Oh God! I am still catching up!
We headed to Viña del Mar which is adjacent to Valparaiso. Our hostel was an old house in less than the best condition. After a couple of days of riding we had decided to have three nights stretching out our return to Casa Matte before our flights home for three weeks. Why do so many hostel owners have the name Cristian? It’s a mystery we will never solve I’m sure. This Cristian had a thing for dark sunglasses, weed and hangovers.
We explored Viña del Mar but just found the town busy and dirty. Although a kilo of chips and two beers for £8 seems a bargain! We walked for miles up the sea front getting some much needed exercise and got a bit of sunburn for our troubles.
A night on the town ended with Clair breaking the key in the gate and all the clients having to climb over the wall until the next day so I had something to smile about. I was up at 6 am the next morning and people returning from working nights were wondering why they had to climb over. Clair also fell through a patio chair so she was definitely the best at breaking things. I have to say the chair wasn’t her fault, all of them were a bit dodgy. the key though, lets not speak about that.
We had a chance to go out for a ride for the day to Horcon where on the map was the bridge of wishes. Horcon is a tiny town and as it happens has a very busy tourist life and fish market. Also there are loads and loads of pelicans. They smell, they smell so bad it made Clair feel sick. That’s bad, she can put up with me and that’s saying something.
The bridge of wishes is, like many, many attractions in Chile free but the approach is lined with stalls and places where people are selling stuff. The last stall was selling ribbons and when we got close up we could see why, it is festooned in tens of thousands of ribbons where people have made wishes.
On our leaving day, we packed the bikes up and moved over to Valparaiso for a look around. It has a reputation for the artwork on the walls an it really was impressive. The town is built into a steep hill and there are quite a few small cliff railways up and down the hill. Passages and steps wind their way between building and in between all this people live in their brightly painted houses with tiny gardens like oasis in the hill.
We found a great breakfast at El Desayunador which was really nice and then spent half a day wandering up and down the hill taking pictures and taking in the sights. It was a really good way to bring an end to this part of the tour. Clair was desperate to get back to see family.
Finally though it was time to return to Casa Matte, the hostel where we started our South American trip from. We had a couple of days there before returning home for three weeks.
I had spotted a nice looking bit of road on the map so I went exploring while Clair went straight on. The maps suggested it was a sandy mountain climb but it turned out to be a completely mental tarmac road with very tight, very steep hairpins, so much so that a few of the cars I saw would have a wheel off the floor as they tackled the turns. Of course I did the right thing, I went up it as fast as I could and had an absolute blast. It was a great way to finish off almost three months of riding around Chile and Argentina and the final was to ride through Santiago like a local ducking and diving through the traffic alongside loads of local bikers on my heavily loaded 650.
Life is good!