Wind on the Coast
We left Rio Grande at the afternoon, after spending all morning preparing food for the way and chatting with a German girl who plans to ride all the way to Alaska. The road from Rio Grande is quite empty, and we had about ten kilometers of a very wide road where we could ride one next to the other. Despite the good conditions of the road, we had a hard time due to the terrible wind. At some points during our ride we couldn´t stay on the road for more than a few minutes because of the strong side wind blows.
In the evening of our first day, the wind got bearable for a few hours during which we searched for a nice location to spend the night. Unfortunately, the surroundings of the road were all covered with fences, so we had to sleep quite close to the road. The main disadvantage of this location was the sharp-sighted track drivers who had to honk to notify they spotted us. The next day was as windy as the first, yet we managed to get to the boarder in San Sebastian. On the way we saw a lot of sheep, that made the monotone scenary a bit more interesting.
The Argentinian San Sebastian consists of a couple of houses, and the boarder control. We were offered the option to sleep in a heated room at the boarder, but refused because it was still early. We didn´t regret the decision, as the way from the Argentinian San Sebastian to the Chilean one was the most beautiful part of these past few days. It is a natural reserve with many different kinds of birds, foxes, lamas and of course sheep.
There is a hill that shelters the road from the wind, so the ride was pleasant, despite the fact that the asphalt was gone, with the sad sign ¨FIN DEL PAVIMENTO¨. The Chilean San Sebastian was not much bigger than the Argentinian one, but it had a good restaurant in a very expensive hostel we didn´t stay in. In the entrance to Chile, one is supposed to throw away all products that contain uncooked vegetables and fruit, or any animal product. Therefore we didn´t bring much food with us, and planned to renew our supplies after crossing the boarder. In reality, nobody checked our luggage on the entrance to Chile, and there was no supermarket in San Sebastian, so we were stuck with a very limited food supply.
After leaving San Sebastian we fought the wind for another day and a half, during which we saw many lamas and a few foxes.
When the wind became too strong for us to ride, and since we had little food left, we gave up. We decided to catch a ride to Porvenir, and after an hour we managed to do so. With the ride we passed 70 km of a very beautiful road on the coast. We got to Porvenir in good timing, we managed to eat, buy food, and ride the 5 km to the point where the ferry to Punta Arenas leaves (price: 5,100 CH$) .
On board we met again the German cyclist we met in Rio Grande, together with her Canadian companion. They had a similar experience, and where driven to Porvenir by a nice Italian couple.
2 hours on the boat, and we reached Punta Arenas. After asking for prices in a few hostels, we arrived to the cheapest one (The Blue House) which is, unsurprisingly, full of Israelis. We are not sure that it is a good thing, but we feel very much at home here at the hostel. Punta Arenas is a very nice town, but a little boring during Christmas. Things you should see here are: the cemetery, the promenade on the shore and all the big trees and art pieces on the main avenue from the ferry. We plan to see some penguins in the next few days.