So the trip is over! We are home and (most) of our stuff is in one piece. So how did we end the trip?
We took a holiday! Yes, a holiday from our holiday. The idea of getting up and hiking or cycling everyday was getting a tad tiring so we had an idea to take it easy.
We arrived in Mendoza and went to visit some wineries (by bike). We had a great tour at two of the wineries and tasted some great Malbec! We visited Traipche (circa 1883. One of the oldest and biggest wineries in the country), Familla Zuccardi (circa 1863 still run by original family and has all the orginal wine making equipment/tanks) and Tempus Alba (circa i dont know but quite modern – they are trying to clone a pure malbec and analyse its DNA or something). Highlight was going inside an original fermentation tank made of cement and brick from the 1860s where they used to line the tank with beeswax prior to every use! We cycled home and clocked more than 60km that day. Holiday meter = not yet a holiday but getting closer!
The following day we slept in, ate cake, bread, ice cream, lazed about in a park by a lake and watched the Viedema festival pageant. The pageant was crazy! There is a performance equal to an Olympic opening ceremony and then they select a wine princess. I could not understand half of it but it was pretty hilarious. We then bused back over the border to Valpariso where we spent the last 3.5 days of our trip.
We stayed in a hostel in a little loft apartment. They had the best veggie burger! And their pisco sours were amazing too. We wandered the streets which are plastered with graffiti and murals everywhere. This place is amazing. Set on a steep hillside where houses are built almost on top of one another and they has these outdoor elevators that have been restored from around 1900 that take you up the hillside. Went on a walking tour, surveyed the local market, ate pizza, drank beer and piscos. Slept in most days ( until 8am a vast improvement from 6am most cycling /hiking days). From a travel point of view Valpariso was my favourite town we visited. However we have not really visited many towns this trip so there are not many to chose from. After 6 visits to different bike stores and much confusion we managed to board the local trolleybus with 2 bike boxes and spent most of a day packing up and cleaning all our gear. After an interesting box shuffle to get both bike boxes and 2 heavy packs to the bus stop 500m down the road we got on a bus and went to the airport.
I almost missed the days of cycling. With the exception of my quads. They were happy to be wandering the street at a leisurely pace and sitting at cafes rather than pedaling.
Trip highlights for me:
- Discovering that I prefer cycling to walking to discover places.
- Patagonia, glaciers and wild windy places of southern south america. Outstanding.
- Chipa (south american cheese balls)
- Pisco sours ( Chilean/Peruvian cocktail)
- Watching Chris’s disgusted face as I eat manjar (insanely sweet caramel)
- Learning how to ride a bike on gravel roads.
- Walking on the southern continental ice field
- Seeing Andean Condors fly over as at close range.
- Meeting some amazing people and making great friendships.
- Eating amazing home made jam
Chris’s reflection on the trip: “so long and thanks for all the fish”