Cerro Castillo - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

January 16, 2023 to January 17, 2023

Cerro Castillo

Monday 26th January 2023

The wind howled through the night but we were well protected on the shed.  We got going just after seven o'clock,  straight into the wind that was still blowing strongly but not as badly as yesterday.  Jacobus went ahead but stopped every now and then so that us older folk could catch up.  Nonetheless we were all in good spirits and although Jacobus was heading all the way to Puerto Natales  we only had a short ride across the border to Cerro. 

The shed in the morning's light. This and the next photo courtesy of Jacobus.
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The new three amigos on the road to the Argentinian border post.
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After eight kilometers of asfalto we turned westwards on the ripio to the Argentinian border post.   On checking out of the country we were given a small slip of paper which we only later realized was to be handed in at the Chilean border control  a few kilometers further on.  Here we were given the problematic Chilean PDI, another small slip of paper that needs to be handed in on leaving Chile.  The PDI is given to you once the Chilean  officials stamp your passport and they never explain why it is needed.  I am still in the dark as to its purpose.  Needless to say, many visitors to the country either throw it away or lose it somewhere in their travels.  We have certainly done so before.  Having no PDI on leaving Chile means a hold up in the exit process while a new one is written up.  Since everything is recorded electronically I cannot understand why they continue with issuing them.

With Jacobus at the Argentinian border control post. It's been great to spend time with this nice young man.
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The stretch between the border posts was into a fierce wind but at least we returned to asfalto as we crossed the actual border.  I stopped to chat to an Argentinian cycle tourist going the other way and he told me of the very good, and free, municipal campsite in Cerro Castillo but with the wind blowing as it was we were in no mood to camp.

So after the Chilean border formalities we headed for the hospedaje where we had stayed five years ago.  Unfortunately,  they were fully booked so we resorted to the next option in town, the expensive El Ovejero Hotel.  It costs about five times more than we like to pay but we felt deserved two nights of luxury.

Hotel El Ovejero
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Ovejero means shepherd so the hotel's theme is that of a sheep estancia.
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Bar stools are a collection of saddles.
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Tuesday 17th January 2023

We took a lazy walk around the village today.   We had a look at the campground,  which would have been good if the wind had been kinder, and spent some time at the small but well maintained museum.  Apart from that we did very little but relax and enjoy the relative luxury of a comfortable hotel.

Entry into the village is past a memorial to the horse, an essential tool of the settling of this area by the Chileans of European origin at thd beginning of the last century.
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The municipal campsite.
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The little Capella de Santa Teresa de los Andes is only fifteen years old but is quite cute.
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The local store.
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Tomorrow we head northwest towards Torres del Paine.  We will wild camp before reaching the national park and have a booking for two nights at Campibg Lago Pehoe after that.

Today's ride: 24 km (15 miles)
Total: 5,696 km (3,537 miles)

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