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Published: October 21st 2015
Hi everyone, this is Fi, finally getting round to giving Ken a well-deserved break from the blog writing! We've had a pretty adventurous 10 days or so since leaving the pleasant city of Chillan. Some of the highlights include: cycling past the stunning snow-capped volcanoes of the Malalcahuello and Conguillio national reserves; passing through the longest tunnel in South America, which doesn't permit cyclists, resulting in us having to load our bikes and gear into the cramped minivan of a very kind Chilean businessman; an adrenaline-fuelled sprint of some 50 miles along the busy Pan-American highway; and, as always, being overwhelmed by the kindness of complete strangers - one lovely lady caught up with us in the tiny town of Quilleco to gift us a large bottle of water and box of chocolates!
We've ridden almost 400 miles since leaving Chillan and have climbed over 19,000 feet, but somehow we're not actually very far from our starting point as the crow flies, and even more impossibly we're still only 700 feet above sea level! Clearly we haven't been taking the most direct route!
Anyway we're now on the edge of the beautiful Lakes district in the tourist mecca of
Lunch in a park between Chillan and Yungay
This affable gentleman shared a bench with us as we ate what would be the first of our innumerable cheese sandwich lunches!
Pucon, and have been enjoying a rest day in a lovely little cabin that we rented for a great price. Food options are a lot more diverse here than they have been since we left Chillan, so we're enjoying indulging in a more varied diet (it's pretty much been bread and cheese for lunch every day, and chicken & fries for dinner). In fact logistics have generally been a little tricky since we've been in very rural areas for much of the time. Often we'll arrive in a small town after a tough day's ride and find that all accommodation options are closed up with no sign of life. So we'll usually have to do some serious hammering on doors or start asking locals to make phone calls for us, and eventually we'll be able to find somewhere to sleep! It's definitely more of an adventure this way, that's for sure, and we've been enjoying the challenge...for the most part! Sometimes we'll find a hostel or hotel that seems perfect but they neglect to tell us about the party in the events room below that will typically start about 2 mins after we climb into bed and invariably last until
Don't tell the hotel staff!
Sometimes we save a little money by firing up the camp stove and cooking our own food in the hotel room!
the small hours of the morning...so a good night's sleep has been somewhat elusive so far in Chile!
Tomorrow we leave for the Mamuil Malal pass, where we'll cross the Andes and make our way to the Argentine town of Junin de los Andes. Then we'll finally point our bikes north and start riding towards Mendoza on the fabled Ruta 40. Chile has been a lot of fun, but we're really looking forward to reaching Argentina and especially to tucking into some juicy steaks! Thanks for following our trip and we hope you're all doing well. Bye for now...Fi and Ken. PS lots of photos below!
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