Santiago, Chile, day 728
Biking total: 88 days, 4118 km, 22’700 altimeters.
Climbing total: 240 days, 3151 km, 118’400 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13’669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)
In 9 days we biked from Valdivia to Santiago ad met wonderful German -, Swiss – and Chilean people on the way, who offered us food and shelter: Carolina and Hernard, Kirsten and Hani,Engelmann, Garcia, Guinez.
The landscape with vulcans, lakes, lovely tows and rivers was just beautiful.
On the base of the vulcan Villarica we took a 2 days rest at the Kirsten’s; after 12 years cruising they settled down on this paradise of land and live from farming and rent a guest-house to tourists (phone 0056 9 443 11 99).
We have had sunny spring weather the first days. But then the weather changed to wind, cold and rain because of El Nino. That makes biking difficult on the unpaved roads.
In Victoria we were invited by Louis Meynet, president of the local Swiss Club, and his family. There we presented the Swiss Alpine Song to the big Swiss community.
Biking further to Santiago the urbanisation starts. Bivouacking in our tent was getting more and more dangerous! So we slept in a cheap 24h-hotel (4000 pesos = US 6.-): We covered the bed with our sleeping bags to prefent to end up with an illness! There was no lock on the door, so we blocked the entrance with our CANYON bikes. BUT we could not sleep even we biked a long distance that day: – the noise of the shaking next doors and the sound of music every hour to remember the other couples that the hour has gone was a torture and far worse then the storm between Easter Island and Valdivia.
But TOPtoTOP lives from contrary experiences!: Arrived in Santiago the other day our friend, the German Ambassador Joachim Schmillen, invited us to use his residence as our base camp. He is very kind and will help us to contact media, potential sponsors, and schools. A big help to organize school visits was also the meeting with the cultural coordinator Carlos Diaz Villaroel.
Yesterday we have had a warm welcome from the Swiss Ambassador Charles-Edouard Held and Swiss Consul Jean-Didier Javet.