Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 19: Meilpeuco - Las Lajas

Distance travelled (by bike): 2876 miles

Picture perfect view when stepping out from the tent, sausage sandwiches for breakfast, this is the life. Leaving Meilpeuco we headed 80km north through the Conguillio national park. The main attraction being a snow covered 3500m volcano that only had erupted 3 years before. The eruption gave the park a very distinct appearance having left left incredible metamorphic scars through the landscape. To add to this there were countless crystal clear lakes scattered throughout the park. The lakes a beautiful mix of green and blue were so clear that the ground was still visible at quite a depth. While we were there it seemed rude not to swim, hell, it was cold!!! That cold that neither of us were quite sure we were still men afterwards. Refreshed, back on the bike we carried on. Passing through the longest tunnel in south America (4.5km) - a true highlight! Rocking up to Las Lajas to find somewhere to eat and sleep.

the volcano in the distance, the ash and dust it left behind in foreground

the tracks leading through the park

one of the many crystal clear lakes

jungle of monkey puzzle trees
shane, about to brave the frozen water to impress a random woman sunbathing

Mary, protecting the tunnel

cleaning the dust off my visor


the tunnel!!

through the tunnel!!

Found a camp site, set up the tents and went hunting for food. This been Latin America, and sunday, and the time about 6.30pm nothing was open. We waited it out till 8, we were told this is when the only restaurant that served on sundays would be open. It was, serving one dish, fried chicken and fries, but it tasted good! - back at the campsite we met a Scottish lady called Pauline had cycled from the UK through Europe to Portugal. Then boarded a cargo ship to Buenos Aires she has been cycling for 2 months solo in South America so far!
The Argentinians love their music, each car in the camp site was competing to see who's stereo would go louder, this lasted till about 2am when either they decided to call it a night or the car batteries went dead.

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