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So far Fredrika Ek has created 96 entries.

Gratitude & Gamla Gubbar

1st of January.

It really is one of those dates, isn’t it? One which we can ask anyone about at any time, and know that they will be able to recall just what they did that day. Where. And with who.

I can too. Though not necessarily because of it being just New Years. Maybe a little bit because I started it in the comfiest bed in history. But more than anything, because I was literally pulled out of it at bloody 5 o’clock in the morning.

…!

Let me explain.

Two years back I spent a crisp New Years Eve at my friend’s house back in my home town. Standing next to her, ankle deep in snow I was watching fireworks light up a pitch black sky, thinking of nothing but how this was my last Swedish New Years in forever.

I was wrong.

Exactly one year later.

New Years Eve again. Surrounded by my whole family, I was burying my toes in the wet sand of the crowded beach in tourist mayhem Hua Hin, Thailand. I was watching fireworks just like the year before, with the main difference being that time also while trying to avoid getting set on fire by any of the way too many burning lanterns other Scandinavian tourists were miserably failing with getting into the air.

Like so many times before I spent the first trembling minutes of the new year watching the sky. Silently laughing to the memory of my aching heart from the previous year. Thinking how this was probably my most cliché Swedish New Years ever. Following the shrinking light from a one of the hundred lanterns drifting further and further up in the sky, I started playing with the thought of how in the world I would be spending the next one. Where? And with who..?

Not in a million years, would I have been able to guess.

But to no one’s surprise but mine – did also this one end up being Swedish. (I’m rapidly going all international though, adding a dash of Norway this time..!)

5 am.

The New Years party is still in full swing. And the streets of El Bolsón, Argentina are filled with beautiful people in all ages and levels of intoxication more or less consciously making their way into 2017. We all know how more or less how these things go, right?

The air is cool but comfortable enough even for the girls in the very shortest dresses. The backdrop from the still open nightclub is sending physical pulses through the air of the entire town. Upset voices of an arguing couple are being drowned out by the ecstatic laughters of that big group of teenage girls who’ve probably all been best friends since before they were even old enough to know their own names.

Someone’s lying passed out in the grass on the town plaza. Next to him, sits someone mid-mission of rapidly stuffing his face with a massive pizza. Because in practice it still sort of is 2016 – right? That whole get thin thing doesn’t really start until after you wake up on the 1st. Everyone knows that. Right..?

Dawn is on a slow, but steady approach. Crashing in with just enough light for people to slowly start realising that it might actually be time to head home after all.

There is one thing though, that doesn’t make any logical sense whatsoever, this particular new years morning in El Bolsón. And that is a dumb ass Scandinavian group of lycra dressed cyclists rolling through town like a not-even-funny mirage made up by someone on too many hallucinogens.

And in the middle of it – is me :-)

Though there are a million things to be said about the week I ended up spending as the Bariloche adoptive daughter of Laban, Bebben and Holte, I’ll keep it short. In practice it consisted of one day of cycling together, and then me recovering from a way too persistent sickness that these lovely souls for no reason decided to give me the circumstances and support to finally get well from.

Finally feeling well physically was great. Emotionally though, this week was something I didn’t fully grasp until afterwards how much – and desperately – I had actually needed. Sure, these 3 mad men were just as new in my life as any- and everything else I fill my days, weeks, months and years with. But still they gave me a sense of familiarity and being home that I honestly can’t even remember when truly experiencing last.

This boosted my spirit. On a level that still today – a good month later – is sinking in a little more for each passing day. Like I said, I needed this. I needed these people.

And they were totally worth getting up at 5 am for.

Thank you. All three of you.

Thank you for everything.

I don’t need to write here what that everything means. You know already. Probably still more so than I do myself.

And just in case you’ve had time to forget it until then – I’ll make sure to remind you of it when we see each other back home again.

Och Holte:

– Man må jo gå for drømmen sin, ikke sant?

Tack för allt. Era fina jävla människor.

Until next time,

Fredrika

By |February 13th, 2017|South America, Travel Logs|

Sharing A Christmas Pudding

Thought I’d squeeze in a few more words on Carretera Austral that I sort of forgot (totally ignored) in my last entry. Remember how I told you how this wonder world of a place is constituted of millions of flowers painting on-the-ground rainbows, sky high waterfalls, lush greenery and ever flowing rivers rushing pass you at any and every given moment?

Naturally that’s not the entire story.

And just as naturally – the other part of it is that this place is wet.

Landscapes like this require rain. And lots of it. As always you get vastly different responses depending on who you ask, but let’s settle with some happy medium and state that this stretch of Chile receives an annual rainfall hovering around a good 3-6 000 mm. Which is a lot. Really a lot.

And I got my fair share of it.

I’ve cycled with loads of rain before. But this was the first time ever that I’ve gone for 15 days straight without getting to stay dry for a single one of them. But hey, the combination of being spoiled with some incredible gear and the fact that I never really grew out of the whole playing-in-puddles thing as a kid – I really didn’t mind.

Or well. With the exception of when stubborn low hanging clouds blocked my views.

Since the rain does become quite a massive part of your life when living outdoors, I just felt like mentioning it. Though not really like dwelling on it for too long. Something – or someone – worthy of far more characters in this post is Mark. The 70 000 km-under-his-belt Englishman who randomly became my very welcome partner in crime for what is likely to remain the wettest week of Christmas I’ll ever experience.

Because even if you’re one of those people who claim that ‘rain doesn’t bother you’ (nice try, Fredrika..), it is a heck of a lot nicer to live through it in some good company.

Together we rode some hills. Ate shitloads of cookies (Triton, anyone?). Celebrated Christmas in style.


Most well earned Christmas pudding in history..


Flown over from England, ridden some 2000 km through Patagonia. Enjoy it, man!

…and then decided to call it quits with the whole rain-and-cyclist-highway thing and make a swift escape to sunny Argentina on the other side of the mountains.


Only one way to go!

And boy – were we rewarded.


First sun in living memory

I don’t need to say much more, do I? Together Mark & I have the memories of close to a 1000 camp nights written down in our diaries. Many of them great. Some absolutely amazing. Then there are those ones that you’ll simply remember for as long as you live.

And this one – the very first one back Argentinian soil. Being dry and warm, watching the sun set behind the mountains we’d just left behind us. With a folding cup of wine and the promise of nothing but a smiling sun for days – maybe weeks – to come.

This was one of them.

Until next time,

Fredrika

Carretera Austral

Since the very beginning this has been like clockwork. The more intense this journey gets in real life, the further behind is this digital attempt of making a bit of sense of it all. Sitting down I realise that though the last post was published a week ago, the events in is actually took place a good two months earlier.

This is why I figured it’s time to play a game of Catch with reality, and quickly speed though this chunk of Patagonia that I in all honesty don’t really know what to say about anyways.

So, in the name of speed – I…

1) Made my weirdest border crossing up to date.


Lago del Desierto between Argentina & Chile


The oh so shy peak of Mt. Fitz Roy

2) Once again, found myself in Chile.

3) Hit the legendary Carretera Austral.

Carretera Austral.

I’m not the first, and far from the last cyclist to dream about this place. Or stretch of road – to be more accurate. Around the globe there a few of these routes that for whatever reason have gained an absolute legendary status within the bicycle touring world. There is the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. The Karakorum Highway in Pakistan. On a more accessible note there is is the EuroVelo 6 along the Danube. And then there is this one. Carretera Austral, in Chile.

Renowned for it’s ever changing scenery where dramatic mountains, crystal clear rivers and epic waterfalls are as given part of any day as the steep gravel hills you need to climb in order to earn them – this one is a must for anyone traversing the continent by bicycle. And it is the one and only destination for countless two wheeled travellers who each summer are flying across the world just to ride it.

And oh yes indeed – is this place beautiful. Mindbogglingly so.

For me personally though, these 1000 something kilometers were one slow realisation of just how messed up this life of the road have made me. This was 3 weeks out in the open. Through and along this otherworldly scenery in which Disney simply haven’t come around to set a movie yet. On a quiet road that seemingly carries more fully loaded bicycles than cars. Up and down the rolling hills connecting the small countryside villages along the way.

Freedom, right? For all I know this should be the very definition of that.

Still I couldn’t help but to feel absolutely trapped.

I don’t think I need to tell you guys that I am absolutely spellbound by spending loads of time inside dramatic postcard scenery. With living life with the sky as my only ceiling. With meeting likeminded people out and about on their own travels. I’m forever and truly in love with all of that.

Predictability though?

No. Not at all.

I ask myself how exactly this came to be. I ask myself when. Sometimes also what it will mean once I finally park up Mr. Bike, back home in Sweden and the end destination of this journey. More often than not while deliberately avoiding to answer that last question.

For now, I’ll just settle with stating the fact;

Predictability has become my kryptonite.

Every inch of this road is neatly documented online. The road which is getting sealed as we speak. Apps are pointing out GPS points to ‘secret’ camp spots. I bumped into more cyclists during these 3 weeks than I have during the rest of this almost 2 year long trip combined. And the locals are about as surprised to see us as they are to see the sun rise in the morning.


Though obviously meeting cyclists is always awesome. More the merrier :-)

Don’t get me wrong now. Carretera Austral – by definition – is a bicycle touring destination of utter world class. But that’s my whole point. This is the cycling world’s equivalent to a classic case of natural-masterpiece-ending-up-in-Lonely-Planet. And I simply got to it way (way, way) too late.

Since I know a bunch of people reading this are either heading to, or daydreaming of hitting Carretera Austral in the future, I feel like I need to make a bit of a disclaimer before closing. This place is amazing. It is everything you’ve read about it. It is exactly that.

Choosing destination for your bicycle touring holiday?

GO! Go, go, go!

Adventure? In any way, shape or form?

Unfortunately.. This is not where you find it.

Until next time,

Fredrika

How (Not) To Climb Mountains

Just a short one this time. A quick run through of how not to experience Mt. Fitz Roy. Or – depending on how you choose to look at it – the very way to do it.

My last post finished off with me and my riding buddies Moritz and Greg finally reaching the township of El Chaltén. The small village resting on the foot of the mystical mountain of Fitz Roy, that’s majestically towering over town on any given moment of a sunny day. And who’s sharp contours vanishes completely as soon as the first clouds form in the sky.

Arriving in sunshine, we decided to waste zero time in the quest of chasing down our epic mountain view experience. After finding our way to our first ever Casa de Ciclistas (google this if you’re cycling South America), we dumped our bikes and quickly regrouped into some sort of pretend-to-be-trekking crew.


Voila!

One stop by the supermarket later we were well prepared with the given necessities for any serious mountaineering expedition. Breakfast for tomorrow. And gin. Lots of gin for tonight.

A mandatory ice cream cone later we were off, headed out of town straight towards the heart of the beauty.


Less than 2 hours from El Chaltén township

This was a beautiful evening. One including walking. And taking breaks.

Breaks including views. And drinking gin.

As evening fell we set our camp. The sky was still clear enough to present a proper mountain sunset and we excitedly set another one of those way-to-early alarms to get up and catch the sunrise over that epic peak of Mt. Fitz Roy. The steep ascent between us and the top meant one good hour of dawn walking before reaching our viewpoint of the summit.

But that was all tomorrow’s burden.

Then suddenly tomorrow had arrived. And though this was where things first started going downhill, it would still take a good while before any of us would realise that.

With drowsy eyes, torch-dressed foreheads and heavy feet we tramped off in the darkness, aiming for the peak that was still drowned in darkness. Thinking back, the clues of that we were headed in the wrong direction were definitely there. Some clearer than others – but all equally ignored by Team Too Tired.

Worth noting is that this is one of the more well prepared tourist spots in all of Patagonia. Paths are clear. Bridges are built. And river crossings like this should be a heads up that quite possibly you’re a little off route.

For us it took a little more still.

To be exact, it took our ‘path’ abruptly ending with a cliff wall and this sign.

Just on time to when we’d expected to be at the top, we realised that we weren’t even moving towards it. Success!


Slowly we found our way back to signs telling us not to go where we’d just been


Back on track. Or on it for the first time.

So this whole thing obviously didn’t really work out as planned. Yes, we did manage to find our way back to the proper path. We did get to the top. And we did have a lot of fun reaching it. The one detail though was that way before we made it there – the rain clouds did too.

And we didn’t get to see a thing.

Plans are great. But let’s not forget that plans gone to hell – are too.

Epic fail?

Oh yes.

However – I think I’ll choose to remember this as only epic.

Until next time,

Fredrika

A Breath of Fresh Air

Without a care in the world we were sitting there. After a few days of rest and and glaciers, me and my newfound riding pals Greg and Moritz had gladly let what started as our last tuna sandwich session in El Calafate turn into an evening of wine and campsite BBQ.

We were happy. Well rested. And absolutely clueless of what we were in for the following day.

Skip forward 12 (or was it 36?) hours.

Crazy winds can be fun..! Even when you’re on a bicycle. And even when they’re throwing themselves straight in your face. It is all about perception, really. Trust me. After having cycled Tierra del Fuego from south to north quite recently I feel like I know what I’m talking about.

However. There is a limit.

And on this particular day, we all reached it.

There are headwinds. Big headwinds. And then (apparently) there are ‘downhill-on-smooth-tarmac-and-yet-you’re-pushing-in-4 km/h’ kind of headwinds. Winds that can be described in many different ways. Though certainly not with the word fun.

With nothing (except a whole lot of nothing) around we had absolutely nowhere to hide. The force of the wind made anyone attempting to mount their bicycle look like an absolute fool and the deafening howl of it stole the sound of our shouting voices even before they’d even left our mouths.

Physically we were still together, but since making that turn straight into the wall of wind we were all on our own. Pushing. Getting onto the saddle only to get thrown straight off the road. Pushing again. Going nowhere.

Until a few hours later when we finally found our salvation.


Signs sent straight from above.

For the average person I think drainage pipes might not be the most appealing hang out spot in the world. Ask me in a different situation and I’d probably agree with you. Then and there though, this cylinder of bliss were no doubt the best thing that’d ever happened.


Mr. Bike playing hardcore as always.

For a good 12 hours we were hiding under the road. Munching chocolates, laughing at each others’ attempts on the ukulele and simply sitting around in each others company. Times like these there’s no denying that the good old Swedish proverb ‘Shared joy is twice the joy, shared grief is half the grief’ is as true as it’s always been. And evidently also highly applicable when it comes to spending the night in drainage pipes.

4.30 am our alarm set off. The familiar tune from the iPhone softly echoed through the pipe in which we were all laying cuddled up in our sleeping bags.

‘Can you hear that..?’

This was a hoarse voice of equal parts drowsiness, excitement and relief.

‘It’s quiet..!

One second. Two seconds.

The sound of three zippers simultaneously being pulled open.

‘Let’s do this.’

Minutes later Moritz was the first one on the road. This was it – our window of opportunity. A chance to beat the winds and make those last 50 odd km to El Chaltén before they’d have us in a new chokehold.

We were quick. But luckily relaxed enough to realise that this wasn’t merely early. This was one of the most beautiful morning rides any of us had ever experienced.

…followed by what was no doubt our most picturesque cycling yet in South America. And oh yes. This piece of road was just as absurd as the photos tell you. The day before we’d been smacked in the face by winds from hell. This day – by something else entirely.


Breakfast on the go

Then – before the winds – we did make it.

We were in El Chaltén! Happy. Clueless. Yet again about to make absolute fools out of ourselves.

In the next one, I promise to tell you all about it.

Until then,

Fredrika

Nothing. And Everything.

Guided by a bumpy gravel road I crossed back into Argentina. And way too much happened way too quickly to give a fair recap of it here. This thing could easily have been a write up on yet another one of those ever glowing encounters with the very essence of humanity. But it’s not.

This time the story of how the boys at that rural police station opened their door (and fridge, shower and spare bedroom) to the dusty gringa plodding down the road outside their window will remain merely a memory.

The memory of when I finally learned to fold a proper empanada.

Instead – this post starts here.

In the middle of some southern Patagonian nothingness. Perhaps on a Sunday. Tuesday. Or possibly a Thursday. With me playing around with my tripod while waiting for those too-slow lunch noodles to cook.

And with an unexpected but pleasant surprise coming closer and closer, in that slow but steady pace you ever really see from heavily loaded touring bicycles on loose gravel. Stuffing my face with noodles and a few of the leftover empanadas the police had crammed down my already full bags, I watched the two dark dots growing bigger.

Whatever day this was, it was a good one. I was in for company.


Now this is how to finish a meal!

Greg and Moritz from Germany.

Not only did we meet out there in the middle of nowhere. Not only were we going in the same direction. More importantly than anything else – we hit it off. Within a few days this newfound trio had grown into this highly dysfunctional (try cooking enough for three hungry cyclists) yet absolutely awesome family. And the most natural thing in the world.

To no one’s surprise – I loved this.

For a girl who has spent better part of the last two years peddling down those endless roads on her own, suddenly getting to share a few stretches with nut jobs like herself is… beautiful.

Days like these are obviously incredible.

A million (yes) times better though. Better than anything really, is sharing evenings. Food, tales of life and laughs from the same day. Quiet sunsets with people who’s legs are just as tired as yours. Everything.


Not least when there are ukuleles and harmonicas hidden in the panniers!

What else..?

Oh yeah, we saw condors together.


(With wingspans of insane 2-3 meters…)

And the most jaw dropping glaciers I am convinced I will ever get to see in my entire life. And hey. You have got to get to see this too. Seriously. After reading – do yourself a favor and write this down.

Patagonia. El Calafate. Perito Moreno.

Write it down.

And then make sure that whenever that window of opportunity may arise – you take it.

And GO.

Until next time,

Fredrika

The Apocalypse Safari

Sooner or later it was bound to happen, I’ve known that. Anyone prioritising enjoying oneself, ahead of setting up the ultimate bullet proof ninja system for securing the documentation of that enjoyment (…which I guess then wouldn’t have taken place) does. And now it has.

I’ve lost photos :(

Not too much, but definitely enough to be a little bummed out about it. And enough for this post to end up a cripple. The lucky few that I’ve been able to restore you’ll find below. The rest, look a little something like this:

Really not too bad, and those few days worth of photos could definitely be covered up for by a few extra moments spent on writing about them. Though that won’t happen today I’m afraid. Instead of words compensating the makeshift photos in this post, there will be words to match.

Oh, well. Here we go.

Arriving in Puerto Natales I had reached my first Patagonian jumbo tourist destination. A small fiord side town crammed to it’s breaking point by hostels and outdoor shops. With streets filled by backpack carrying trekking enthusiasts from all over the world, half of which overly excited about their upcoming adventures, and the other half overly exhausted after just having returned from them.

Anyone who knows their Patagonia know exactly what these people all had their eye on.


Torres del Paine

I spent a simple single day in the national park, headed straight up for its main attraction: the base of Paine towers. Now for anyone looking for stunning photos of this place, Google is your friend. Here you’ll only find an in field case study of the worryingly rapid rise of the ever so disoriented species of Homo Selfies.

Armed with various electronic devices, these human like creatures are to be found all over the globe and can pose a serious threat to anyone and everyone within their immediate range. Always watch out for sudden swings of arms, and remember to take extra precaution with ones carrying sticks. Many try to hide their true being, but the Homo Selfies will always reveal itself when exposed to what it experiences to be a spectacular environment or situation.

Rule of thumb:

a) Is he/she facing the point of interest, looking at it? Human.
b) Is he/she turning his/her back on the point of interest, admiring him/herself in digital mirror? Bingo.

This particular individual is not only an clear example of all of the above, but obviously also taking photos of itself, taking photos of itself. A simple puff of air could have saved the world by letting this creature meet its destiny in the ice cold water. But the mere fact that these photos are now online proves that unfortunately for all of us – it didn’t.

Ladies and gentlemen. Close your windows, hide your children. The apocalypse is coming.

Homo Selfies Selfies is here.

Now, where were I?

Oh yeah, I lost photos. Not having a lot of them from Torres del Paine actually don’t bother me too much. Thousands of photos (that are way better than mine would ever be) from there are one hashtag away. And I didn’t even have good weather.

What is sad though, is missing those from my time spent in Puerto Natales town. The time spend with Fernando and his lovely, lovely family. Though writing this it all just seems ridiculous. Photos? Of what? Memories aren’t caught on camera anyways. And sometimes memories simply have to be enough.

In fact, they always have to be enough. Because when it all comes down to it. They’re all we have.

Until next time,

Fredrika

By |December 20th, 2016|South America, Travel Logs|

Gut Feeling

Sometimes cycling is boring. This usually gets to me a little more than it from time to time being tough. The idea of pushing through rough times is part of what got me out here in the first place. Being bored though, was not.

Exciting is probably one of the last words I’d use to describe the road from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales. Smooth, yes. Still horribly windy – definitely. Interesting in any way? Nah.

Luckily though, cycling is not all I’m doing.

With the winds still playing a major roll in life on the road out there, something taking up a lot more focus than usual was finding a sheltered place to sleep. Something which generally ended up with either some fun encounters with people, or some rather amusing hangouts with myself.

I don’t have a proper explanation for it, but I so (and I’m assuming I’m not alone here) enjoy falling asleep in new places. And now I’m not talking new as in geographical locations where I haven’t slept in before. I mean new sleeping.. situations? My list of these is naturally rather extensive by now, and it doesn’t happen too often anymore that I get to make new additions to it.

With nightly wind-escaping quests though – new firsts came crashing in at a rate that almost got me feeling like I was back in Europe and the early days of this journey.


Stables – check!


Bus stop. Can’t believe it actually took me this long?


Gunilla! Compact living var det va? ;-) <3

A million times better than odd solo sleeping mission though, are obviously those priceless evenings in the company of just made friends. Some of them leaving even stronger memories than others.

Knocking on the door of the run down workers house by the no longer running gas station I still don’t really know what I was hoping for. Tired legs, an empty mind and a blank stare was everything I’d brought to the porch on which I was standing. Not until forming a fist had I realised how stiff my fingers had gone from being held prisoners in my way too wet gloves for so long. There was a raw, damp cold in the air. The world was standing completely still. I leaned in towards the door, almost pressing my ear against it.

Quickly the thought passed through my mind. When had I actually been using my voice last?

Silently I cleared my throat. Then I knocked again, a little harder this time. Water was the official story both to myself and to whoever I would find on the other side, though in reality I really didn’t need it. In reality I didn’t really need anything, apart from something to happen.

The familiar sound of chair slowly scraping against floor. Jackpot.

There is a lot to be said about the hundreds encounters of this kind one is bound to have had after soon to be 2 consecutive years one the road. About the people we’re so used to calling strangers, and about trust. About cynicism versus naivety. About gut feeling. And at those very few but still too many instances when things do get real – about pure instinct.

We’ll leave most of that for now. And just go with that I am one of those people who’ve decided to trust. My gut that is. A formerly loose canon that through the rolling experiences of the last 30 countries has moulded itself into this fine tuned instrument I trust with my life. Literally.

My gut has the 2 absolutely critical jobs of telling me when to:

1) Dive head first in the next peanut butter jar in sight.

2) Get the hell out of a situation.

Haha. I’m just trying to be all dramatic here. (…and perhaps also to make a bit of a point.)

Guns on the wall? Or more importantly: that 4th gun missing from the wall? What-your-mama-taught-you-logic says: RUUUUUUUUUUUN! Like seriously. Run. NOW.

When it’s my gut telling me those things, I listen. Always. In a weird way even more so when that mama-logic gives a green light. However – when that same gut feeling says ‘Sure! :-) ‘ – I listen too.

Total ping-pong night. Two equally short and intense friendships. BBQ. Soft bed. A few stories that will never make it to this blog. And perhaps most importantly a big reminder of that boring cycling is nothing – nothing – but people adventures in disguise.

Until next time,

Fredrika

By |December 19th, 2016|South America, Travel Logs|

Soft Landings

Coming up to my Tierra del Fuego finish line I was quite happy to do so. Though I realise now that relieved, is probably a word  closer to the truth. I was tired. And tired of being tired. This leg had been amazing on so many levels – but by this point I’d definitely had enough of it. More than enough, actually. Unfortunately Tierra del Fuego itself didn’t fully agree with that last part.

The icy snowflakes coming at me like swarms of miniature target seeking rocket launchers made the small mountain pass to Porvenir and the ferry to the mainland seem like a challenge of biblical proportions, rather than the smooth few-hundred-meter bump in the road that it actually was. Just minutes earlier the storm had arrived from absolutely nowhere, and was quickly making more than sure that no one out and about that day would be able to deny it’s presence.

Anyone who’s been stuck in a ski lift on a windy day knows the comfort level of those fierce natural needles piercing into any piece of skin you’ve failed to cover up. And how they have the potential to drain the life out of anyone in the wrong mindset before Ms. Rowling’s dementors have even had time to choose their victim.

In short – this day sucked.

Let’s fast forward a bunch of hours.

I could see land now. Mainland. My eyes were physically too tired to watch it come closer, but this particular evening was simply too pretty to miss out on. The air on deck was still, and drowsy same-day memories of cold toes and swear words drowning in roaring winds seemed to have been taking place in a different life. The few hour long ferry I was on had carried me lightyears, and I smiled to myself as I – if only symbolically – unzipped those few top centimeters of my down jacket.

‘You’ve done well, girl. ‘

The moment I got off the ferry real life came back a little bit. I had made it to Punta Arenas and mainland Chile, but this was about as far as my plan had stretched. The sun had already set, I had no clue where I was going. And quite quickly I realised that I’d probably do best in keeping that jacket zipped all the way up after all.

So. I (obviously) did the one reasonable thing here – and decided to care about all that later, and instead go on to snap a few cheesy moonlight photos of Mr. Bike. After all he is a born model that boy. Posing his racks off, regardless of how many people are watching. Haha.


Mr. Bike feeling all pretty.

And just as a few of you might already be guessing, this was it. That (…almost) never failing moment when life decides to fold out better than anything imagination could ever come close to.

Because as if from nowhere Oscar was suddenly standing behind me. The local cycle loving Punta Arenas chico who apparently’d been on that same ferry with me. Who saw zero point in me heading into town in search for a hostel and whose sweet sweet mother was at home, already waiting with dinner on the table. And one quick phone call later she was apparently doing so with an extra plate next to her.

Long story short: I was in for a treat. Four days of treats actually. Four days which left my body well rested for the first time since arriving in Patagonia, and my head absolutely spinning from trying to keep up with the more or less gringo-adapted Chilean lingo thrown around in the Seguel household that week.

I don’t think I need to tell you how much I loved every little piece of it. But yeah – I did.

Mil gracias Oscar, and thank you life.

I owe you both.

Until next time,

Fredrika

By |December 12th, 2016|South America, Travel Logs|

Cycling Tierra del Fuego

Life on the road is unpredictable. You put yourself out there for days, weeks, months, even years at the time, without ever really knowing what the roulette table of life will have in store for you this time. And that – of course – is the whole point.

Tierra del Fuego however, is (at least in some ways) as predictable as it gets. Easy? No. Boring? Definitely not. But fact stands. When going at it from south to north – you know what you’re in for.

Girl + Bicycle + Tierra del Fuego equals 2 certainties at the end of any given day:


1) Happiness


2) Exhaustion

Wind rarely does itself justice on photos. So we’ll simply need to try something else this time.

Imagine yourself in the backseat of a fast moving car. Are you there yet? Good. Roll down that imaginary window. Now, stick out your hand and feel that familiar high five from the wall of wind crashing in towards your palm. Got it? Great. For extra effect you could also just briefly stick out your head, simply to listen to that deafening noice for a second or two. There you go. Now, imagine this on your entire being. For days on end. And without any windows to roll back up.

Welcome to Tierra del Fuego.

Going south to north the wind is a challenge. Even the smallest tasks, such as putting on a jacket becomes incredibly impractical. Ending up in the ditch a few times a day is as much of a given as gravity (which by the way seem to play by different rules down here). Patience is absolute key. So is it to not ever let the 7, 8, 9 km/h digits flashing on the odometer get to you.

With that said though, I loved this little corner of the world. Like really, really loved it. Here are a bunch of photos to show you what my days looked like, down by el fin del mundo (the end of the world).


Yes. Wind can even turn selfies into small mission impossibles.


Curiosity contest with the locals (guanacos).


From time to time I passed by rural sheep and cattle farms…


…and took every opportunity I got for a little break from the winds.

Due to a worker’s strike my first border crossing into Chile ended up taking close to 18 hours. My longest one up to date. Something that sounds far from ideal, but that in reality was just the best ever.

As some sort of compensation for not stamping my passport, the lovely guys at the border simply decided to give me everything else they could come up with instead. After a long border evening consisting of a big dinner, never ending mates (google this), a game of football and possibly a few too many jokes about Chileans, I was spoiled to a warm place to sleep. Though I still hadn’t left Argentina, the day was officially a smashing success.


Walls, 3 mattresses and a heater? Oh yes please!

When I woke up it was snowing. And though I knew I still had a lot of waiting to do also on the Chilean border control, I felt like I was almost cheating past this part of the crossing.


The river I knew I needed to wade through…


…had gotten a bridge just 3 weeks earlier!


Chilean nothingness


Different country, same wind.

One sunny afternoon, I finally reached this view. A view I’d been waiting for and which I knew exactly what it meant. This was Bahía Inutíl, and I was up for some 30 kilometers of tailwind.

Going from days on end with an average speed below 10 km/h to suddenly be absolutely flying without even peddling has got to be one of the most relieving feelings in the world. Shwoooosh! Haha. Life on top, for sure. However much I loved it though, me taking a turn for some favorable winds wasn’t the main reason for the dorky smile on my face that day. That was something else entirely.

That was me knowing, that I was up for penguins.

Until next time,

Fredrika