Friday, 23 March 2012

Lima-Peru to Valparaiso-Chile.

Joe and I have gone different directions. I had to get back down to Valparaiso in Chile (3000km) to ship my bike home and Joe is heading north up to Ecuador,Colombia,Panama and onto the United States and maybe Canada.
Photo of Nazca lines from a tower about 20 minutes north of Nazca township.

I was slow getting started but managed to get away late in the morning. I'd only gone a few kms when I was pulled over again by the Police for riding in the bus lane. The Police women must have felt sorry for me and again I managed to avoid getting a ticket and I got directions onto the Pan Americana Highway south  only 200 metres further along, then hopefully from here on I shouldn't have too many problems for the rest of the ride. I had no map. Keep the coast on your right, how could you go wrong ?.I ran into the owner of a hostel at the viewing tower north of Nazca and went straight to his hostel.Too easy.

The terrain was dry all along the coast.

I had a long day getting myself to Arequipa ,the temperatures in the desert were mild and it was pleasant riding .Till I started to climb up to 2200 metres when it started to get cold. Unfortunately I arrived when it was getting late in the day and traffic was building up. I had done some homework on the Internet the night before riding into Arequipa & had drawn myself a rough map, however, my map was too rough. Once again I stopped and got directions from the local Police.
Leaving Arequipa

Arequipa is a tourist destination in Peru and has some nice volcanoes covered in snow..No time to look around. Onto Arica a mining city right by the beach, this was going to be a shorter day distance wise but I had a border crossing which I was expecting to take me two hours.I managed the border crossing with out too many hassles. Again I spoke to some Police when I got into Arica central city and one of them spoke pretty good English and put me onto a cheap hostel .. Busy city. No gringos around.

 Tacna 30 km north of Chilean border. Another dry city.

I had contacted Juan and Louisa a lovely Chilean couple I met in Change at the motorcycle rally in November to see if I could stay with them. So after eight busy days I was looking forward to having a day off at their home in Iquique.

I phoned Juan when I arrived in the city and he rode from his home and met me on his BMW. Lousia had prepared a beautiful meal for lunch. Later that evening more of their family arrived for tea. We had a barbecue   tea. Fantastic people and I hope they come to New Zealand some day so I can host them. Whilst there I experienced an earthquake. I started heading for the door. Much to the amusement of the ladies in the family who experience tremors all the time. I think my stay in Christchurch after the 22nd February has made me a nervous.
Juan, Luaisa and Valley.

The next day I had a guided tour of Iquique with Valley. Iquique is another mining city built up against a hill with nice beaches.A nice place to stop for a few days.
Iquique - east view to desert & west to the sea
A replica of a Chilean ship that was sunk off Iquique in war of the Pacific between Chile and Peru in 1880 something.
It was sad to leave but I headed off to Antofagasta travelling right beside the sea for much of the distance.

Leaving Antofagasta next morning for Copiapo. Another long day 580km. We had stayed in Copiapo two months before so it was back to the the same place to stay -  much easier this time. Next day it was two hours of cool damn fog until 11 in the morning when the sun came out.

Back to La Sarena to Torino motos who had given me the wrong oil filter and front sprocket and managed to catch them before they closed , then back to the same hostel. The hostel is owned by Hugh an employee at the motorcycle shop. The hostel this time was much quieter. The backpacker season having cooled off. This time as I headed south out of La Sarena I had the cool mist till 1pm when before I could take some clothing off as I rode to Valparaiso .
Chilean national MX champs race just north Valparaiso

The next day I caught up with the shipping agent in Valparaiso and organised for the shipping of my bike back to New Zealand. Getting everything organised to travel was much easier this time because I had the bike to get around and I knew my way around Valparaiso.

Tear gas on the street of Valparaiso. Police chasing student demonstrators. From window of hostel.

The last two days I spent updating blog and wandering around the streets of Valparaiso.
Market in streets of Valparaiso.

Now I'm back in New Zealand, & have been back at work for 5 days, I have a mountain of E-mails to catch up on and will start dreaming of my next adventure....I will always remember the hospitality & friendliness of the South Americans. Thinking back, some of the worst days of the trip especially the long days on dirt roads were the most memorable & challenging. Fellow motorcyclists that we met along the way were great company & we shared invaluable information on routes, hostels & places to eat. To everybody that made this trip so enjoyable, a big thank you.

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