Nov 3, 2012

Distance today = 51.14 km; Total distance = 13,980.14 km; Location = Quillota – 32 52.097′ S, 71 14.458′ W; Start time = 0935, Finish time = 1727


We flew in to Santiago yesterday, with the Andes resplendent on the left side of the plane. We had a perfect view of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas. The light was so different when we disembarked – more like the Greek Islands in summer. It felt like arriving for an exotic holiday.

We picked up the new car and bought new SIM cards for the phones, then headed down to Valparaiso on the coast. The problem was, it was a four day weekend, and every hotel seemed to be booked out. We finally found something on Booking.com and snapped it up, only to find when we got there that the hotel was fully booked. Apparently, Booking.com had sent 48 different bookings there, despite it being full. Our only choice was to take a room that became available at 10 pm that night. Although we were very tired from the overnight flight, it was better than staying on the street.

Valparaiso is certainly worth a visit. There are murals everywhere. Make sure you go up the hill from the harbour. That’s where the best art is, and there’s also a great view of the city and the Pacific.

This morning I began my South American leg. I ran along the harbour foreshore, before heading inland and through the hills. On the way I passed the Sheraton Hotel, where I heard that Korean pop sensation, Psy, was due to appear to sign autographs. There were teenagers everywhere, all behind barriers.

The road kill has changed from deer and raccoons to dogs. Although I only saw three dead dogs, it was more than I’ve ever seen before in one day. The drivers are definitely faster than in the US, although I didn’t see any manoeuvers that were too outrageous.

I suspect I will have a very hilly couple of weeks ahead. Today was not flat, and it will only get more so. I actually felt quite tired, probably due to the travel, and my legs ended up a little sore, even after just two days off. I’ll need to get back into form for the Andes ahead.

We had trouble again with finding a hotel. Luckily, we eventually got a room, but the internet is a problem. As I write, I’m not sure if I’ll get this published today. As I mentioned before, there will probably be days when I can’t publish the blog, so don’t panic if that happens. It doesn’t mean I’ve met with an untimely end.