From Los Lagos in Chile
at a camp-site near the ferry, we met a Brazilian cyclist with a bamboo
framed recumbent bicycle he had made himself. It was made with bamboo
about 3 inches diameter and pegged, glued and lashed together. There
were many jubilee clips to strengthen it where the bamboo was
splitting, but it all appeared to work well, although we were very
doubtful about its ability to withstand some of the roads we had been
on. He said he was heading for the Carettera Austral!
ferry crossing of 1 hour 30mins was across a lake 1500ft deep and
surrounded by snowy mountains. After the second 30min trip we were at
the Argentine border before our 15 mile overland cycle to the Chilean
border post. After 2 miles of very steep up on rough roads including
some pushing, the road finally descended 2000ft through dense forest to
the last ferry and the Chilean border post.
As usual, we filled
in forms at the border declaring that we had no fruit or vegetables
etc. But, this time we were searched and found to have one tomato, two
avocados and half an onion. The customs official was not too happy and
gave David a good talking to while he made him complete more forms
declaring the illegal imports. He then let us eat the produce before
continuing on our way. We could have been heavily fined.
last ferry trip, the most scenic of nearly 2 hours, took us to the base
of the classically shaped Osorno volcano, where after a 10 mile ride we
camped on the shores of an enormous lake at Ensenada. We managed to
find a cash machine in a small supermarket and withdrew some Chilean
money which enabled us to plan a less busy route around the lake to
One of the hazards of using foreign maps, apart
from the many inaccuracies, is that very few have contour lines, or
show the elevation except at mountain tops. This means that we have no
idea if a road is to go up or down. Sometimes, we make intelligent
guesses. For instance, a road that runs next to a river or lake is
usually flat and one that crosses a river usually goes down to the
bridge then up again. We very often get it very wrong.
that runs alongside the lake or river on the map can be halfway up a
steep ravine or cliff side and can descent to the water and rise again
very steeply. Sometimes we find that a small town marked on our side of
the river is actually on the other side and completely inaccessible.
Don´t ever complain about Ordnance Survey maps again.
Osorno, Puillaco and Valdivia via 30 miles of the route 5, the main
road going the whole length of Chile. This road looks in parts just
like a motorway with a wide hard shoulder to cycle on and is not busy
With a strong wind at our backs the cycling was easy. On
all roads, we find that motorists are generally courteous to cyclists
and nearly all give us a warning toot before overtaking on smaller
Weeks ago in Argentina, someone had said to us that
Niebla a small seaside town near Valdivia was a wonderful place to
visit and it was very quiet and the loveliest place they had been to.
You must go there.
The road from Valdivia to Niebla was
spectacularly scenic as it followed a large river to the coastal
estuary town of Niebla. It turned out to be quiet as it seemed to be a
venue for afternoon coach trips from nearby cities. We can describe it
as a small rather tacky seaside resort with a small packed beach and
the usual tourist stalls, cafés and amusement arcade. We had cycled
across Chile for this and it will not get any recommendations from us.
we were prepared to be disappointed as we now find that it has to be
really special to impress us. Maybe we have travelled too much. Still,
it is the travelling in between that we get most of our enjoyment from.
Next. To the lake district and back to Argentina.