©2019 by Jelle.

Arrival in Patagonia

14/1/2020

I ended my previous blog at the Chilean city of Los Angles, where my father and I have rested for a day. The week before we arrived in this city, we’d been cycling with Pim and Nienke, a Dutch couple that I’d met earlier. Nienke had calculated that we will have to cycle about 60 kilometers per day if we would like to reach Ushuaia on time with two rest days per week.

 

This has been our daily target ever since, and we manage to break it over and over again so we should have won some time. Leaving from Los Angeles, we cycled for six consecutive days, meaning that Christmas was just another day on the bike for us. Something completely different than the traditional family gathering.

 

We will remember Christmas of 2019 as the day when we officially entered Patagonia as well, as we arrived in a touristic area with lakes that is part of Northern-Patagonia. The Patagonian landscape welcomed us with snow-capped vulcanos on the background of lush-green farm fields. This beauty also means that the last phase of cycling through America has started.

 

 

 

In the six days of cycling, we cycled to Argentina and passed multiple volcanoes. The most impressive one was the vulcano on the border between the two countries. The quiet road to the border of Argentina passed through a National park and was one of the most beautiful ones we’ve cycled on. A couple of kilometers before the border, we were the only one to camp out on a beautiful picknick place with wooden benches and a fire pit. This place had a stunning view on the volcano and made this really unforgettable.

 

 

 

Crossing into Argentina was fairly easy. Exit stamp here, entry stamp there and that was that. We were being welcomed in Argentina by a shitty and unpaved road, but this only lasted for a short distance so we had no reason to complain. This border crossing also meant that my father had completed his first Andes pass, so we had to celebrate that with a cold beer, of course!

 

 

We did just that in the town of Junín de los Andes, where we arrived on the 6th day of cycling and where we took a rest day. This was the 28th of December so we had to make up our minds about what to do on NYE. We decided to try to go to Bariloche, a big city at the end of a beautiful route that we wanted to cycle anyway.

 

This route is called ‘the road of the 7 lakes’, and passes through many (more than 7!) lakes in a very green and beautiful region. We have been extremely lucky here with the weather, as we’ve only had sunny days and clear blue skies. The beauty of the region is much better visible in that kind of weather, so we were pretty happy with this! We did make it to Bariloche on the 31st of December, with multiple camp spots along the road.

 

 

 

Our arrival and stay in Bariloche became a bit of a deception. I had booked the cheapest airBnB place in town, and its cheapness had a reason, to put it mildly. We were staying in an old house in a little industrial arrea. The dusty and empty room did not even look like the room I had seen on the advertisement when I booked the accommodation. We weren’t even being received by someone. The owner used a ‘find your own way and don’t bother me’ policy. I wasn’t expecting much luxury, but the least you can expect is a clean room with beds that have pillows, right??

 

Apperently, everything in Bariloche closes on the 31st very early in the afternoon, even the bigger supermarkets. We had a hard time to find some food and champagne to celebrate the end of a decade and the beginning of a new one. Eventually, we found a local shop that was still open for a couple of hours.

 

We thought that we had found the best place in town to be at for fireworks. Bariloche is right next to a huge lake, and we were on a beach that has a nice view on the city from the side. I was imagening a huge firework show above the city center, but this turned out to be a bit of a deception, too. There was absulotely nothing, I later heard that firework is prohibited in Bariloche to prevent forest fires.. So there we were, full of expectations about the firework show on the beach of our industrial area…. We were accompanied by street dogs that were fighting each other and broke the glasses that we had brought from the hostel. The ambiance was not the best, but we had fun anyway! A phone call home and champagne in coffee cups will do!

 

We’re wishing everyone a happy new year and the best wishes for the coming year. The only thing I want to say is that I think that time is our most valuable asset and that you should try to make 2020 count!

 

 

Our next goal was to get to the Carretera Austral in Chile. This is the only road connecting this rural part of Southern-Chile with the rest of the country. The length is about 1250 kilometers, the last 500 will be unpaved and even more rural. This will be tough and beautiful.

 

The Carretera Austral may be tough, the road to get there wasn’t very easy either. We’ve been cycling for 7 consecutive days to reach the village where we could enter the Carretera Austral, of which the last two on the pouring rain. We made it, though! Here are some pictures of our way towards the famous Carretera Austral, my next blog will be about that road.

 

The journey towards the Carretera Austral was beautiful already

 

 

The landscape was changing slowly...

 

 

We passed the ranch where Butch Cassidy has lived...

 

And we passed Trevelin, a community with roots from Wales

 

We took a cup of coffee every now and then...

 

Drove through a National Park where I met a man from the United States, travelling with his family, that gave me a cool shirt of the Boston Marathon

 

Reached Chile again...

 

And we have had some shitty days with pooring rain, we met two Swiss persons here, traveling with their 3 year-old daughter

 

Luckily, we were invited by a Dutch couple that is traveling in a van. They recognized our flag and stopped on the side of the road to make us a warm cup of coffee, which we thankfully took!

 

Soaking wet but happy anyway! We made it!

 

 

 

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