I was intending to pick the bike up last Monday – 17th – but it transpired that everyone was taking the day off because the 18th – Tuesday – was Independence Day, and because they would all be Piscoed, they would be taking Wednesday 19th off as well.
The extra time in Santiago wasn’t entirely wasted. I had managed on the Saturday to find this motorcycle shop: mototecknik chile in Las Condes. They turned out to be the Touratech agent for Chile, and they were able to sell me a puncture repair outfit and a pump which would run off the battery or BMW power outlet.
Still I had 3 additional days to kill and apart from having the odd Pisco myself I walked around a lot and also walked up San Cristobal, a hill above the Bellavista area just across the river from the hotel. It was a nice walk but I thought I’d take the last section on the Teleferico – gondola to you and me. At the ticket office the girl who manned it was showing off a stick insect which she picked off a neighbouring tree – first time I’d ever seen one in the flesh, not that it had much flesh on it:
Then it was onto the top where being a Catholic country you had the obligatory statue:
and lots of people selling religious type baubles. But the view was good:
and you could see why Santiago has a problem with smog – it sits in a bowl surrounded by hills.
I took the funicular down:
Having killed the 3 days it was time to pick the bike up. I had questioned the address the freight forwarder had given me as it was not at the airport but seemingly in a suburb about 4 miles away which the guy on reception told me was a “rough area’ – well I’m used to Kidderminster so RAF areas don’t scare me.
Nonetheless, I thought I’d organise a car which proved a wise move. The driver immediately questioned the address but I said that’s what I’ve been given so let’s go there. He was right. We ended up in what can nicely be described as a shanty town but which the mean minded might call a slum. A few phone calls to the UK freight agent produced no joy so I took the driver’s suggestion and we headed for the airport. After one wrong turn we eventually ended up at the right place – slap bang in the middle of the airport. The driver was at my disposal for 3 hours and it was money – about £60 – well spent since my Spanish doesn’t go far.
This being Chile you have to be patient but eventually around 1.00pm the crate containing the bike was brought out and put in their car park. Could they please lend me a screwdriver? No was the reply – well F**k you you miserable C**t was my thought. Anyway a chap in the next door warehouse lent us both a screwdriver and a crowbar and a short while later the bike was out of the crate. I had to refit the wing mirrors and windscreen but this didn’t take long and at around 2.00pm I was ready to roll.
I had booked a hotel in Valparaiso about 60 miles away and it was an easy ride there. I rode up to the headland and took a few shots of the bay:
and then I went to find the hotel. This wasn’t that straightforward as the streets are steep – I reckon someone from San Francisco would feel at home here – and there’s a one way system in place – which I ignored on occasion. I found the hotel – the Boutique Hotel Nomada – which was vey nice. You get a good view of the port from the roof terrace:
and the señora on reception suggested the restaurant La Concepcion – just down the road – for dinner, which as excellent.
Being a firm believer in the restorative powers of beer I tried a local pale ale which was really good:
Don’t believe the label when it says “American Pale Ale” – the British invented Pale Ale – and this was too good to have had an American near it. I expect that if Trump reads this post he’ll claim he was responsible for it!
I finished the evening off with another local craft beer:
which was also really good. You can fault Chilean bureaucracy but they have got the beer thing nailed!
So today after breakfast I’m heading North!