We arrived in Santiago and recovered our bikes. To great relief the bike boxes were intact and looked in good condition.
Our friend Fran was waiting at the airport to pick us up and take us to her sister’s house which was our base camp for the next few days. Janet had not been to Santiago in 21 years and was surprised to see the massive development that has happened in the city during this time. Santiago is now a thriving metropolis with over 5.5 million inhabitants. Sadly the growth has caused a lot of pollution.
It was great to catch up with Fran, Sylvien and their little baby Amaya, and also to reunite with other friends Lorena and Jorge. Everyone had lots of good stories about their trips to the south of Chile. It was also lovely to find the sun again. Laying by the pool was a great way to recover from the flight and the British winter.
After purchasing some final pieces of kit, on the 20th we flew to Puerto Montt. After months of planning it was a massive relief to unpack the bikes and start cycling. Thankfully Puerto Montt has a tiny airport and it was fun to build up the bikes and the cycle the 30 seconds to leave the airport boundaries and be on the “road.”
First stop was just 26km down the road where we stayed in an amazing cabin that I found on Airbnb. “Steve’s place” was in the middle of no-where, with views over the Andes and the sea. It was the perfect place for our first night. We feasted on veggies from the garden and fresh eggs from his chickens.