After over a month or so of remote places I have arrived at the sprawling metropolis of Santiago home to over 5 million people.
On this trip I never planned on doing the tourist thing in any big cities but on the approach to Santiago I met a cycle tourist who pretty much convinced me to spend the day cruising around the city and to ride up the Cerro San Christogh he also very kindly gave me a load more welcome advice about the road ahead too.
Anyway as it was Sunday, also haunted with the fact that It might be a long time before I’m cycling by Santiago again on a Sunday morning. I took the second ring road entering this grand Capital.
Unfortunately It was not the best choice of road as it was downtrodden end of town (all cities have em) Riding through the burnt out bins and cardboard box houses I felt like Snake Pliscen from Escape from New York (my favourite film of all time)
It was 8am on Sunday morning though so the locals were literally ALL sleeping, sleeping in tunnels, on benches, doorways and just on the grass in parks. Half of these people didn’t even look like homeless people, more like normal people that decided to sleep on the floor, Maybe the taxi’s are expensive in Santiago so you just sleep in the city after a night out? Sadly this is probably not the case.
After cruising though the suburbs and parks of which there are loads of, all lined with cycle lanes, I was in the city centre where there was some kind of national parade going on outside the palace. The army guys we’re Immaculate and the brass band we’re banging out some pretty powerful patriotic tunes. The whole thing made even me proud to be Chilean and I’m a Brit.
Then it was onto this Cerro san Christogh mini mountain where anyone who’s into fitness goes on a Sunday to Nail it up to the top and back down. Needless to say I was passed by about a hundred carbon road bikes and plenty of mountain bikes too as apparently a cycle tourist with carrying 2 days worth of water is about the same speed as a Rollerblader.
At the top I was like a tourist attraction with loads of people coming up to me and trying to pick the bike up and having their photo taken with me.
Here I also met another cycle tourist who was too cool for school and had done everything bigger and better. I asked him where he just came from and he said Uyuni in Bolivia, so i very enthusiastically said I’m heading there (which I am) then he replied by bike? and I said err yea course mate. Then this cocky git proceeded to tell me I was carrying too much weight and I wouldn’t make it as the bike would sink into the deep gravel and I would have to push for days.
I didn’t like the way he delivered that fact so when it got to the point in the conversation where he asked me where I was riding too, I lied and said northern Alaska!!! He then fired a bullet back at me and asked for my blog page to which I replied oh I don’t believe it blogging and all that…. I just ride Ahhhh you should have seen his face.
Ooh the things that amuse you after a few weeks by yourself on the road hey.
Santiago was definitely worth the trip in for the day, great to see so many cycle lanes some, some awesome colonial architecture and some fab Cafe’s before I head off int the desert.