Week 98 - Catching Up With Friends
The next day we left our camp spot on a different track to the one we came in on and I managed to get stuck going over sand bank, doh!!! We managed to dig it out eventually but it wasn't the best start to the day, although it gave us a good laugh. Back on the road (the 265-CH) there was lots of loose gravel on the road, which wasn't so nice. After my 'off' on route to Gobernador Gregores I was still feeling a little less confident in the deeper gravel and this road definitely had a few chunky sections with copious amounts of loose gravel. Sigh! I got through with a bit of stopping to sort the negative self-talk out and also with some foot-dabbing here and there (yes, I know, not good).
Fourtunately though, for the most part it was great. There were absolutely beautiful views of the lake (General Carrera Lake / Lake Buenos Aires). The mountain backdrop was just jaw-dropping. After a good few stops, we made it to the touristy village of Rio Tranquilo on the other side of the lake and we found Bellavista camping (GPS: -46.62875, -72.67412). It looked ok, had a big kitchen area that you could use your camping stoves indoors, as well as hot showers, so we set up between two trees in the yard. Then it was time to go in search of some food as we hadn't eaten all day. We managed to find some hot dogs, which tasted wonderful on empty, growling stomachs.
A little later on we were joined by our travel buddies Michnus & Elsebie and Neake & Paul. It was a little reunion and it was so great to see them all, plus it was the first time we'd seen them since our engagement so it was a bit of a celebration to. Neake & Paul gave me a washing line she'd made and blue bracelet for a wedding gift and Michnus & Elsebie gave us their awesome camping grill with a blue cover. It was so lovely of them.
We then all went out for dinner at a nice cafe in the evening, which was a bit of a treat. It was cheap compared to home, but expensive for the travel budget coming in at 34000 CLP. Unfortunately, Elsebie had come down with bad cold, so she was feeling quite rough, which wasn't very nice for her and she was definitely in need of some extra rest and sleep.
The following day we chilled out, had a wander around the village, Neake made a big spaghetti bolognese for us all for dinner and then we ended up drinking quite a lot in the evening...Kelvin was very drunk! Trying to get him back in to the tent was slightly interesting and I had to gradually coax him back in as he was half in the door and then splayed across the whole tent! Being tents, everyone heard and I was praised for my 'patience of a saint' the next day, ha ha! The day after we went to see places to book a trip to the marble caves, which was something we were all really keen to do, and we managed to sort something out for the following day. That evening I made curry with Neake, which was really yummy.
Then came the time for our marble caves trip. It was Awesome! The lake was lovely and calm and a brilliant blue colour. It was only us six on the boat, and we'd managed to get the private hire for only 10,000 CLP extra between us all. It was well worth it because we could all see really well and move around the boat more easily, and the views were just stunning.
The day after, the others moved to a cabana as they were going to be staying a little longer. Kelvin took the stove apart outside at the campsite in order to clean it and promptly lost cleaning pin, which rendered it unusable. After a lot of faffing around Kelvin took the stove to Michnus at the Cabana and between them they managed to fix it with a bit of jiggery-pokery. I also calibrated Michnus and Elsebie's valves because I had become such a dab-hand at doing them following the issues I'd had earlier on in the trip, and it was nice to be able to do something useful. We then watched an english film on TV, which made a nice change and Neake made us all a Thai green curry. Yum! It was the last night for us in Rio Tranquilo so we said our fairwell's. It was sad to say goodbye and we hadn't really had much time there, but we needed to get moving as Kelvin was still very upset and distracted as his mum was in hospital with a stroke and we needed to work out if he could fly home and that would really need to be from Santiago as I'd likely be staying put for the time he was away.