Friday, March 4, 2011

Cerro Castillo

Spending Time at the Bus Station
When we got down, we found Justin who was waiting for Matt in the bus station for a long time. Justin gave us two Wheel Smith spokes, so that Amit could finally fix his wheel. We sat with him and ate lunch, until Matt finally got there. A French cyclists couple arrived, and we spent a long time chatting with them. They are almost as cheap as us, so exchanged information about wild campsites and about other ways to save money in Chile and Amit tried very hard to convince them to visit Israel some day.


Late Dinner
We followed the advice of the tourist information and went to the camping site run by Jorge (2,500 CH$), which is located at the beginning of the hiking trails. The camping was full of Israelis, and we spent a while talking to them, and doing laundry, to take advantage of the nice weather. Only in the evening we went into town to buy some groceries. There are several mini-markets there that were all very expensive. We cooked Gnocchi with tomato and lentils sauce, pumpkin soup and a prune cake, and shared it with Itay, Sharon and Lilach (from Israel).


We finished cooking at around 1 AM, and around that time, a huge camper van with a family of 14 people arrived to the camping.


They set up a tent right behind the van, and the van rolled down, ruined the tent (with nobody inside) and tore an electricity cable. After fixing the mess they caused, they started cooking Carpacio from a huge salmon fish, and various types of meat. We offered them our cake, and they generously let us taste everything they made.


We woke up early the following day, thanks to the huge family, that planned to start hiking at 8 AM. Therefore we had time to make pancakes in a huge frying pan with length of 1 meter. After breakfast we hiked with Itay, Ilay and Tal (from Israel) to the lagoon (1,200m) situated at the mountain top Cerro Castillo.


It took us 6 hours to get there and it was freezing cold there, so we decided to lunch at the campsite, 200m bellow. There we met 2 old Israelis hiking with their Dutch friend for 3 days. Itay made Tahini salad from the paste his parents brought from Israel when they came to visit him.


He has been traveling in South America for the past 8 months, and he was delighted to have his family visiting and bringing about 20 kg of Israeli food. We as well missed Tahini a lot, so this was a nice surprise for us. Getting down from the mountain was much faster due to the bad weather, and we got back to the camping in only 4 hours. After putting all our stuff to dry we started cooking dinner, the remaining Gnocchi and Frijoles (bean paste), and we enjoyed also a piece of Lasagna that Sharon and Lilac made. It was getting dark, and the huge family has not yet come back so the father of the family, who stayed behind with the small kids and grandmother, was getting worried.


He went with Tal to search them, and they found out that flashes of light coming from the mountain could be seen from town. Jorge guessed well it was them flashing with their camera, and went looking for them in the dark as he knows the mountain better than anyone else in town. At midnight they all got back safely to the camping, and started again with their night routine "fiesta". This time they were too tired to offer us from their sausage Paella that looked very tasty.

Leaving Cerro Castillo
In the morning, Amit fixed his broken spoke, together with an American cyclist who showed him some handful tricks. For example, how to change a spoke without taking off the tire (just leaving the old nut) and how to dissemble the gear cassette. Amit also taught him some tricks, such as making rubber bands from punctured tubes and opening a bottle only half way so it would leak slowly, for washing the hands.


We ended up leaving in late afternoon, after eating lunch with Itay and the American, and after finding out that Amit´s back carrier was a bit broken.

All the photos above were not taken by us and are just for illustration purposes.


                     Shoham & Amit

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