After 3577 kilometers on the road we are now 101 km away from the Pacific Ocean from where we want to slowly make our way up the coast to Valparaiso where we have already booked a hostal for Christmas.
When we are getting up in the morning it is already quite warm in our room in the Hotel Bavaria (no pun intended) where we are the only guests, like we have been so often in the last weeks because it is still low season in this part of Chile. Bags are quickly packed and after a sparse Chilenian breakfast we are on the road. After four days on the PanAm, the ruta 5 in Chile we are looking forward to more quiet country roads.
A few kilometers into the ride it has already become quite hot and we are hungry for a little snack and thirsty. We are hoping to find a stand where they sell "mote con huesillos" a Chilenian chilled drink whose ingredients are dried peaches, wheat, cinnamon water and sugar or honey. It is very refreshing and also filling, a perfect mid morning snack for cyclists in hot weather. Not much further down the road our wish is fulfilled. Next to the road is an old bus that has been stripped off its interior and turned into a small cafe, which also sells mote. We admire the creative idea and the bus and buy the drink from the friendly young woman inside. Next stop is Quirihue where we are hoping to take a break and buy water to camp in the wild.
It has become quite hot, above 30🌡Celsius and our skin is burning and we need some shade. At the local gas station I am holding my head under an outside hose to cool down and Markus finds shaded plastic chairs in front of a supermarket where we buy drinks and some chips for the salt. From here it is another 35 km to Cobquecura on the coast, our destination. We decide to give it a go which will make it 101 km in total today.
Very slowly it is cooling down a bit and the way is demanding for me, it is going up and down all the time with a very steep slope to the top at the end where I even have to push my bike. On the way we are having an encounter with a tarantula crossing the street, the first alive one on the is trip. After that we see more dead ones on the road, strange that there are so many big spiders walking the streets here.
At 7:30 pm we finally make it to Cobquecura exhausted but very happy to finally see the ocean again which makes me shed a tear of joy. Riding into town we are called upon from the plaza by a group of bicycle travelers: two Chilenians and a Columbian! They are traveling with very basic, partly self made equipment, panniers made out of plastic fuel canisters for example. Since they don't have the money to spend on a hostal they are waiting for the sun to go down so they can camp on the beach. Living proof that you don't have to be rich to go on an extended bicycle journey. We are exchanging hugs and stories and finally we are on our way to our hostal.
Because we pushed it today we are a day early and standing in front of closed doors (low season, like I said before) there is a small note attached to the door with a number you can call. With our cell that has a German contract a very expensive undertaking. While we are trying to remember the area code for Chile a bus stops and a man gets out. He asks us if we are looking for Marianna and tells us she is just around the corner. Markus goes with him and meanwhile I am waiting by our bikes. Not soon after the two men come back and Markus tells me that Marianna will open the door in a minute. The man waves good buy and it seems we have made a new friend in this sleepy ocean village. Pretty soon a short, laughing, very sympathetic woman opens the door. "Of course we can have a room today - no, it's no problem we can take a shower and rest for a bit before we fill out the registration - yes there is a restaurant where we can eat something."
After we are clean and feeling like human beings again we are going out for dinner. Strange, the restaurants are open but everything is dark?! Finally we are getting it: There is a blackout but luckily the stoves are run with gas so we can eat dinner in a dusky restaurant. Coming back to the hostal everything is lit with candles which gives the old Isabel Allende style villa a very romantic and mystic atmosphere. Marianna welcomes us at the door laughing and claiming "no electricity" handing us a flashlight.