Our first pedal strokes after the return, Chile

Km 6419
It’s already been 10 days since we got back on our bikes. The time and the landscapes are passing by at an incredible speed. Leaving Santiago, we crossed the Cordillera Central to find again the Pacific Ocean, good fried fish and camping spots on the beach. At first, we feel a bit lost and have forgotten how cold it can be at night, even when in the middle of the day the thermometer reads over 30°C. But the gestures come back quickly: our hands remember how to put up the tent, we resume the division of tasks from last year and before going to bed, we prepare our silk inner sleeping bags in case we get cold at night. After 2 days, it’s like a year ago, as if we had never interrupted our journey.
We enjoy the 2 days at the coast, it is like a liberation. We were really fed up with the winter in Europe and even more with the traffic, the crowds and the quarantine in Santiago. Finally, we can just pedal and enjoy the present moment.

After the Valparaíso region, there is only the highway running along the sea, so we decided to venture further inland. Here we discover a new facet of the country, mountainous and dry. It’s harder to find camping spots, as the fields are all fenced up to the road. Sometimes we have to settle on a flat space under a bridge (yes we know, it sounds creepy, but inside our tent, it feels like home anyway 😉 ). But we also find great places in dried out rivers or lakes, lost all alone in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by cactus and under a sky with a thousand stars.

We cross mountain passes in the blazing sun, only cactus around us. Every time we find a water source (even if it’s just a small stream we can barely dip our feet in), we go into ecstasy. Even though we knew that as Europeans we are lucky to have water available in large quantities at all times and that this is not the case everywhere, we experience the difference here first hand and the value of water becomes even more important to us. The altitude meters, the heat, it is all very exhausting, but we are happy to be here and to cycle our way.

We also encountered the first health checks/blockades. Here in Chile, sanitary measures are decided for each municipality, there are regular checks from one municipality to another, depending on the level of measures. Some policemen/militaries discuss more than others, but in the end they let us all pass. At the moment we have been rather lucky, we have mostly been in municipalities with light measures, and when stricter measures have been decided (especially quarantine) we have been able to leave the relevant municipality beforehand. We hope it stays that way, especially since a little further north several communities are under quarantine. We’ll tell you how it goes next time!

To see all the pictures, click here:
Our first pedal strokes after our return

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