Today I was very late to pick up my clothes and backpack and everything else washable from a laundry in Panguipulli. Great service, but price close to England! It’s ok – according to people at the reception of my holiday home where I was staying, it was maybe the only place in town. After that had a long phone call with the family while was waiting for someone to serve me at the Restaurant y pizzeria Florencia.
When I was finishing that nice steak a family of four walked past. The father said something in spanish to his teenage son pointing at my fully loaded bike. They all had a chat and decided to stay at the same restaurant. The man kept looking at my bike and then again saying something to his son. After a while he turned to me and said something in Spanish. I replied with my usual “poco español”. He thought for a few moments and then pointing to my Gensis Longitude said in in English – it’s my dream! I did’t know what should I say back and just answered what I thought was a very honest answer – Just do it! (Nike should pay me something for that, come on!) The man made this very sad face as we all do when we are kids when we are not allowed something and pointed his finger at his wife. We all started laughing, including his wife 🙂 The kids could speak quite a good English so them being translators we had a good chat about bike touring and where I’m planning to go next.
After the steep gravel bits were behind me I started to enjoy great weather, the views of beautiful Calle-Calle river and finally a smooth tarmac.
My destination was Los Lagos. Cycling friends who went the opposite way and whom I met in Valdivia told me that Los Lagos was just an ugly grim place with not many shops or places to sleep. Not what I was expecting. There are two different things – what you read on the Internet and what is real! On the Internet it wasn’t looking that bad! I was carrying my tent – they did not, so I felt safe. But they were right. The place was ugly. Probably still is. The guy from AirBnB texted me telling that there was as mistake and there is already someone staying in the room I booked. Nice. I asked if he knows any nearby campsites. Nope. But he said I can camp in his garden. Good option as it was already starting to get dark. Then I had to stop at the temporary traffic lights because of some bridge repairs. On the intersection of three major roads. Stuck in traffic on a bicycle FFS! People were out of their cars, walking around, chatting. Since I was going opposite direction some asked how long is this jam. About 5km according to my Garmin eTrex 30 GPS… Then further into the madness I saw a little car flashing lights. I stopped. It was the guy from AirBnB. He was waiting in that queue trying to find me. We loaded all my heavy bags into his little car. But there was no room for my bicycle. He told me it’s only a couple kilometers and he will leave his car on the side of the road so it is easier for me to find the place. Such a relief – I have a place to camp and I do not have to carry anything on my bicycle. My heavy bicycle felt like a Formula 1 car! Then suddenly another car is flashing lights. I stop – hey! Es mi amigo. This time with a big pickup truck! He put my Genesis into the back of his pickup, pointed to me to get in and just shouted – vamos!
The owner showed me a grass pitch in his garden and asked if it’s good enough. Then left and came back with a light so it would be easier for me to pitch the tent, gave instructions for the next day and left.
As soon as the tent was up a curious little dog came out of nowhere to check who is that stranger 🙂 Looks like everyone in Chile has at least one, especially in rural areas.