You have probably wondered what happened to the two cyclist who left Sweden to explore the world. We are still alive.. but the Internet connection has not been in our favour!
Since our last update we reached the main land of South America but we realised we had problems. Knee problems! Starting out on a world trip in such a harsh climate like this in a bad physical shape had taken its toll on our bodies. Our knees were screaming for some rest and we decided to listen. We spent two weeks in Punta Arenas. Mostly eating and waiting! The waiting was hard and we felt a bit helpless as we couldn’t do anything to speed up the healing process. The only thing we could do was wait, wait and wait. During this time we had a lot of time for reflection and we realised that no matter how eager we are to continue or what kind of grand plans we have in mind our bodies always have the final say in every decision. To travel like this for a longer time you need to start living more sustainable. Not necessarily in the environmental way. We are talking about how to make your body last. You need to follow the rhythm of your body and mind. Eat when you feel hunger and rest when you are tired. If you don’t the whole point of using your body as a mean of transportation fails.
When we finally left Punta Arenas behind we had a huge smile on our faces. It felt good to be back on the road and we were eager to explore new places but it didn’t take long before we felt the change of atmosphere. The ”island-feeling” on the back roads of Tierra del Fuego had vanished. Long gone were the days when we had to knock doors for water or a place to pitch our tent which turned into interesting meeting with people. Instead we did our kilometers and when it was time to stop for the day we asked the local policemen for water and were pointed in a direction where we could sleep without disturbing the order.
We pushed on and after a few days we reached the next city. Puerto Natales. It was obvious that tourism is the main income for most people. The streets were cramped with backpacker hostels, souvenir shops and travel agencies offering equipment and tours to the surrounding mountains. We did a quick stop to take care of our stinking clothes and refill our panniers with food and then we set off again with our aim on Argentina and El Chalten. A place we had been talking about a lot. There we were going to start a new chapter! This is where the Pampa and the wind would come to an end for us and the Carretera Austral, a winding road surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush landscape, begin.
With this in mind we got closer and closer. We crossed the boarder to Argentina and soon we could see the goal in a distance. The peak of Mt. Fitz Roy towering far away on the horizon. We knew that El Chalten would be situated by its foot. At first, the mountain inspired us and gave us new strenghts to pedal on through the dry and lifeless landscape. Even the wind seemed to help us. For days we saw the Fitz Roy getting closer and when we finally turned off onto the last strech of road that would lead us straight to the mountain and El Chalten we were hit straight in the face by the same relentless wind that we had been helping us hours earlier. Now instead of a boosting milestone the peak of Mt. Fitz Roy resembled a long and taunting middle finger peeking through the clouds. We spent two and a half days biking 90 km. We went up earlier than the sun and ate more cookies than that blue fury muppet guy on Sesame Street. It still didn’t help us. We had to bike every damn kilometer with the wind in our face watching Mt Fitz Roy coming closer at a speed that would make a turtle look like a fighter jet. But finally when we exhausted had made it up the last hill into a valley we saw El Chalten. Unfortunately the weather had changed and Mt. Fitz Roy was now hiding behind dark clouds carrying loads of rain.
We had been told by almost every person coming the opposite direction about a woman called Flor in El Chalten who had opened her home to any biker wanting a place to pitch their tent. The place turned out to be much more than just that. When we arrived there were bikers from all over the world preparing meat for a huge barbecue which we joined together with the wonderful hostess Florencia and her family. Finally we could sit down and pat ourselves on the shoulders knowing that we had made it through the first part of our trip. We were finished with the Pampa and all the headwinds… or were we?