Friday, November 27, 2009


I've arrived in Valparaiso to be welcomed by Martina and Enzo and all the wonderful people at Villa Hostal Kunterbunt...just feeling home! Not only I can see Valparaiso and San Francisco geographical similarities but also this old house reminds me of my old carriage house where I live. The morning of Thanksgiving ( also my 59th birthday)I went to visit the Pablo Neruda's house in Isla Negra (some 60 miles south). That was his favorite house and where he wrote many of his poems. A beautiful house on the cliffs and in many ways of very simple construction but so rich of life, art, dreams and love... I was so ecstatic to be there and to feel the vibrant energy coming from all of it that I didn't care to be one of the many visitors and to be in line and to be ( after all) in an other tourist trap. That place has a magical power that can be felt only if one is there. Anyway! I came back to the hostel and after resting a bit I was invited in the living room and Enzo started playing old 33 and 45 records and it was faboulous! There was also a guitar teacher (Sandro!) and together we jammed for a long time. Than more friends joned in, including the nice of a dear friend of SF, that I contacted earlier and together we had a great party that lasted until very late! It was just fabulous! Today I got my new back brake pads and I'm ready to go but I decided to stay here an other day and relax in this beautiful small city. I will ship my bike back from here and so this is my last camp base to return to after the next leg of my trip. A very good place to come back to.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chile Relleno

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Desert desert and more desert

Good thing I love the desert because this one is big! Huge! Incredible!
And beautiful. San Pedro de Atacama is rigth in the middle of so much beauty and diversity...and is a perfect place to actually, rest, eat well and to meet nice people. I took a bus trip to la valle de la was fun and stunningly beautiful.
The little museum also is very nice and shows that Incas were here before the spaniards ( the church is from 1500) and the gold work and the artifact of 2000 years ago or so are amazing. The more recent history of the miners is also quite interesting...
I left this morning late and I headed south. And passed the Tropic line!
I finally feel good and I can keep going without fear of getting again pain in my guts. There are mines,and miners, all over in this area, but I'm told that there are also vineyards... haven't seen any but I'll try to find the wine. It's so dry here. Maybe prosecco?
Karl? Not sure...I believe he's in LoveLand...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

chile (s)

So I'm in San Pedro de Atacama now...
After "resting" two days in bed in Iquique. Bed toilet to bed to toilet I should say.
I am skinny now. Not fun really.
Karl left for Santiago, were he will have a hot date with Emily...soon!
He's happy!
She should have with her my new GPS so that makes me very happy.
Don't know were exactly Karl is right now... somewhere south! No news, good news.
Today at the end of my ride I had guts pain so bad I had to stop in the middle of the desert...but I found a nice hotel in this supernice but extremely touristy town were I will rest my belly for an other day.
No pictures this time. Just imagine. If you really want to.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Crossing the border was a bit long but quite easy. So we were happy to have lunch in Arica, just accross the border and we left for Iquique some 300km south...and no gas stations in between... and we didn't fill we had some doubts on that when the odometer started reading 258miles...(estimated ins 260....)...and around us , in front of us and behiand us was ...yes desert...beautiful, but still desert...real desert(it has not been raining in 20 years!)... and the little towns marked on the map were either few dusty shacks or..not existing...
fortunately one of this ( at miles 258)shacks was the mansion of a nice local that was happy to give enough gas to us to make it trough...and he could have even asked for more that we would have been happy anyway!
So we kept going and we made it to a gas station, than to Iquique, Atacama desert!... We were expecting a much smaller town. But we managed to find a decent hotel, even at dark, and this morning we went to the shop and had tires and oil change. Fun and nice people there!
... now...since last night i got intestinal problems... pretty intense...
Carlito is getting better... me ... not really...even one glass of water takes only max 20 minutes to get expelled...
a true cleansing I guess...I needed after all the evil I ingested... I just hope the meds will work soon. Maybe I'll get skinnier!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cusco-Puno_-quasi Tacna

Can't find the name of this little town GPS is dead...well that's a bummer but not the real reason why I don't have the info. Just too lazy to go back to the room again and get the map out...and yes here it is an other time that the wi-fi works only in a remote corner or two of the hotel...and this time it even took us an hour to find out just how to connect...
Oh well, enough with the laments!
We rode from Cuzco to Puno on lake Titicaca...a nice ride, but at the end we were welcomed by frozen rain, quite a few iced painful pebbles and freezing wind on a very slippery muddy part of Not.
Grey, cold, not so I started having bad respiration problems with the altitude ( 3,800m)...karl too but less(and his salmonella seems under control).
So this morning we decide to leave early... and to brave a possibly short cut on a 80 km dirt road from Llave to Maze in direction of Tacna and the Chilean border.
The dirt road was awesome! The rocks, the river, the birds in little pristine ponds, everything was so wild and beautiful! Except my front fearing started to get loose (same thing happend to K long time ago)because I lost one of the two too short bolts that hold it. ( we should write to Suzuki, but hey! if the complaints are just this we are lucky...actually I really things the bikes are holding great!)
Then we got back on the pavement and the road kept going up and up to 4,800 m. Almost 15,000'... well my breathing was getting worse , my head was throbbing and I really wasn't feeling so good... but the road was so incredible! Twisties and twisties and perfectly paved and surrounded by gorgeous mountains! A joy! Karl was in heaven!
Got a new bolt, don't know what to do with my dead an iboprufen and breathing again...tomorrow is an other day!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


A place to remember....not only for the colonial beauty...(although, despite the wonderful art work I'm gettig a big sick of the glorification of the "conquistadores" and their religion bathed in blood and gold...)
The cathedral is stunning and so the little streets and the massive doors and the, thanks to tourism the city is really well organized, clean and with good choices of food.
But this place will be remember by us as the place were Karl had an other not so good surprise..
Last night, at the return from the train ride Karl started feeling very cold and had stomach lasted all night and it did get worse so this morning at about 6 am I asked for a doctor at the front desk... the receptionist made a quick call and in 10' an ambulance arrived and a doctor was visiting Karl, excluding a classic tourist altitude sickness and instead suggesting a blood test for salmonella. So we rode on the ambulance back to the clinic, were we were welcomed by smiling nice nurses, then checked the vitals and drawn some blood. In about 30' we got the results... positive for salmonella. Few pills, more smiles and a bill for $90... yes ambulance included! Should I make any comment on an almost impossible comparison with USA (# 1!) health system? I will let you draw conclusions.
Let's just hope Obama's plan will change things a bit!
Anyway. The most important thing is that Carlito is getting better, resting and meditating on future eggs or mayo eating( although it could have been anything), and in his future diet for the next week.

Machupicchu could be defined as a tourist trap, expensive and overcrowded but still it's a breathtaking place!
We could have taken different ways to approach the site with our bikes, but we opted for the one that made it easier for us , considering the rain, our tires not exactly in great shape and the desire to do something new, as a train ride in this magical valley.
The train from Cuzco is 3:15 hours...long long hours in a very small seat, especially for tall tall people. The view is great! Valleys after valleys following a raging river dark chocolate color by the recent rain. Vertical peaks and tropical vegetation...
Then the terminal, and a bus ( more$$!) to the actual ruins( more$$!).
An other ascent this time on a muddy road not always exactly wide enough for two busses at a time...and the drop in the 2000feet valley( few inches from the almost bold tires) it really made me sweat few times, considering I was on a window seat...drivers seems totally confident so just trust the Universe!
Then the old city! Incas? Aliens? Whoever was here and did this it's impressive!
No words to describe the feelings. No words to describe the beauty, the majestic of the nature...everything...I was and I am speachless!
And we even got a rainbow!
So go see it!
But stop at Aguascaliente and spend a day on the hot springs...A day back and forth from Cuzco is truly exausting.
We'll possibly talk about Cuzco later.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From Nazca to Cuzco

An incredibly beautiful road! Starts with deserts airpins (hot desert)than it keeps going up to 4000 meters, were we saw our first llamas and we had to wait for more than an hour for road works, making friends with all the truck drivers also stuck. Then lunch in Puchio a small village in the middle of nowhere, then the road kept going up to 4500m and it got so beautiful, and so cold and cloudy and it started snowing and we had to keep going of!
But then we passed the weather and we started going to lower altitude trough a beautiful endless valley. It was too late to make it to Cuzco but there were not many places to stop for the night( as we were told). So we decided to push it to Abacay. So we arrived at dark to find big rocks, sticks, tires, branches in the middle of the road...then busses, trucks, cars, stopped along the way, then police, then a nice ongoing riot! A civil unrest due to the protest against the alleged corruption of the mayor of the city.
After waiting for a while, hearing all kind of opinions on what to do or not to do, and a couple of moment where we thought all the hell was going to break loose,a kind cop offered to take us on a secondary road to avoid the blokade.
OK. So we followed in the dark, on a super dusty dirt road up on the hills, the police car that took us to the road to Cuzco.
At that point I was so tired that as soon as we saw an hotel sign we stopped in a very bizzare place. Where we had to wait for the room to be done, and for the food to be we had the latest,crapiest dinner ever on a night stand and we watched the only channel available that had a obscure french movie with spanish subtitles. I was so tired that I could care less and I was soon snoring away. But in the middle of the night we got woke up from the sound of torrential rain...I forgot to mention that we had to park down a dirt road,and cross a field that at that point we thougth it was inevitably trasforming into a mud bath...more fun!
It was actually ok in the morning, so we rush as fast as we could out of there. Had a little breakfast ( rice and pork!)and soon after that Karl got his first flat tire! Fun!
But then all went well and now we are in a nice hotel in gorgeous Cuzco, two blocks away from the main square and right in front of an ice cream parlor.
I had some breathing problems this morning and think I was suffering from altitude sickness but after chewing on a few hojas de coca I feel great!
And ready for Machhu Pichu tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This morning we left Lima…to get lost in the maze of this huge cahotic city . I even got rear ended by a scooter! So we asked direction to two cops on motorcycle and they ended up escorting us out of the maze even using the siren to make it faster…and they were so nice and smiling!
After we made it to the freeway we rode for a long time in an ever changing desert ...really beautiful.
And cold! Equator still surprising us with its temperature.
Then we had a quick stop at the look out tower for the famous Nazca lines ( I defenetly would suggest a bit of a search online). Not impressive view but still amazing to be in this sacred place.
Then we made it to Nazca…that we were expecting as a small dusty anonymous town…but it surprised us quite a bit! Full of life and business, new sidewalk were one can actually walk safely, cafes, restaurants, hotels…people smiling and really busy…clean and not so chaotic…and a lot of water for one of the driest regions of the world.
I had to enquire about this , considering that we are in the middle of nowhere…so I was told that the new stuff is because of the recent earthquakes and the wealth …because of tourism…great! It seems like it’s working good here!
So we had pizza and pisco sour…and chocolate cake… again defenetly planning a diet for my return.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Last night we arrived in Lima and landed by chance in a very charming ( and a bit run down!) Hotel . ( the Gran Hotel)... that it happen to be rigth in the center of the old Lima....So today I did a long walking all around the historic center of this 7+ million people.
I visited churches and inquisitions places and museums, and I got a big fix of catholicism...plenty infact. But hey! The art work and the architecture are great!
Too bad that the church did so many horrible things everywere and all the time...from "holy" wars to burning thousand of innocent name of the love of (its)god...oh well.
The city is noisy, polluted and crowded, but I got a feeling of less neurosis than in other places...
Under the San Francisco church there are mounds of bones belonging to at list 25thousand people...I wish I was here for Halloween. Well. Next time!
Ice cream good, parillata too big...but sooo good! I'll have to start a vegetarian diet when I'll be back.
Tomorrow we'll ride toward Cuzco...brrr!

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Peru....

The road from Mancora to Trujillo is a long flat streight long flat streight long flat streight uneventful road...desertic and undeveloped, made exception for few villages by the name of Nueva Piedrita or Arena Blanca or Mala Vida... very simple shacks made of sticks and mud, old cars dusty and dilapidated and lots of tuc-tucs overloaded with al sort of costruction materials...
Good time for meditation and chanting in my helmet...and Karl's acrobatics.
The only stop, at a gas station was the higtlight of the day...we had a very nice talk witha local policeman that told us:"Matchu Pitchu will give you the sense of the strong spiritual energy of this country and you will feel the magic of the universe..."
and the smile of the kid that cleaned our stop lights was priceless..
Then we entered Trujillo and we found the hostal "backpackers" super nice people.
We spent the last 24 hours trying to set up a tire change in Peru'. On email, on the phone and with the help of all the extremely helpful staff of the hostal! But we might end up doing it in Iquique. 300 km south of the border. We think that it will work. ( Thanks Annette!)
It's cold ! And we are on the coast! And it has been cold since we crossed the equator line! Surprising but so pleasantly unespected after two months of smoldering heat!
Truijllo is nice, although it seems that people here honk their car horns constantly like anywere else creating an incredible cachophony. Contemporary musicians?