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Old 10-17-2010, 06:39 PM   #31
tserts
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:07 PM   #32
rdwalker OP
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And the long trek home...


End of another great adventure, of a successful Cappuccino Tour. In the airport of Punta Arenas, we are splitting up: Lewis is flying for a few days to Buenos Aires; I am heading home.

Here's to you all, who stuck with this ride report! Thanks for looking; I hope you enjoyed it.



A long flight back is ahead of me. The total time in the air is about 18 hours, thus I arranged to stop overnight in Lima, Peru.



For your entertainment, then, a few shots from Lima. I found Peru to be very different from Chile.

Santiago, if not for the Spanish-language signs, would be quite indistinguishable from Central European cities. Lima, on the other hand, had a distinct South-American flavor.

Upon arrival, I immediately traveled to the Old City, Centro Historico. This is the main square, Plaza de Armas – the yellow building with wooden balconies is the Palace of the Governor.



The whole Old City felt very medieval. I roamed the narrow streets, finally emerging at Plaza San Martin, with the South-American Building, Edificio Sudamerica.



Now this is a cute story: check out the statue of General Jose San Martin, an important figure in South America’s struggle for independence from Spain. At the foot of the pedestal is a figure of a woman symbolizing the Grateful Nation.



Have a look at the headdress of Lady Nation. According to the lore reported by the guidebooks - therefore, it must be true! - the statue was built in Spain. The work order called for flames around her head, but the Spanish word for them is the same as the animals, llamas. The sculptors, perhaps considering the South American locale, neatly carved a llama poised on Nation’s head.

It is fun to imagine the great unveiling ceremony. A total consternation - then some important dignitary declaring that this is exactly as desired in the first place; after all, llamas are native to Peru!



Turning to motorcycling: the cops in Lima seem to prefer cruiser bikes, mostly Hondas.



Speaking of cops: I came across this K-9 patrol. The dog was particularly mean and nasty looking. To my amusement, the policeman who noticed my interest, smiled and made the pooch do tricks. How’s that for tourist hospitality!



Once out of the historic, well-maintained district, I walked into a chaotic, busy shopping area. Come to think of it, this is how I imagined the whole city prior to my arrival.





Main streets are clogged by commuter buses. The “touts” are leaning out of the doors and yelling the destination, while the driver slowly cruises along the sidewalk. If you know where you are going, you just jump aboard. I stayed put.



To be fair, Lima is not only composed of medieval palaces and crazy, crowded streets. There are also new sections, very much on par with what you would see in North America or Europe. This picture is taken along the Miraflores beaches: shopping malls, high-rises, paragliders in the air... Very modern, but still very exotic.



While enjoying Lima's ocean-side views - last cappuccino of the 2009 Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Cappuccino Tour.

Cheers! And thanks for following along!




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Old 10-17-2010, 07:11 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by tserts
Thanks!

But... I give up:
Οι αυτόματοι μεταφραστές είναι αναποτελεσματικοί. <-hidden truth in here..

?
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:25 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
Thanks!

But... I give up:
Οι αυτόματοι μεταφραστές είναι αναποτελεσματικοί. <-hidden truth in here..

?
I couldn't write yesterday, my son was sleeping next to me so I just clicked on the smilies. Top ride report, lots of useful info as well, thank you so much for all this! I guess it's not uncommon, someone else mentioned earlier that he does espresso tours, our center of attention is beer, beer consumption is a key element of our travels and we value the combination of taste, location and company in our own "beer tours"...

About the sigline, the trick would have been to machine translate it but now that I told you you ruined the joke...

Now the important stuff.. I usually spend years setting up, farkling and optimizing my touring bikes and the end result is a reason to travel as well. You mention you have a GS, how does it work for you leaving your perfectly looked after, state-of-the-art beauty at home and then visit amazing twisty roads at the most exciting places with an inferior steed? I am truly interested to hearing your answer as travel time is becoming more and more scarce and distant destinations are impossible to even think about visiting... The same goes for medium distance trips. We have a dream to ride North Spain me and my wife, but it's just 6 - 7 days (with the return trip) to even get to Barcelona and get to the good stuff. Cost-wise it might also be more economic, especially if one rents a cheapish thumper, like the KLR... So how well does that work? Do you still enjoy the riding part on a rental bike that might have many shortcomings?

Finally could you share some estimates about the rental costs for the bikes (and guide separately) of that particular trip?

Thank you again for taking us to the end of the world!
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:51 AM   #35
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Thank you for taking the time to share your ride with us. Nice pictures and report.

I was wondering if you have chosen the winning Cappuccino of this trip, and in which country and town that would be.

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Old 10-18-2010, 06:42 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by tserts
... Now the important stuff... how does it work for you leaving your perfectly looked after, state-of-the-art beauty at home and then visit amazing twisty roads at the most exciting places with an inferior steed?
... it's just 6 - 7 days (with the return trip) to even get to Barcelona and get to the good stuff.

Finally could you share some estimates about the rental costs for the bikes (and guide separately) of that particular trip?
OK, I did machine-translate - and apparently I did spoil the joke...

Regarding bikes: nothing wrong with the KLR's. Not inferior, just different. Obviously, they are slower (which may not matter on gravel) and have less carrying capacity. Still, these are very competent on a mostly off-pavement adventure tour. A lot of people swear by the KLR - after all, this was the original universal adventure machine. I even know of a local couple here who do some serious riding two-up (!) on a well-equipped KLR650.

As a matter of fact, until recently my focus was on sport-touring and my main bike was a K1200RS. At the time I also had KLR650's for local playtime, so that I have been very familiar with these machines to start with.

Recently I am much more into long-distance adventure-touring (typically, into Canadian provinces, north from where I live) and that includes some very serious highway distances. That's where the R1200GS excels: I can ride hundreds and hundreds of miles in high-speed comfort and then still have a competent gravel bike. (Last month, I set my personal record: 900 miles in one day, returning from James Bay on the GS).


What I am trying to say is that a KLR may not be the best choice for the significant distances we cover here, but I would not hesitate to ride it again if my adventure playgrounds were close-by - such as, for you, ferrying from Southern Europe to North Africa, as an example.

Also, in certain locations KLR-type bike may be the only choice. Patagonia is very expensive; Motoaventura, a big Chilean touring oufit, was offering F650GS in US$200+/day range, plus $300 delivery to Punta Arenas.

For your Spanish trip, you may indeed want to look into rentals. Last summer, I rented an R1200RT from Iberian Moto Tours in Barcelona - it was not very expensive and the service was good. They do have smaller bikes as well; I needed the RT because that time my wife joined me for a few days of exploring the Pyrenees. With the very inexpensive intra-European flight and rail connections you guys have, renting a bike may be the right choice.



Regarding Patagonian costs: our deal with Roberto was somewhat unstructured. As I recall, we paid US$100/day for each of our bikes and somewhere in the range of $200/day for him on his bike. Accommodations (generally $50-80/room), food and fuel were paid separately. Keep in mind that this is what I remember right now - may be wrong - and that these were 2009 prices.

It's in the ballpark, though. In late '07, we rode in South Africa; over there we paid in the range of US$1200-1500 per rider for 6-7 days rental of R1150GS with accommodations and another $1500 for the guide.

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Old 10-18-2010, 06:52 AM   #37
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Great report... Chile sounds like a nice place to be.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:22 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker

Also, in certain locations KLR-type bike may be the only choice.
Thanks for the reply, I never really meant "inferior" in a literal sense, I was more refering to the difference of comfort, performance and farkles between a new GS and a rental KLR... I believe those bikes are very decent and their popularity agrees with that statement.

I can see that you "buy" your time in order to get what you are after, airtickets alone cost a fortune to South America, add to that an overhead of $200 per day (bike and shared guide), and you still have to pay everything else regarding the stay. It still sounds expensive, but in the end, you did something epic, you rode to the end of the world, I believe that for someone who has the ability to spend a few extra money and who has a decent job that forbids multi-month absences, it is certainly worth it than staying home and reading about it from other people's RRs...
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:58 PM   #39
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Great Report. I have been to Chile but never as far south as you went. On my bucket list. Especially Torres del Paine area.
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:43 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
Hey, GB: thanks for the support (and for "sticky-fying" this thread).

Although this is not a "hardcore" adventure trip, of the sort where the rider fights the natives and dangerous animals, lives on berries and maggots, hacks his way through the jungle..., etc., etc., it may appeal to the inmates who travel on limited schedule and want to see and enjoy exotic locales, while still availing themselves of the spoils of civilization (cappuccino being a symbol of that in my mind).

It is always an Adventure, after all - and your ADV stickers did travel with us to Patagonia!

I am ashamed to acknowledge this, but I never made it to Naples. My Italian adventures always took me to Milan and to the Italian Alps - great motorcycling venue, by the way.

Same story with your home base: come to think of it, I last time I was in Romania was over 30 years ago.

I think now it's time to rectify that: in near future, I should revisit Italy and go riding in your country. I understand that it is a great ADV destination.

I still remember the Turkish coffee I had in Bucharest, sold by street vendors out of little carts, prepared in copper cups buried in hot sand. Do they still have these?
What can i say, amazing trip. From here it looks for me that you went at the end of the world, wild and mysterious as it can be. I'm happy for you. Also the report was interesting, I heard about Malvine conflict but I didn't know how it started. It's surprising for me and pity that Argentina and Chile don't have good relations, they share one of the most beautiful part of the world.
I hope you will never find that great cappuccino, keep searching and do amazing trips :))). I'm glad that you were here in Romania and you enjoyed it. I'm sorry to tell you that it's very hard to find that turkish coffee these days. I never tasted it, I was a child when that coffee was on top. After Ceausescu's regime fall the romanians embraced the american and italian style of making coffee, but we are not so good :). You can try the wine instead, it is very good and we have a lot, sometimes is cheaper than water :) (I never buy this one). If you plan someday to come here I will be glad to help, and if I have time I can join you. It is a very beautiful country and for you will be more interesting to see how it changed, or not, in all these years. It's hard to compare Romania with Argentina and Chile, Romania looks like a bug on the map comparing with those two countries (the only common thing is those stray dogs) but you can find interesting stuff here also, like this :):
http://www.220.ro/auto/Top-Gear-Pe-T...an/vprFlfI3CO/
http://www.bmw-motorrad.ro/inchiriere.html
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:28 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by quicktoys2
... I was wondering if you have chosen the winning Cappuccino of this trip, and in which country and town that would be...
Guess what: until you asked, I really did not consider this question.

Upon further consideration, there was no BEST cappuccino! They were all great - actually, I don't even remember how great or how bad they were.

I came to the conclusion that it does not really matter; the enjoyment is in being in an unusual, exotic place, or in having a pleasant experience being served (like by this girl tending the bar in hosteria at Lago Fagnano), or in just having an ADVENTURE!



So, I cannot recommend a specific place. I am afraid you will have to travel all over Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, to sample your own.

Good luck - hopefully, you can do it soon!

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Old 10-18-2010, 07:04 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doring
.... I'm glad that you were here in Romania and you enjoyed it. I'm sorry to tell you that it's very hard to find that turkish coffee these days. I never tasted it, I was a child when that coffee was on top. After Ceausescu's regime fall the romanians embraced the american and italian style of making coffee, but we are not so good :). You can try the wine instead, it is very good and we have a lot, sometimes is cheaper than water :) (I never buy this one). If you plan someday to come here I will be glad to help, and if I have time I can join you. It is a very beautiful country and for you will be more interesting to see how it changed, or not, in all these years. It's hard to compare Romania with Argentina and Chile, Romania looks like a bug on the map comparing with those two countries (the only common thing is those stray dogs) but you can find interesting stuff here also, like this :):
http://www.220.ro/auto/Top-Gear-Pe-T...an/vprFlfI3CO/
http://www.bmw-motorrad.ro/inchiriere.html
Thanks! You never know, one day I may take you up on your offer of showing me around Romania. Yes, it is a small nation, but rich in culture and in natural beauty - I am certain that there is plenty to explore. (Besides, I've got to try that Romanian wine; I've heard about it, but it does not make it's way into North American stores.)

Do not feel shy about Romania - I'd expect the best there. I have traveled, not only by bike, to a great number of places in the world (I guess my age shows) and almost all experiences were wonderful. Once you meet people face-to-face, the ugliness of politics is forgotten - I am always reminded how much we are the same, even if we are different.

Being on a bike is an additional door-opener: in general, people will be extra friendly and helpful to a traveler on a motorcycle. I think that this is due to an appreciation of the effort spent to get to the destination and maybe a trace of jealousy of the opportunity to do so.


Of course, I am disappointed by disappearance of the Turkish coffee carts. I guess that this is just like I what have seen happen in other Easter-European countries that did the proverbial spilling of baby with the bathwater. Upon fall of communist governments, anything associated with the old way of living, even if good, was frowned upon - and anything associated with the West, even if awful, was embraced. A very common story...


So, enjoy the ride - and don't crash like te Top Gear guys did - hopefully we will meet somewhere on the road, with cappuccino or not.

Thanks for the link to the Bucharest rentals. Filing for future use.
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:53 PM   #43
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Nice ride report. I had the opportunity to visit Punta Arenas, Santiago and Lima while in the U.S. Navy during the late '80's. Peru was still a dangerous place when we visited. We were told not to leave the quiet port town where our destroyer was moored, but my friends and I hired a taxi and went to Lima anyway. It was a very modern city even then. A year or two after my visit to Lima terrorists blew up the Kentucky Fried Chicken we saw but didn't eat at. I also participated in a command sponsored visit with the U.S. Marines who guarded our embassy there. They picked us up in armored SUV's and took us to their well fortified compound in the city. Santiago seems much more modern in your photos than I remember it. It had more of a colonial feel to it when I was there, but I did not venture more than a couple blocks from the port. I saw very little of Punta Arenas. Our ship anchored in the harbor and we only had one 20-person motor whale boat to transfer everyone to the pier for liberty. Priority for liberty was based on rank, and being an E-3 at the time I spent about two-hours waiting to get off the ship. I only had about three-hours on shore before I had to return to the pier for the ride back to the destroyer. As I recall there was a ski slope on the hillside above town (no snow though while I was there). Thanks for the great photos and the chance to see what things look like today.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:48 AM   #44
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The place looks awsome...thanks for taking us along.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:35 AM   #45
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Great Story

Great story !!!!! Defineatly on my bucket list !!!
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