Some people like the time around Christmas because of being with their family, receiving or giving presents, not having to go to work, eating and drinking too much. Normal stuff.
I’m alone on my own in Southern Spain and it is 2020, so these normal things are a bit out of reach.
But this one day I almost jumped into the air! I walk into my local Aldi and they have brussels sprouts! They must have Christmas thing here too. Or maybe there are so many British expats that it makes it profitable to sell them for a week or so 🙂 It was more than a year… Got as much as I thought I could fit in my backpack. Girl at the checkout gave me a strange look. But I really really like brussels sprouts! Weirdo.
Since I booked my flight from Santiago to Valdivia some time ago it was supposed to be an easy relaxing day. It was not. I woke up a little late after going to Club 23 bar the night before. And I maybe had one cocktail too many. No, I think I didn’t. But that was fine as it was planned. First thing after I woke up was trying to pack the bike. When you know you only got enough stuff to carry on the bike you don’t stress about that much. It doesn’t take too much time.
I took the box outside and started disassembling the bike. The man came to watch. We had a chat. An American. In a dessert camo clothes. You could tell from the army. Flew back last night from Afghanistan. Used to do bike touring himself in “young days” and was impressed with the size of WTB Trailbrazer 28 tyres. By the time I finished packing the bike his friend arrived and they left. Apparently his hotels are paid for him and he was leaving for a little more posh option.
As my friend suggested I ordered the more expensive version of Cabify for the trip to the airport as they normally have bigger cars. Yep, the car was easily big enough and only about 28000 pesos. Really good price for the journey. I paid about twice the opposite direction. The catch – neither Cabify nor Uber(I think Uber is illegal in Santiago, but apparently still exist) allowed to drop you off at the airport drop off place. I only know this because the diver spoke to my phone while waiting in a traffic jam. And the phone tried to translate it.
So a bus ride to the airport from somewhere I don’t know. I didn’t know how much is going to cost.
Luckily the bus was free – I was dropped at the official airport car park. Cabify driver helped to take THE BOX onto the bus. Then while already driving on a tight corner the box hit some other passenger, but he was ok. Just grumpy.
A little late at the airport, but it’s fine it is a domestic flight. The girl at SKY counter asked me to put me the box on the scales… and boy I was happy that they didn’t weight back home at Heathrow! Paid some $$ for exes weight. Went trough security with almost no trouble – they always stop me because of the laptop, cameras, chargers, batteries and amount of cables I carry.
And so I was sitting on the floor at gate 28 of Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. Or Santiago International Airport. Finally relaxed. With a beer that had my destination written on it 🙂
Top tip – don’t worry that Valdivia airport is more that 35km away from actual Valdivia. At the airport there are so many taxi services competing. With extra charge for my bike box I paid 18000 🙂
The hostel I was staying in Santiago has some bicycles that are free to use for those staying there. Wasn’t sure about them being single speed, but decided to give one a go anyway.
All paperwork sorted – there was a fair bit, deposit paid. I added my Garmin and bottle cage as you have to drink a bit when there’s 30 degrees outside and you are cycling. And the I went to explore a bit of Santiago. No direction, no route planned. Just going the opposite direction from the famous Plaza Baquedano as told by the locals.
I don’t think I ever ridden a bike with such skinny tyres – maybe 20mm max maybe even less 🙂 I was worried to get pinch flats all the time, but roads and especially cycling paths in Santiago are quite good so I was fine.
One thing for sure, in Santiago, and I image the rest of the Chile you probably need more than one gear to really enjoy it.