After the Andes, it was time for another extended holiday from the bikes. We stayed with some Canadian friends, David, Karen, and Jordan Mills at “Castillo Verde”, their house southeast of Santiago in the Maipo River valley. We showed up covered in five days of road grime and bike grease and smelling like two bums. After a few very long showers and clean clothes, we almost looked like normal people – except for the horrendous tan lines, which at this point might be permanent.
After living in Castillo Verde paradise, getting back into the biking routine has come as a bit of a shock. We might have to blow our budget and stay at some 5 star hotels to ease the transition. I guess four days of delicious food, fine wine, real beds, and reading/napping on a shady patio has made us weak.
Thanks to the Mills’ art world connections, we ate dinner (twice) with two of Chile’s most famous artists, Fransisco and Angela. Francisco Gazitua
has done large scale public art projects in major cities around the world. Angela is a painter and according to a reputable source , she occasionally disappears
into the mountains and breaks wild horses, horse whisperer style.
We saw a more “rustic” Chile up in the mountains at Carlitos’s place. Drove
past a military checkpoint (the proximity to a hydroelectric plant and the argentinian border means security is tight) and arrived in a hidden valley with a few tin sheds and lots of goats. Carlitos lives at this camp during the summer with his family, their herd of goats and at least five dogs. We waited for a freshly slaughtered goat to materialize for dinner, but I guess he didn’t want to offend the gringos. Instead, we ate steak grilled on the open fire with our hands. Not a bad compromise.
It wasn’t all a holiday though.
We did some serious work like cleaning our bikes and planning the rest of our route (more on that soon). One of us spent slightly more time scrubbing every speck of dirt from the chain than the other…that person was not me. Apparently I should have also checked my bike for loose bolts.
Arrived in Pichilemu today, Chile’s surfing capital. We originally planned on only staying one night, but after a lying on the beach for a few hours, drinking wine (obviously) and looking at the giant waves breaking for miles along the beach, we might ditch our bikes for surf boards.