There's a big hill in the center of Santiago called San Cristobal. It serves as a landmark for navigation throughout all the various barios.
Our hostel is at the foot of San Cristobal in the Bella Vista bario. This is the view from our rooftop terrace.
Just a couple of days until I head south to Chile, and the predictable whirl of last minute arrangements is in full swing. I've been busy gathering supplies and equipment, packing my bike and gear and making a round of good-byes to friends and family.
This will be the first winter in more than 40 years that I haven't skied at least once. I had hoped to go this weekend but the plans fell through. Oh well, a small price to pay for the trip of a lifetime!
My finger hovered over the "Buy" button. I stared at the screen and tried to make up my mind. It wasn't the one-thousand-plus dollars I was about to spend on plane tickets, or the fact that it might cost me my new gig as a pro bicycle touring guide that was giving me such consternation. It was the idea of trying to ride across 750 miles of the driest place on earth that had given me the wobblies.
Most of the ride from Santiago to Lima will be along the Pacific Coast. Our plan is to stick to the Pan American Highway as much as possible with just a few detours to seaside towns such as Antofagasta. From the literature I've read on this ride, most of it is enjoyable. But it's that four or five days in the desert that has me worried.
Still, I just rode around the world. How much tougher can the desert be?