Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chapter I - The End

Now that we are back in Israel from our first trip in South America, we want to highlight general statistics from the trip, raise some linked memories and conclude Chapter I.


On the road
total cycling distance: 7,600 km
longest riding day: getting into Santiago, 130 km in 8 hrs
shortest riding day: 8 km, Cochrane
southernmost place: Ushuaia airport, -55.84° Latitude
northernmost place: Lima airport, -12.00° Latitude
highest altitude: 5,000m, pass before Villamar Bolivia
lowest altitude: 0m, the Pacific Ocean
highest temperature: +30°C, Calama
lowest temperature: -15°C, Laguna Blanca
longest rain: 40 hours, Caleta Tortel

flights: 3,400 USD
bicycles: 1,300 USD
gear: 900 USD
mechanical repair: 300 USD
local transport: 300 USD
living: 7,300 USD                        
total: 13,500 USD (6,750 each)

Mechanical parts changed
3 racks (and 3 welds)
1 crankset
2 freeweel
4 chains
1 pedals set
1 handlebar bearing
8 break pad sets
9 spokes
4 tires
8 tubes (and countless patches)

best meal we made
: Amit's birthday meal in Coyhaique:
zucchini and beetroot, beans and tomatoes soups; Focaccias with oregano and garlic; baked Falafel; fried potato croquettes; pumpkin and chive quiche; lemon sponge cake; a prune cake; pears cooked in white wine; fruit salad; sweet buns with bananas, roasted almonds, raisins, and homemade "chocolate".
best meal in restaurant: a vegan meal in Kensho (, Buenos Aires.


cheapest hostel:  2 nights in Lima - 12 Sol for the room (about 2 US$ each)
most expensive hostel:  12,000 Chilean Pesos in La Serena and in Antofagasta
Best hostel:  Pehuenia Hospedaje, El Bolson
worst hostel: a hostel in Pucara, Peru, where the bathroom was next to the pig's den.

Lost stuff
      Shoham                        Amit            
      gloves                          glasses
      T-shirt                          sandals
      rain cover                     camping towel
      sunglasses box            scarf
      headlight                      knife
      bicycle lock                  grocery bag

Places we liked
Buenos Aires
pass between Ushuaia and Tolhuin
Magallanes national reserve near Punta Arenas
Pingüinera north to Punta Arenas
highest pass on the circuit of Torres del Paine
El Chalten hiking paths
Carretera Austral:
     Villa O'higgins
     Caleta Tortel
     surrounding the General Carrera lake
     Cerro Castillo
     the road to Puyuhuapi
Laguna Escondida in Los Alerces national park
the way from El Bolson to Bariloche
7 lakes road
riding in Lanin national park towards Pucon
Chilean rIviera
Chinchillas national reserve
Cruz del Sur star observatory
getting down to La Serena
riding through the Atacama coastal road
coastal road from Paposo to El Cobre mine
San Pedro de Atacama
Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa
     Laguna Blanca
     hot springs near Laguna Salada
     Laguna Colorada
riding on the water covering Salar de Uyuni
La Raya pass and the way down from there
Salkantay trek:
     pass under Salkantay mountain
     walking on the railway from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu
     Machu Picchu mountaintop

Places we disliked
Roads near Rio Grande
San Carlos de Bariloche
central Chile

Stupid things and funny accidents
living a helmet unlocked in a hostel in Buenos Aires
entering Chile in San Sebastian with almost no food
crossing a deep freezing river
trying to turn on our wet camera
walking around Lago del Desierto instead of waiting for the fairy
a dog stole Shoham's underpants in Coyhaique
a dog copied us and picked blackberries
putting our tent in fire
cooking pasta in sea water
using thinner/diluent to light our stove
pushing our bikes in a sandy valley with no road towards San Juan
burning our shoes after shrinking them in the salt
riding on Salar de Uyuni while taking photos
drinking from the tap in La Paz and Peru
leaving behind a bag in the train
drinking a cup of sugar cane juice

Good people of South America
*   Celina Rosales, CouchSurfing host in Buenos Aires - made us feel at home for 3 days
*   Omar, owner of Panaderia La Union - bikers' host in Tulhuin
*   Marco, driver in Torres del Paine - kept our bicycles for 7 days
*   Jesus, hippie in El Chalten - kept our bicycles for 4 days
*   Mario Fernandez, llama porter in El Chalten - carried us down from the mountain
*   Ivor, hotel owner in Lago de Desierto - took us half way across the lake
*   Jorge, camping site owner in Cerro Castillo - saved a lost group
*   Jorge, Casa de Ciclistas  - cyclists' host in Villa Mañihuales
*   Raul Heladio & Sunilda - hosted us in their garden
*   Jose Luis - hosted us in his garden
*   Paul Beelen (, CouchSurfing host in Santiago - made us feel at home for 8 days
*   Eduardo, Natalia & Vicente Ramirez - picked us wet from the rain, hosted us for 2 days and took us on a guided tour in the Chilean riviera
*   Cristian Araya, CouchSurfing host in La Serena - hosted us for 5 days
*   Luis, mine guard - explained the mining infrastructure of Chile and shared his handcraft
*   Javier & Lucia, Alga hunters - shared their insights of the Chilean coastal harvesting
*   Oscar & Encalada family, CouchSurfing hosts in Calama - opened their home and their heart during 2 days they hosted us
*   Miners´ Camp - hosted us in their medical clinic
*   Victoria Salvatir - hosted us when all hostels were full due to the Fiesta
*   Osvaldo, the school teacher of Villa Esperanza - let us pass the freezing night inside his classroom
*   Hospedaje Cajas Reales in Chucuito - shared some cultural knowledge with us

Cyclists we met   (and remembered)
Amaya & Eric, USA & France (
Philipp & Isa, Swizerland (
Damian, Argentina (
Jonathan & Emma, UK (
Naoki Yamaguchi, Japan
3 Chilean students (
Matthew & Justing, UK & US
10 year old Kate, UK
Chris & Margo Mactaggart, Canada (
Alex & Fabrizzio, Swizerland (

Bert, Belgium (
Cristian and Lukas, Argentina

Katia and Ives, Canada
Héléne & Stéphane, France (
Rene, Germany
Ernest Markwood, South Africa (

Hasta la vista
When looking back we definitely recommend crossing south America by bicycles, and we can hardly wait to continue the rest of the way towards Alaska sometime soon. However, there are a few thousand kilometers that we would have skipped if time was our main concern rather than the budget. At the beginning we were on a race against the Patagonian winter, so we experienced too little of the amazing nature there in the south. Another month there could have been really nice, and then we would have had the chance to see also the rural nature outside the main roads. The Chileans in the freezing south are not that great, in contrast to the kind Argentinians, the welcoming Chileans in the warmer north or the good Bolivians of Potosí region.
Every place we visited is unique by itself and we hope the general spirit of our impression from this journey passed through the blog.

Get ready to Chapter II - stronger action, better drama and much more food!


This trip on other media:

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                       Shoham & Amit
                     South America by Bicycle