Select Page

Blog

Puerto Natales to Ushuaia

Puerto Natales to Ushuaia

It’s 675km from Puerto Natales to Ushuaia or, in old money, around 1.5 million cubits.  This is a fair old chariot ride but, with fresh horses, doable in 5 or 6 days.  Unfortunately, my horses are all set for the knacker’s yard, and are braying in protest as I load up the bike and head back to the...

read more
Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

“Dr Livingstone I presume?” I quip, as two tired travellers with backpacks stroll down the hill towards me.  It has been a 28-hour journey from London, via the jungles of Toronto and Santiago, but Cathy and Adam have overcome strikes, tight connection-times and airline food to get here in one...

read more
El Calafate to Puerto Natales

El Calafate to Puerto Natales

It’s quite possible there are days, in Patagonia, when the wind does not blow.  It’s also possible the wind might decide, one morning, just to mix it up a bit and blow from the north, east or south, rather than the west.  Based on the last 6 weeks, I expect glaciers will be rolling through Hades...

read more
O’Higgins to El Calafate

O’Higgins to El Calafate

The Carretera Austral officially ends at Puerto Bahamondes on Lago O’Higgins, a further 7km down the road.  From there, it’s a 1-2 day journey across lakes, gravel roads and a forest track to El Chalten in Argentina.  We aim to do this in a day because, well, we like a challenge and, over the last...

read more
Carretera Austral.  Part 2: Coyhaique to Villa O’Higgins

Carretera Austral. Part 2: Coyhaique to Villa O’Higgins

…Plan A is to complete the Carretera Austral in 20-25 days.  This will ensure I am in Puerto Natales in good time for Cathy and Adam’s arrival on 17 December, while preserving my ageing legs with a modest 50-60kms of cycling a day.  Plan B is to ignore Plan A altogether, as the roads from Puerto...

read more
Carretera Austral.  Part 1: Puerto Montt to Coyhaique

Carretera Austral. Part 1: Puerto Montt to Coyhaique

It’s a 13-hour bus journey from Santiago to Puerto Montt, although the fare for the overnight journey is little more than the cost of a night’s accommodation at the Ibis in Santiago.  The Chilean sitting in the next seat has his beady eye on me as he wants to practise his English, an admirable...

read more
Fiambala to Puerto Montt

Fiambala to Puerto Montt

If I push my stomach out, and arch my back a bit, I can just about make my feet disappear, which is gratifying.  Such is the progress I have made over the past 10 days on Project “Fatten Up” ahead of the next phase of the trip, which starts from Puerto Montt on Friday.  Ice-cream and empanadas,...

read more
Belen to Monte Pissis

Belen to Monte Pissis

I have officially recovered from my previous exertions, with a soothing balm of ice-cream and Stella Artois, and it is time to get back on the road.  The broken wire on my odometer has been fixed by a wizard at the motorbike shop with a pair of pliers, electrical tape and a lighter.  ‘No charge...

read more
Tolar Grande to Belen

Tolar Grande to Belen

So, now I am in Tolar Grande and I fancy some creature comforts, such as ice-cream, beer and hot showers (although not all at the same time).  From glimpses of my waistline, I can see that the gentle folds of flesh are gone, and my ribcage is looking like a xylophone.  Less to carry up those...

read more
Salta to Llullaillaco

Salta to Llullaillaco

The bus from Salta to San Antonio de los Cobres is as beaten up and dusty as you would expect for a bus that travels along beaten-up and dusty roads.  4 hours after leaving the oasis of Salta, you are deposited in San Antonio, perhaps, the last town of significance east of the Chilean border at...

read more
San Pedro to Salta

San Pedro to Salta

The definition of an “itinerary” is “a planned route or journey that is hopelessly optimistic and will need to be changed almost immediately”.  It is therefore most surprising that we arrive in San Pedro de Atacama on the appointed day, 5 weeks after leaving La Paz.  Less surprising is the fact...

read more
Laguna Colorada to San Pedro

Laguna Colorada to San Pedro

At some point in the previous few days, we  entered the Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina de Eduardo Avaroa, named after one of the “heroes” of the War of the Pacific in the 19th century (which Bolivia lost, along with its pacific coast).  This national park includes lagunas full of borax, arsenic...

read more
San Juan to Arbol de Piedra

San Juan to Arbol de Piedra

Tempted though I am to fast forward to Laguna Colorada, the story would not be complete without the “bit in between”, after we have left the Salar de Uyuni.  This is a 5-day section (1 day in a 4x4) bridging the gap between the places people pay to see. While there's some nice scenery (Arizona...

read more
Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni

The Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, covering 10,500 sq km of south-western Bolivia with salt to a depth of 120m in places.  It contains 7% of the world’s lithium reserves (Elon Musk, listen up!) and is one of those must-see places on the must-see places list you read about in...

read more
Sajama to Tahua

Sajama to Tahua

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend two 6,000m peaks in two days, but the forecast is set fair and, after 3 days in Sajama, we have exhausted its manifold charms and 'tis time to bag a couple of peaks and move on.    Acotango (around 40km to the south) beckons - not too difficult and quite an...

read more
La Paz to Sajama

La Paz to Sajama

Farewell Hotel Rosario, our home for the past 4 days, and hello dust, sand and freezing nights. The hotel has been pretty empty (Covid, Bolivian unrest…?) and I would like to think the staff are shedding tears of sorrow at our departure rather than mirth. But I suspect it is the latter, as we fill...

read more
They’re off!

They’re off!

It has been a long time in the coming, but the metaphorical starter’s-flag has dropped and the proverbial tortoise is making a dash for the gap in the fence at the bottom of the garden. Beyond the fence lurks danger, and the shell on his back is heavy, but our intrepid hero is sure there is an abundant supply of juicy lettuce waiting for him in Mrs McTavish’s greenhouse.

read more
The countdown begins…

The countdown begins…

...and a long one too, as we are about to head off to Scandinavia for 6 weeks - packing an unfeasible amount of food into the campervan to reduce pain in the wallet region when shopping in Norwegian supermarkets.  This pre-holiday holiday gave me the incentive to do a pre-pack for South America,...

read more