Road Log

Keeping track: daily the latest highlights updates, statistics and fun local facts. 

Let's gooooo....!!!!
 

Every four years we live in an other country, so the challenge is to thoroughly explore the new country of residence, as well as the neighboring countries. 

We consulted with the Panda (our car) who was excited about our simple plan: Drive all the way South, then all the way back up North...

Rough estimate - around 17.500 km on the road. With many expected highlights, like a dream coming true - visit PENGUINS in Antarctica.


What other highlights are planned in our itinerary?

... read on ...

Track: Lima - Camana

A good start is half the work, as a Dutch saying goes.  Leaving Lima at 5.46 am surely was a good start: no traffic clutter on our way out. 

Just after the small town of Chincha, there is the place where they serve the best French Fries in Peru. Also at 8.05 am in the morning...

Travelling abroad, we will miss out on the Peruvian culinary delights. So we had lunch at one of our other 
favourite restaurants 'on the road' in Chala. 
Wondering if Cissy nearly died again there?

... read on ...

 

 

Track Camana to Moquegua

A scenic easy drive from Camana to Moquegua, just 264 km so no need to get up early.  Perfect tarmac, what a joy to drive at, so our Panda was very happy today.


Relaxed poolside afternoon, yathzee competition heating up.  Sunset was the orange-blue highlight of the day - absolutely stunning!

On the road, we found out about the Nasca graffiti skills of the toddler of our good friends. Interesting, his take on the Nasca lines...

...read on ...

Track: Moquegua, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia

Exciting day for many reasons. Firstly, first time to take the Panda for a high altitude drive. The car cruises fine at 4741 meters altitude, no sweat!

Last time I was in Bolivia I did not even have a driving license... Driving straight into the La Paz clutter, I heard Jurgens remark: ''Even I would not be happy to drive into this chaos of people and market stalls''. Well, guess I've come a long way since then, as we reached the hotel without a single scratch. 

What more changed in twenty years? 

... read on ...

Track - getting re-acquinted with La Paz city

Twenty years back from our first apartment we had a full view at our beloved Illumuni mountain. We woke up to the same view this morning. A beautiful Deja Vu
Being in La Paz feels like being back home again after a too long time.

12.064 steps in a city on 11.942 feet altitude - that might have been a bit much for the first day... 
Hooray for coca-tea!

Today was a feast of recognition; you still need to bargain the taxi prices down to half of it, and the mystic spell of the witch market seems timeless. 

And there were many new 
surprises. Like new colours appeared into the city street view - which makes one float!  How so? 

... read on ...

 

Track: Exploring the Blue, Red and Orange Cable Car lines

Our plan for today: Floating!  Where to start? Oh well, let’s focus on the Dutch coloured ones – the red, white, blue and orange lines.  

It is truly a wonderful new way of sight-seeing the city: Comfortable. Fast. Safe. Easy.

And so enjoyable to talk with the other passengers in your cabin. Or sometimes... outside rush hours... you might catch a cabin just for the two of you : )

... read on ...

Track: Memory Lane La Paz 20 years back and nowadays

it was all about achieving new personal records today: 
Firstly - celebrating our 20th year Jurci anniversary.

Secondly - joining the Guinness Book of Records: La Paz features in it with the record of 'the longest cable car line in the world'. 
We went at the yellow line today, the last one to complete all 30 kilometres of cable car coverage La Paz has.

Lastly, we did set some personal records in the category 'gastronomy'. I have to say, sometimes a 'more-or-less' understanding of Spanish can be a great aid to actually achieve a new record. How so? 
... read on ...​​​​

 

Track: Sleep inn, lunch at the historic center and lounging in hotel

A true gem in the Bolivian culinary scene - Ali Pachi in the historic centre of La Paz. Chef Antonio, thanks for the opportunity to have a photography-peak into the kitchen! 

Facing the fact we will have to leave La Paz, we got updated about some severe floodings on our planned route. So back to Google Earth, to get some re-routing done.

With the new find fact - we need already 4 layers of clothes to keep us warm - will we extremely replan and skip the Antartica part? 

... read on ...

Track: La Paz to Cochabamba, Bolivia

Leaving La Paz hidden in a chilly spooky fog, we drove towards the sun in Cochabamba.

The Panda had good fun on some muddy roads, so first things first: getting the car de-mudded to its original white colour...

After that, time for a walk through the city centre. Taking in the abundance of colours, and enjoying the beautiful blossoming flower and lush greenery. 

What did we not enjoy? 

... read on ... 

Track - Walking and Working

A very enjoyable day at Cochabamba. An errand-run to get some local car insurance arranged turned out to be a pleasant walk.

Jurgen in suit-and-tie again, off for a work lunch and visit. Cissy leisurely strolling the streets. As you have to be careful not to be run over by speed-loving-bus-drivers, you do have time to admire this 'Art on Wheels'.

What is our top tree of Cochabamba?

... read on ...

 

Track: Cochabamba to Salar de Uyuni

A stunning drive from Cochabamba to Salar de Uyuni, passing the Garden of Stones as one of the many lovely sceneries.

 

Close to Uyuni, we had to call in the help of the Orange Warriors to make our Mud-Brown car sparkling white again.

  

As the Panda never saw a train in its life, so we went to the train station at Salar de Uyuni. Where we quickly concluded those trains won't be our alternative transport for the rest of the trip. However, we spectacular surprise was awaiting us.
... read on ...

Track: from hotel room, to lobby, to restaurant to heli-platform

A strike in Salar de Uyuni blocked the roads, so we were 'locked in' at our hotel.

Good timing - as it coincided
with the first day of the 'travellers belly' one is about certain to catch at an extended road trip.

The spectacular
ending of the day: Thunder and Lighting!

... read on ...

Track: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia to Tilcara, Argentina

Certainly, today was a breath-taking day. In many ways. Close to Tilcara are the 14 seven coloured mountains, stunning breath-taking in their beauty. They are extra breath-taking, - literally -, when you decide to mini-hike closer to them. Hiking at 4.300 meters makes you gasp for air.

Little did I know at that moment it would get worse this same day. Just a few miles more and we will reach our hotel. The owner did notify us, it's a little rural in its location. Lovely we thought. 

Just - with a 2-meter wide car, on a curvy gravel mountain path that's only one track wide - encountering a farmer with his herd of cows and two horses, manoeuvring to make it work, was no fun at all.
What food helps to forget about this horrific road experience?

... read on ...

Track: Tilcara to Salta, Argentina

'Mi Corazon' - my heart was so happy today. Meeting up with Jurgens dad and his spouse Graciela - whom we did not see for a too long time. Catch-Up family time! 

Salta is, among others, famous for its peñas. Best of several worlds come together there: Good Food and Drinks, Shared with Family&Friends and Live Music!
Rodrigo Moro - what a voice, what a performer, music how music is supposed to be!

Was my theory about 'mandatory words' in Latin songs validated?

... read on ...

Track: Salta City, on foot

 

The sky came falling down on us today in Salta. Or was it raining cats and dogs? 
Nevertheless, we won't melt from a bit of rain, so off to the handicraft
 market we were.

 

Like magpies, Graciela and I were drawn to the stands with the silver handcrafted jewellery. Time enough for us to have a good look around. Because we smartly installed 'the men'  on a terrace,  where they were utterly content with their beer and yathzee game. Who won?
... read on ...

Track: Salta city center to Vaqueros, village 30 minutes drive - located in abudant green valley

One more? Of Course!  #faileddiet  #again
How can one say no when the most delicious BBQ-ed meats are offered to you? Right, one can't, and more importantly, one should not. While in Argentina, better max enjoy it while it lasts...

In Argentina, sharing food goes hand in hand with live music it seems. So we were treated on a  Superb private concert by Salta's best drummer and acoustic singing by the host family. Did we sing as well?

... read on ...

Track: Salta to Tucuman

Unbelievable. On tarmac all day, and just on 20 meters at gravel side of the road: Cissy managed to pick up a flat tire. Right-rear-tire slashed beyond reparation. 

The horses came to rescue, to distract Cissy from the profound scratch on her drivers-ego. Jurgen and Alex were in charge of changing the tire, with a pit-stop time that would plunge Dutch F1
coureur Max Verstappen into a deep depression.

In the end, a big stone was the essential part to get the job done. How so? 

... read on ...

Track: sight seeing the historic city center of Tucuman

Historic day - visiting the history of Argentina. Which for Graciela and Jurgen was also a walk on memory lane of their primary school days.

Tucuman is the place where the independent republic of Argentina was founded. We visited the room in 'Casa de la Independencia' were the papers were signed.

How did Jurgen and Graciela feel to see the object of their art classes drawings in reality?

... read on ...​​

Track: Tucuman to El Chiflon, Argentina

Leaving the abundant green of Tucuman, we headed to the dry  Chiflon desert. At these desolate stretches you better fuel up, as petrol stations are scarce in number.

The Shell station has been around for a long time, as they have Industrial Art at display: the first Petrol Pumps. Antique by now!

At Chiflon we were greeted by a blazing heat, best described as 'walking in the breeze of a hair-dryer on full -heat'. We loved it! 

... read on ...

Track: hotel only

We woke up to the intense desert heat, so lovely! The Panda had good fun as well, converting itself for the day to the Zebra look.

There are stunning national parks to visit close-by,  
however, we decided to be completely lazy and just do.... as close to nothing as is possible. Enjoying the heat, the fine food and games #lazyholiday
Or were we challenged to do some hopping around after all? 

... read on ...

22 - Totally Unplugged

Track: El Chiflón to Las Leñas, Argentina

Confronted with a Lessemsaurus Sauropoides on the road, the Panda got scared.  And speeded up to 255 km an hour to escape from this pre-historic creature.  Or, was that just a hick up in our Garmin soft ware?

 

On the Garmin's defense - this all happened very early morning, and we did not have had our coffee break yet. Did we continue the day at Max Verstappen F1 speed?

... read on ...

23 - About Curves, continuous lines and Bienvenido a Chile

Track: Las Leñas, Argentina to Santiago de Chile, Chile

Leaving behind the unconnected reality of Las Leñas - we entered the road fun of Chile, starting out with 17 U-shaped curves!

Beautiful sights on mountains, and later on lush green valleys. Sometimes the views were blocked a bit slow driving trucks. Nothing to be done about that, as in Chile, you better not cross the yellow continuous line at the road.

We drove 171 km, to find out at the end of day that 2.05 meter or 1.95 meter can be an crucial difference.

... read on ...

24 - Looking like a Lost Puppy - gets you free rides

Track: Taxi, Walking, Bus, Metro in Santiago de Chile (Cissy) - @ the office (Jurgen)

Shop-till-you-Drop, this time for a new tire for the car. Looking like a lost puppy does help.  To get you from middle of industrial nowhere to down town.

Down town i got confronted with a delicate discussion: is Pisco by origin a Peruvian or Chilean drink? An apron came to the rescue to settle that dilemma:

 

Pisco is... 

... read on ...

25 - Home-Hotel-Office at Double Tree hotel

Track: Hotel room to Lobby and Jurgen @ the Office... walking to Sushi Restaurant

Mexico, Japan, Qatar, Lima getting together in one day in Santiago de Chile.

And of course, it all had to do with eigther food or road fun. Facing irrational fear for rules and coping with severe disappointment, yet it was a day full of highlight regardless.

... read on ...

27 - Getting Business Done - Mi Amor

Track: Wazing around (Cissy) - Jurgen on diplomatic route (working day)

Apart from 3 kisses to greet one each other, Dutch people might come across a bit 'reserved' in daily contacts. Not here in Chile. Right away you are 'Mi Amor', my Love, for street vendors selling you the booklet 'Road Law of Chile', taxi drivers and waiters in restaurants...

Key is to just smile and get down to business. Getting things done. Like ensuring the tires are all on 37 psi air pressure. Succesful day, so time to celebrate that with some tire shaped food. What was for dinner?

... read on ... 

29 - Turn Right, Right, and Right - then straight on cruising south

Track: Santiago de Chile to Loncoche, Chile

Today we learnt the value of Cruise Control - and the costs of 6 seconds not driving with cruise control.
 

So on cruising speed we took in the abundant green of the trees and the sadness of black fields: caused by the forest fires Chile is  plagued by. 

 

Before we saw the snow-capped vulcanos, CIssy to her delight discovered Mega Mars Mellows, ready to be harvested.

... read on ....

30 - White Volcanos of Puerto Varas

Track: Loncoche to Puerto Varas, Chile

Puerto Varas is such a lovely town, with breathtaking views on the lake and the volcano from the hotel room. It was a nice Lazy Sunday with a twist. New information acquired: on to Google Earth to re-plan a major part of our trip.

Meanwhile, thinking out of the box: photography gear can help out as an essential part to get laundry done. How?

... read on ....

Travelling is not only about new experiences, also, it is what one does with those experience.

After a long day in the car, with an unpleasant time consuming border crossing, we were zombied out. And Hungry. No energy left to drag us down to the restaurant.

To our delight - also in our Jungle Book Tree hut, there was room service. Our food was just marching down at the balcony. Quickly, get the forks and dinner is ready!

 

New perspectives of Gustu put to practice : )
... read on ...

Terra Luna, at Puerto Guadal has the loveliest cabanas, tree huts, domes and a pirate boat to spend the night. First night we spend in a tree hut - waking up in the high front row seat to enjoy the first rays of sunlight striking the Andes mountain peaks.

From our Jungle Book tree hut we went to Pirates of the Non-Caribbean. With a 14 days boat tour to Antarctica in prospect, we reckoned we could do with some boating experience.

How that worked out?

… read on …

All day it was heavily clouded and almost constantly rain pouring down.

Perfect! 
As even during a holiday, one has 'errands' to do. Like cleaning the car and do some hand-wash laundry. 

Errands don't take all day, and nothing much to do with this rain. So there was plenty of time for ... "I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay, Wastin' time"*.
Or did we go out of our way to cook up a Haute Cuisine Pirate boat dinner?

... read on ...

* Otis Redding - enjoy on YouTube 

37 - Estancia Santa Thelma - a mini world on its own

Track: Puerto Guadal, Chile to Estancia Santa Thelma, Argentina

While planning our route 'From Lima to Antarctica' we aim to spend the night at interesting places or towns. However, there is always a stretch, where it seems nothing much is going on.

So mapping out the track from Puerto Guadal, Chile and El Calafate, Argentina, we had a challenge. As, even for us, it's too far to drive it in one day. So that means, finding a place to sleep in the middle of nowhere of the Patagonian Emptiness."Surprisingly" there seemed only very few accommodations to spend the night.

Not in the mood to drag along camping gear for just a night, we decided to take a little detour and stay at Estancia Santa Thelma.  That stay will end up in our top 5 of this trip! Why?

... read on ...


 

Guess every country has it's own famous route, that you 'Must Have' driven.
In Argentina that is Ruta National 40. It starts in the North, at the Bolivian border, all the way down deep south Tierra del Fuego.

Some people ask; isn't it boring to drive through just flat landscape? Well, to quote my favorite song*:  'Don't you dare close your eyes, there are hundred thousand things to see' Like what things?? 
... read on ... and see for yourself

* Aladdin- A whole new world, Disney - click for the link at youtube 

39 - Guanaco as Early Bird, La Panda handling the Austral wind and Spooky Mountains

Track: El Calafate, Argentina to Torres del Paine, Chile

Driving through the pampas of Argentina, there is never a dull moment. Right at sunrise, with sun in blinding straight angle to the car, a Guanacu decided to cross the road...

Oeps...
It was probably on the run for the UFO from space that just landed!
Or was it in a race with the aliens to be first reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?


At the end of the trip we were welcomed in Chile by an - Dûh - Original Chilean Condor. Torres del Paine decided to put on it's Halloween face- the Spooky look!~
...read on ...

40 - After the Rain, The Sun Comes Out – revealing the majestic rocks of the Torres del Paine mountains

Track 40 – exploring national park ‘Torres del Paine’, Chile

After Rain, The Sun Comes Out’ a Dutch saying, was right again. (Na Regen komt Zonneschijn). This meant already at the breakfast we had a most amazing view on the massive mountains and pointy peaks of Torres del Paine.

Perfect day to explore the park – where we greeted Guanaco’s, noticed that not all Flamingo's got The Memo and we discovered a kobolt. We needed to do some serious math as well. Calculating exactly not to run out of fuel. 
.
.. read on ...

41 - A Chilly Pisco Sour- by an Angel appearing from Spooky Grey Clouds

Track – Lago Grey at national park Torres del Paine

Today we signed up for a Boat excursion, embarking at the boat 'Lago Grey III' to see the Glacier Grey up-close.

Great grey cloudy views on vicious pointy mountains. With spooky dark clouds and sometimes a ray of sun breaking through.

Next thing- Bright blue Ice and an Angel to keep us warm. In a very ecologically way using the glaciers ice! How?

... read on ...

42 - Circling Condors in the air and hissing air escaping from our tire

Track: Torres del Paine to Punta Arenas, Chile

Driving of in time was double rewarded today: 
Firstly with stunning sunrise views on Torres del Paine.
Secondly, we were in time to take the Y290 route to Puerto Natales, before it was blocked for road work the rest of the day. Yay!

We continued following the road signs ‘Ruta Fin del Mundo’(Route To the End of the World). On the road we met up with impressive condors, roadrunner-birdies and Orange Beak birds and a Forklift Truck. What a forklift truck has to do with anything?

... read on ...

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43 - Garbage Sunrise and Singing in the Rain with King Penguins

Track: Punta Arenas, Chile to Rio Grande, Argentina

Lining up to board the ferry, we got the doubtful joy of finding beauty in a Garbage Sunrise. Sad to notice how plastic waste conquers the world everywhere.

Leaving the ferry we discovered a vicious little nail that wanted to tag along to our penguin visit. Signifying: our third flat tire of the trip. O well, patch it with a Sun sticker and back on track to visit the King Penguins! What this has to do with the movie Singing in the Rain? 

... read on ...

44 - After 9.917 km driving - we are at the harbor Ushuaia, embarking soon to Antarctica

Track: Rio Grande to Ushuaia - Worlds Most Southern City, Argentina

Lima to Antarctica- and back; the Grand Plan of our current road trip. One important milestone we reached today: Harbor Ushuaia. Where we had to be in time, to board the icebreaker vessel Ortelius to Antarctica.

The upcoming days details to be arranged, things on the list like laundry, finding a secure parking spot for the car. That's a bit of an issue it seems

... read on ...

45 - Finding a Hotel for La Panda and keeping our heads Not Cool

Track: Running back-and-forth in Ushuaia, Argentina

La Panda decided not to tag along at the Antarctica cruise.  So we had to find a good place for two weeks for our car.

We did not expect this to be so complicated; after an intensive search Cissy came to the point - "Let's ask the police to keep the car in custody till the 28th".

Luckily, it did not have to come to that. The Tourist Office at Ushuaia went out of their way and brought us in contact with Alejandro. With this issue out of the way, we start sorting what to leave and what to take to the Antarctica cruise. For sure - Pink Pepperpod Body Wash is essential! Why? 
... read on ...