Entry to Chile: Valparaiso & Santiago

We finally made it to Chile and got reunited with our adventure hungry Yamaha motorbike. It arrived in Valparaiso by container freight from Hamburg. The smooth handling of the shipping is thanks to Olaf Kleinknecht from InTime courier in Germany. I can not more but highly recommend this guy. Super smooth and really helpful. If you ever need to ship your bike to South America talk to him! We delivered the bike to the warehouse near Hamburg and then picked it up in Valparaiso. Alternatively Olaf offered as well to pick up the bike from anywhere in Europe but we decided to start our adventure already when we picked up the bike in the UK. The entire custom procedure in Chile took about 3 hours and that was including the siesta of the custom officer - which was about 2 hours.  Once we had the bike back I decided that a new back tyre is a good idea - the old one had maybe another 2000 km on the rubber and I wasn't sure how much chances we got to buy a new tyre once we are in the remote south. So I contacted Tomas from Ride Chile in Santiago. He sorted us out with a new tyre (50/50 off road/on road). Ride Chile is renting out BMW's and is organising trips but are also helping out people who come on their own bikes. Tomas is super friendly and helpful and a biker by heart himself. If you have limited time and still want to ride a bike in Chile you should check them out. We packed and repacked and shifted our gear around the bike but after a few days we found the right way to store all our luggage on the bike. It is not easy finding space for 2 people on a bike plus camping gear and camera equipment and still have a bike that handle's ok on gravel roads. Sometime later I will publish a gear list of what we are taking along on this trip. Please keep on reading below...

 the first days with the bike ...

the first days with the bike ...

So as I mentioned above the bike arrived in Valparaiso, a harbour town about 100km west of Santiago. We both loved Valparaiso with it's colourful artworks, steep roads and last but not least all the friendly and helpful people we met. The entire town is covered in graffiti and it feels like you are walking through a huge open air art gallery. No wonder that the UNESCO has declared it as a world heritage site. Now the people who know me also know that I lived in Iceland and Valparaiso reminded me very much of the down town area of Reykjavik. Most of the houses are clad with corrugated iron and painted in all kinds of colours. Unfortunately Valparaiso witnessed some devastating catastrophe's in the past. Just in the last few days a wildfire ruined over 400 homes. Luckily nobody got killed. In 2014 a wildfire destroyed 2.800 homes and killed 16 people. On August 16th 1906 a earthquake devastated the town and over 3.000 people died. Until then Valparaiso was the economic centre of Chile which was last but not least because of the harbour. Today Valparaiso is still the main base of the Chilean navy and  a busy port for goods shipped to and from Chile. Please read more below about Santiago...

 Valparaiso   

Valparaiso

 

Santiago is the capitol of Chile. We stayed in the centre of the city which is super safe. We walked around at night (after seeing the new Star Wars movie) and never felt unsafe for a minute. The climate is pleasant with temperatures during the day of about 28 degrees. The evenings are somehow a bit more chill and a fleece or a jacket is not a bad idea. The town is full of street performers and museums. It is a cultural thriving metropole set at the edge of the Andes. Santiago is also the place where our motorbike adventure starts - stay tuned for the next update. Also if you like this blog don't forget to sign up for the newsletter at he bottom of the page. 

 Santiago

Santiago