27.01.2017 - 14.02.2017
Most hotels so far have been pretty basic to downright spartan. The one in La Junta (all hotels are included in my travel map that you should be able to access from this blog) was easily the best. The restaurant not so much, but it came with a girl explaining the menu to us in English (turned out she was German and emigrated with her parents four years ago to run a farm in the area). We settled on salmon-stuffed ravioli but it tasted like it came out of a package and had been in the microwave for too long. The wine, an excellent Chilean camenère, covered up much of that. In general, I have started taking my chances on whatever is the day or house special, and let me tell ya: they cook up a storm in Chile. The dishes are full of flavor without being spicy. This ravioli was the first disappointment.
Today was mostly clouds and potholes. This was by far the toughest stretch we’ve been on so far. But we pretty much have the road to ourselves so we have plenty of space to manoeuver around the worst spots. Every once in a while we share the road with two or three cyclists (you have to admire their stamina), a campervan with a German or French license plate, an Italian motorbike, and hitchhikers. We haven shaken off the babyboomers. Now we're looking at the millennials and the young.
And we’re driving through magnificent landscapes. Majestic, snow-capped mountains, awe-inspiring volcanoes, thundering rivers, sprawling forests (no fires here right now, but plenty of traces of them, and caution signs), and shiny glaciers like this one:
And let’s not forget the beers brewed locally by descendants from Belgian and German pioneers, like d’Olbeck and Hopperdietzel.