We are in South America, in Chile. Country number 21 on our world cycling tour. Oh man, we’re halfway round the world, from now on we’re not going any further away but closer to home again. The home that we will have again. At the moment we are rather homeless. But that will come later. Until then, we still have a few kilometres to go. 

We are in Chile.

More precisely in Antofagasta. North of Santiago de Chile.We had decided to skip this big city and head further north. And that’s where we are now. I don’t even know how long we’ve been travelling. But what I do know is that in Germany the time was 12 hours ahead when we were still in New Zealand. Now here in Chile, New Zealand is 16 hours behind and Germany is 8 hours ahead. What I remember is that we arrived in the evening at 9pm and it was already dark. I think it was darker than anywhere else. It felt like the darkness had almost completely swallowed up the bike. After 3 hours of setting up the bike, we still had 20 kilometres to go to our accommodation. That was spooky. So dark and quiet.


Atacama Desert

After all the green in New Zealand, we arrived in the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert. We don’t yet know exactly what our route will look like. We know that we want to avoid metres in altitude, but we won’t succeed very well. Sooner or later, the Andes will get in our way. First of all, we’ll stay by the sea, the Pacific, and cycle north towards Peru. And then we’ll see what happens.

We stay in Antofagasta for 6 days. It’s been a long journey and I have to get used to the new climate again. To the new smells, the food, the money and the people. Headaches and nausea plague me for the first two days.

It is always exhausting to experience everything anew, but this time, here in South America, the transitions to the other countries will not be accompanied by such major cultural changes. At least I think so.

The first few days are great.

What can I say. So far, the drivers have been pretty considerate. After more than a year, we have to switch from driving on the left to driving on the right again. I simply smile away my lack of Spanish and the few bits of English that my counterpart rummages out of his memory contribute to everyone’s amusement. Welcome to Chile. That’s how we feel here in Antofagasta. But it’s also easy when you’re not in the usual tourist areas. You’re usually just really welcome there.

Antofagasta, also known as the “Pearl of the North”, is the fifth most populous city in Chile. Situated in the Atacama region on the Pacific coast, the seaside resort is of no particular cultural interest and yet we find one or two attractions. But for us, an attraction also means a street that is somehow different from what we have seen so far.

Antofagasta is a real hotspot for street art.

The hotspot when it comes to street art. There are no paid “street art” adverts for beer or Chanel or Louis Vuitton or Netflix on the walls here. There is simply everything here that is moving or simply beautiful. I often don’t understand it, we don’t have the backgrounds, but it doesn’t matter, they’re good. damn good.

I’m enjoying the fact that we can live more cheaply again. New Zealand was expensive for us. Fruit and vegetables actually taste really good. It’s a pleasure to cook. 

And I enjoy the view of the barren mountains and the blue of the roaring sea with its white crashing waves that shines like an ice candy. And we enjoy the temperatures. Mild, between 15 degrees at night and 21 degrees during the day.

When we continue on 3 May, we will have been on the road for 2 years and 3 days.

We have a new tent. Exactly the same as before. In the old one it felt like it rained more inside than outside and the fabric was so brittle that it started to tear.
I’m already looking forward to our next stage. Until then, we’re enjoying an Airbnb flat with running water from the tap.

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