miserably.. the sun was streaming in my window at 5.30am. I felt pretty rubbish despite the sunshine.. overnight eczema around my eyes swelled them right up almost to the… more »

via Titicaca… La Paz to Peru

right then, this morning I arrived in Puno, it was 90km from where I spent the night last night in Juli, not that far but I’m exhausted so what follows is my day by day for the last few days as far as Juli… hope you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll catch… more »

on the road again

… I did get back on my bike on Wednesday for the beautiful  ride up to Lake Titicaca.. the shores of which I am sat on now in Copacabana some 150km from La Paz… the connection here is really quite shite so I am going to make you wait until… more »