Sunday, February 1, 2009

The way to chocolate heaven.

While at the hospital having those little hammers clunked on her knee, Gemma was told she would need 5 days rest. What the doctor forgot to mention was when those five days started.

So in strict mean fashion, Ian ordered Gemma out of her hospital bed and straight back onto the bike.

It sounds mean, almost cruel, but all for good reason. Just a few days away we could be back in Argentina and in a town called Bariloche. This town is famous in South America for being a bit of a party capital (not quite Rio though) but more so because of the main street on which every other shop is a chocolate shop. Chocolate makes Gemma´s very happy.

To get there we had our favourite day riding from Puerto Varas to Ensenada. The 50km road was pretty flat, paved, had a great view of Volcan Osorno and had little cake shops every few kms. They were very yummy. All of them.

At Ensenada we had our first relax sunbathing on a beach. No swimming though, the lake was baltic with freezing water from the volcanoes glaciers. Even Eric and Fat-rat got themselves out for some toasting.

We then pedalled through more road works, some lava fields and lots of rubble to get to Petrohue which was just a port. From here we put the bikes through yet another ferry - hill - ferry mountain crossing. This one called Cruce de Lagos is ultra touristy and normally only for people on organised tours with big shiny buses and huge amounts of cash to pay for the buses. Doing it on a bike is much cheaper but not very easy.

It was on during the hill crossing we made our first big error with border formalities. It was bound to happen somewhere and Chile seemed likely as they don´t signpost many things, or anything. From Peulla, we had cycled nearly 20km of the 26km border when we stopped at a guard-post to check in with the Carabineros. We had thought this was where we would get the exit stamps but much to the amusement of the guys in the cabin, the stamps were done back in Peulla. It seemed the guards did not take pity on us and so we had to cycle most of the way back before hitching a lift for a few kms.

Gemma doing the Timotei advert, they must have started doing hand creams.

Volcan Tronador - Thunder mountain.
The next morning we set off again with stamps in the passports. We guessed that nothing was signposted here because it seemed the crossing is completely designed for the bus tours on which everything is arranged for you.

Another volcano.

The last 6kms of the road is the mountain pass (Paso de Vicent Perez Rosales) and was unpaved gravel with lots of very steep parts. Just these 6kms took nearly 3 hours alone. It was very hard work and the relief of seeing the top is clear to see in Gemmas face.

Woohoo - downhill next!!!

Once at the bottom of the other side we had to take two more ferries and cycle another 25kms to get to Bariloche. It didn´t take long for the tent to go up and for Gem to hunt down the Chocolate shops of Bariloche.

As soon as Ian finds her again, he will get some pictures of happy Gemma and put them on here. Obviously there´s no need to tell you all that we are both well, we have endless chocolate on tap.
Oh and Gemmas knee has mysteriously healed very quickly... helped by the drugs given at the hospital and the chocolate!

1 comment:

Globalmum said...

Fab photos! I'm delighted to hear the chocolate medicine is working on Gem's knee - mysterious or what?
All my love (plus a bit more) to you both, Mum (2)