Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 15 - Esquel - Chaiten (Chile)

Distance travelled (by bike): 1878 miles

Wow - got cold last night, very cold, had to get up and put all the bike gear back on to stay warm

Having spoken to people on the road and online a tough decision was made not to head south to Ushuaia. This was based on a number of factors, the ferries in Punta Arenas and Ushuaia have not been running due to lack of fuel and riots, the border to Punta Arenas have been closed due to riots about the increase in tax. In Argentina fuel strikes have just finished, but as we found out there are still loads of places without fuel. 

With limited time and wanting to have the time to expore and the above variables it was decided to head west to Chaiten, Chile and get a ferry from there to wherever they ran. The road to the border crossing was gravel, zig zagging though the Andes. 

The 'Welsh' town of Travelin in Argentina!!

the mountain pass

The border crossing was easy, an hour of queuing and on our way in Chile. The roads were all gravel, winding further through the andes to the coast. The scenery was truly stunning. If anyone wants to do an adventure holiday Futaleafu is the place to do it, more rafting companies in this small town than in most of Chile. 

The border crossing

Along the gravel road we met a couple from yorkshire in their late 50's who had taken early retirement and were overloading on a bus through South America. They said that they were the oldest people in the group by 30 years, but thats what kept them feeling young!

Arriving at Chaiten was an experience, The town had been hit buy a volcanic eruption 2 years ago, most of the houses were deserted, sand and rubble still littering the streets. The town only had power between 9pm and 2am! Having found one of the only hostels still in business we parked the bike, and went in search of food. This ended up been steak and fries cooked in a families kitchen, was really good! - having no power and exhausted were both in bed by 8.30pm!


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