Days 1 to 4 (25th – 28th Nov.)
Whilst waiting for our bike to arrive on the 29th, we’ve spent the last few days walking around the city and being tourists! We’ve found there’s a mixture of splendid old Colonial buildings, Cathedrals and plazas next to run-down, neglected buildings and blocks of dilapidated flats….potentially lots of work for Mark! There’s also a lot of graffiti art which hugely improves the appearance of the empty buildings and gives a bohemian feel to the area.
We are constantly amazed at the availability of things in all the little shops, which are everywhere. We haven’t had to go far to find plug adapters (ours were just for USA!), WD40 and rubber glue for punctures (which we weren’t allowed to take on plane), and a small warning triangle which we left behind! There appear to be certain zones where all the shops sell the same type of products. When in Barrio Brasil, every shop sold car parts and we even saw an Africa Twin exactly same make and colour as ours, outside one of the shops! A relatively big bike like this, at 750cc’s, seems to be quite a rarity, with most being around 125cc’s, many of which are of Chinese origin.
We had a massive climb up to 880m above sea level to visit the San Cristobel statue of the Virgin Mary, where we had spectacular views of the city and the Andes. We tried the local drink called ‘Mote con Huesillios’ which is made of a peach and cinnamon syrup with a whole peach and wheat (or maybe corn) grains in the bottom of the glass, which was refreshing after the climb in 30 degree heat!
We also visited the rather gruesome no. 38 Londres, the property which was used in the Pinochet era for detaining and torturing dissidents. It was actually quite a pleasant house which has been preserved in the rather dilapidated state in which it was left after the dictator was toppled from power some 30 years ago:
We pick up the bike from the cargo area of the airport tomorrow and will have to complete paperwork and put back the wing mirrors etc. which were removed before crating. Then we ride over to Valparaiso, an historic port town, which is about 60 miles away on the Pacific coast, to stay for 2 nights.