As described by the book of Bruce Chatwin “PATAGONIA”, the name Patagonia comes from the nicknames given by Magellan’s crew to the native of this land. (The Tehuelche tribe). Magellan arrived in 1520 in Puerto San Julian. The crew called these people “Patagoni” which means big feet. The look of being big footed derived from wearing heavy furs to protect their feet from the rigid climate that is experienced on this part of the planet.
We are crossing lands where nature’s strength is tangible. Even with this harsh climate and difficult landscape men-kind were able to start a life and build little villages here. Many of these places were reachable only by see. No possibilities of building any kinds of roads due to the complex land formation.
Only Augusto Pinochet in the 1980’s had the will and power to start building a road that would be known as Carretera Austral. The scope of this road was to unify Chile as a country and its path goes through many unbelievable scenery and landscapes. Many areas along the Carretera Austral have now turned into National Parks. Many Volcanos are present in this part of Chile. An example is the Volcano Chaiten that completely destroyed the village below in 2008.
The Carretera Austral is an amazing road that takes us along many rivers and many lakes. We will also see the biggest lake in South America: Lake General Carrera or also known as Lake Buenos Aires by the Argentinians.
As already mentioned in earlier post our route will take us to see many beautiful mountains and Lakes. Among these are the famous Fitz Roy, that amongst others creates the perfect conditions for the formation of amazing glaciers such as the Perito Moreno. This region is also known as the Park of the Yelo Sur.
In the land of Patagonia all elements of nature are present at an exponential pace, giving the travellers the true feeling of being real small in front of this power of Nature. Another impressive element, is the power of the wind that truly put our driving skills to a test. We were driving for long stretches of roads at a 45 degrees angle in relation to the asphalt. We even had to stop a couple of nights and camp along side the road as it was impossible and too dangerous to go forward. Living in this region of the planet is really not a simple task and that is the main reason why it is not very populated. Many are the islands and pieces of land that are still uninhabited.
When we finally crossed the famous Magellan strait from Punta Arenas to Porvenir, we arrive at the Isla Grande de Tierra Del Fuego. A milestone in our trip since we can now say that we reached the real Tierra del Fuego that we dreamet when we were planning this segment of our journey. The Road south is unpaved and can be sometimes dangerous due to the unexpected crossing on the road of Guanacos. Cousin of Lamas and Alpacas.
We are now about 250 Kilometers from Ushuaia. The weather is turning ugly so after a quick discussion among ourselves and Suzanne, a german lady biker on a BMW R80GS that is traveling for now 5 month alone from Anchorage Alaska, to Ushuaia, we decide to push an extra 100 Kilometers until we reach the little village of Tolhuin. There, we find ” La Panederia” which is a bakery that is known among travelers on bycicles and motorbikes that are not able to reach Ushuaia due to weather. La Panaderia is famous among travelers for their great hospitality. It offers them a warm space on the back of their store to rest for the night for free.
Patagonia is also this. Cold and inhospitable but at the same time people are warm and used in providing assistance to whom wants to adventure themselves in this part of the continent.
The following morning, we are getting real close to our final destination of Ushuaia and to our surprise we see snow all around us. The scenery once again is magnificent but the cold is almost unbareble.
The goal is achieved and realizing the fact that from Italy we travelled to Japan and from Alaska all the way down to Ushuaia is hard to explain. Now we have a long way back to Buenos Aires, where we will ship our motorcycles to our next destination AFRICA. On our way to Buenos Aires, we will cross the province of Santa Cruz, Chubut,Rio Negro, La Pampa and finally the province of Buenos Aires. A special thanks goes to Pablo from Ktm in La Serena, Andres in Bogota’, The Olindo family in Tangua, southern Colombia, for keeping us for 4 days during the “Paro”. Pablo ” El conductor de acero”, Claudio Calisti from “Amici dei Bambini in La Paz Bolivia. Sandra and Javier of Dakar Motos in Buenos Aires, who helped us with all necessary procedures to ship our bikes out of Argentina, and finally the children of the orphanage “Virgen de Fatima” in La Paz Bolivia among many others that often helped us on the road.