Cycling above the Clouds

Riding the Andes by Bicycle


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Volcano hunting around Lago Llanquihue

Returning to the mainland after our visit to Chiloé, we now made our way back to Puerto Varas in the Los Lagos region. I’d found a cheapish hostal when I’d visited a few days earlier, just a couple of blocks round the corner from the hotel where mum and dad would be staying. My hostal had a garage so I’d been able to leave the bike there with peace of mind whilst we went off our on road trip. My room there was a little damp though, so it was very nice to be able to take our afternoon breaks at mum and dad’s much nicer hotel (who kept us plied with cups of tea:).

The weather was a little better this time round and we set off eastwards round Lago Llanquihue to hunt out the best views we could find of the volcanoes.

Famille Brindley: at a mirador in front of Volcan Osorno. Mum and I looking very colour-coordinated.

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The islands of Chiloé

And so here we are with our little family reunion:). After what seemed like many weeks of anticipation pedalling my way down much of Chile, I finally met up with Mum and Dad at Puerto Montt airport. After 5 months or so without any physical contact, it was very nice just to get a hug!

We quickly picked up a hire car and started making our way directly to Chiloé, a collection of small islands just off the coast, the largest and our first port of call being imaginatively named ‘La Isla Grande’. This island is a favourite with Chileans who all talk about Chiloé with much affection – I think in large part to some of the unique culture which is strongly preserved there and of which the Chiloéans are very proud.

View out over the islands of Chiloe

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Lago Llanquihue

I had a lovely couple of days ride skirting Lago Llanquihue from Osorno to Puerto Varas, where I would then meet up with my parents. This was definitely a great location for cyclists and also joined me up again to some of the route I rode in this region 2 years ago. That trip is partly what prompted me to come back and make this whole 9 month journey down South America.

The route took me through the small towns of Puerto Octay and Frutillar which border the lake. The communes were originally formed in the 1850s, when the Chilean government encouraged Germans (who were struggling to survive due to the effects of the industrial revolution in Europe at the time) to come and settle and develop the region. In Hamburg, the area was marketed as being ‘like Lake Geneva’ although when they arrived, the settlers found that life would be very harsh for a good while, as they cleared the land, built houses and mills, and began farming the land all from scratch.

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