Fleiz Navidad! Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël!
The road ends here. That’s right, we have travelled the whole of route 7 and now have a cross country border crossing into Argentina tomorrow. After which we will welcome the sealed Argentine roads with open arms. Hopefully the winds are in our favour.
Currently, we are cozy and warm in the communal kitchen of hostal el Mosco. We had an excellent Christmas meal last night. Shared with 24 other people from Chile, US, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and UK. Our host cooked an entire lamb in a wooden fires stove. There was salads, potoatoes, and many other sides. There was a series of terrific desserts all achieved with limited food choices in the local minimarket. Chris made dahl and I made rum balls using my grandmother’s recipe.
Since our last post we have cycled into true Patagonian weather. Cycling into driving rain and wind. I have never had such cold hands and feet! Our cycling kit now includes a merino Long sleeve top and at times a polar fleece under our rain coat.
Yet again we praise the cycling gods. No major bike troubles despite the corrugations and wet roads. It seems each person I meet has had some sort of brakedown. Rackmounts falling off the frame, broken spokes, bent derailleur, tyre walls shredded, broken panniers and more.
After Puerto tranquillo we traveled to Cochrane with Marta from Spain and Sam from Wales. A beautiful sunny day with many ups and downs following the a brilliant azure blue river to Cochrane. There Marta and I went for a day hike at Park Tamango. Beautiful river, lake and flora. The next day we farewelled Marta who was returning north and we continued south for 4 days to our next town. During this time we wild camped by rivers, sneaky camped in ferry shelter and holed up in a cyclists refugio by the side of the road. We have seen a condors up close, cycled through passes with fresh snow only 100m above us and seen some of the best scenery of the whole ride. Since arriving in Villa O’higgins 3 days ago we have baked bread, scones, crepes, lasagne and rum balls. We have turned eating into a sport.
Tomorrow we head for El Chalten the hiking and climbng centre of Argentina. To travel there we will take two ferries, hike our bikes 6km up a hill, and ride 40km. Depending on weather conditions a s ferry times this will take 1-2 days.
Hopefully we have no trouble at border control as it is in the middle of all that!
Adios Chile for a week or so until we arrive in Puerto natales.
Apologies for lack of photo uploads. The Wi-Fi here will not cope with anything more than an email.