Surely, we talked already a lot about the wind. But recently, it became really windy. 80km/h and more seem to be common around here.
It’s christmas, become a child again
Immediately after we left the best hostel on our journey, we had to cycle in strong wind and rain. After 70km we were lucky and got picked up by a couple and their transport van. For the next 159km, our luggage, our bike and we spent time in the dark bk of the truck. We were not to sad, the landscape was merely dry pampa. Although, the lift gave us the opportunity to spent the holidays not in the middle of nowhere, nor in Puerto Natales, but inside of the natuonalpark Torres del Paine. Through medium steep and steep hills with incredible views and beautiful camping spots we cycled during the holiday season.
Great view from free camp site
Cycling in Torres del Peine
Leaving the park, we had a good tail wind. It pushed us with 35 km/h on a dirt road, without pedalling. The joy, however, quickly turned in difficulties when the road turned. With the wind from the side, cycling was impossible, Martha had even difficulties to hold her bike. Avoiding the road and walking in the rain drainage was ok. Shortly into the walk, a big truck stopped. The driver explained that we were crazy, and put us and our things in the truck.
We camped the following night next to a gas station. After checking themwind forevast, we decided to have ar rest day. Head wind with 80km/h for a distance of 160km without water seemed very tough. After the rest day, we started very early at 3am. As there is less wind in the morning, we could cycle until 9am. During the day, we have been hiding in the tent, and made a few more kilometers in the evening.
Our lunch break
Getting up early became an often practiced routine. Although I am not a big fan of getting up early, it is clearly better than a strong head wind. And there were a few veey nice sunrises to be admired.
Starting early, we arrived at about 10am in El Calafate. After 80km we had a big brealfast and a nap, and washed clothes. The next day, we hitched a ride to the main attraction, the glaciar Perito Moreno.
Glaciar Perito Moreno
The glaciar is one of the few that do not loose size. On the way towards it, a cab driver picked us up. He explained that his trip was payed anyway by people he had to pick up at the glacier.
The glacier is very impressive. It is 80km long, 70m high and calves big icebergs regularly. These fall into the lake with loud thunder. In the beginning of the year, the glacier got so big that it blocked off one arm of the lake. In this arm, the waterlevel rose for about 11m, until it created a tunnel through the glacier in march. The day after we visited, the tunnel apparently collapsed. The same event happens every few years.
Tunnel loosing ceiling
On New Years Eve, we celebrated together with an English couple. We met them a few weeks before in the nice hostel in Punta Arena. As they also spend a lot of time there, we drank some beer together. On New Years Eve we made an Argentinian Asado (Barbecue), replacing meat by many different vegetables. After dinner, we drank Feuerzangenbowle, before we went into town to watch fireworks.
On the next day, we continued cycling. Due to the evening before, we only managed to start around 2pm. Nevertheless, we cycled about 100km and reached “The Pink House” in the evening. The hoyse is an abandoned Hotel, well known with cyclists. Nearly all who pass by use it as sleeping spot. This night we have been 9 cyclists sleeping there, and all the walls were full with tags of others.
The Pink House
Very refreshed, we continued the next morning, but we did not maje it far. After turning westwards, the wind again hit us hard. We continued a bit very slowly, and hoped to escape it by having an extended lunch break. This did not help either, hence we atopped for the night after 50 km.
We avoided more wind by getting up at 3am one more time. Therenwas nearly no wind, and we could see the sunrise turning the El Chalten peaks red. We reached a campsite at 10am and had a beer to celebrate the days work and the end of eastern Patagonia. From know on, we hope for less wind.