I spent a lot of time here in the Capital. After 8 months on the road it was nice to settle down. Before long I had bought a motorbike, learnt my way round the city and made some good friends.
The bike I bought had a few issues and needed some work to to get it ready for my trip. The first garage tried to charge me £300 for some of the work.
But in typical good travelling vibes; it didn’t take long for this problem to solve it’s self. Less than an hour later I see a modified version of my bike riding down the street, the owner clocks me checking out his ride and stops for a chat. My new friend Luis Lynch loves motorbikes and is more than happy to help out. So the next morning I pop round with my bike and meet his mechanic friend who works on my bike for the next few weeks. Costing around £100.
I head out with a friend to the mountains village of Farellones a few hours east of the City. But it doesn’t go oh so well. On the outskirts of Santiago’s surrounding suburbs we break down. I change the fuse and it blows again. Have to take a bus back. The next day my new friend Luis tows me using his motorbike. 2 bikes and 1.5 meters of rope. Certainly not the cleverest of ideas, as one wrong turn and we´re pull each other off our bikes. It’s a 20km ride back to the city, and a hair raising experience. Luis is far too confident and even filters through traffic with me in tow! My bikes handle bars are a lot wider and I knock a wing-mirror clean off some tourists rental car. Opps!
Bike’s electrical problems are fixed and I head out back out a few days later.
With the bike behaving it self I set off to explore the centre of Chile. First stops the coast. Valparaiso has cultural city status.. however on first impressions it’s hard to tell. Looks like a dump, full of crazy drunk hobos with crime statistics to match. Next day I take a tour and discover the charms hidden beneath the grimey chaos.
On the plane over from New Zealand to Chile I meet a local student, end up staying with Andres and his family for 3 nights. His family treat me like an old friend, and Andres introduces me to the local drink, Piscola. Great experience.
Cute little surf town with crazy 15 meter waves.. though I was there to ride dirt tracks across the countryside. That and eat lots of tasty seafood! Had an epic 5 hours session riding east of Pichilemu, sliding around on gravel and dirt. Riding through forests. I stumbled upon an old 1930’s water mill still being used to by an elderly couple to grind flour.
Santa Cruz Wine
A famous wine region, infamously started by a former arms dealer. Wanted on international arrest warrant for selling weapons to Saddam Hussain, he decided to stay and invest in the wine industry. Met an interesting artist named Juan, who has incredibly cycled through 120 countries.
Fire on board
Driving back to Santiago, notice a strange smell. Pull over, to see the luggage bag closest the exhaust has melted and is smouldering. Thankfully realised this might of happened so deliberately packed unimportant stuff… sorry flip flops! Time to get a proper rack made. Shop quotes me £150. See my Chilean friend Luis who knows a welder and get it made for £20. Happy days.
Chile.. is definitely a place where the people make it special. They are extremely friendly towards tourists, and seemingly go out of their way to help. Always taking time to communicate with my Span-glish. I’m regularly invited for dinner at peoples homes. Travelling through Chile has been a lot of fun, tempted to come back and find a job.