Contao - The eighth step ... Patagonia etc once more. - CycleBlaze

December 20, 2019

Contao

Before we arrived in Chile we had decided to take it very easily for the first few days.  Even though we had managed to ride our bicycles more days than not during our three months in South Africa, we never did much distance and the intensity was always pretty low.  We had given ourselves three days to get to Hornopiren and we weren't going to squeeze it into two as we did last time.  So we had a lazy morning enjoying some lovely sunshine at Campo Santy before heading slowly along the rolling coastal road to the ferry at La Arena.

The road back down to the Careterra Austral from Campo Santy.
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Today we enjoyed some of the best weather we have ever experienced in Patagonia.  It was warm and sunny for most of the day and it only felt cool when the clouds slipped in front of the sun.  With the thin ozone layer over Patagonia in our minds (the depletion of the ozone layer has been reported as being responsible for blindness and skin cancer in sheep in Tierra del Fuego), we applied a healthy layer of sun screen and lip balm.  My lip split quite dramatically from sunburn at the beginning of the Careterra Austral last year and I don't want to go through weeks of recovery now as I had to then.

We enjoyed a second breakfast of fried apple empenadas while waiting for the ferry.  Quite necessary because we didn't have a real breakfast sorted out for this morning so we had to make do with a packet of biscuits.

Empenadas for second breakfast.
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On the ferry.
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Of course we did a bit of birding along the way.  Quite unexpectedly, we have picked up three lifers so far.

Peruvian Pelican.
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Turkey Vulture.
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The first town south of the ferry is Contao.  The road from there to Hornopiren gave us serious doubts as to why were were doing the Careterra Austral on our previous trip and we didn't feel like tackling it today.  The ride so far today has been really enjoyable so there was no need to spoil it.  After looking around a bit, we settled in to the Hostal Reloncavi for the night.  A large matrimonial (a room with with a double bed) with the added benefit of an en-suite bathroom for 25,000 CLP seemed a good price.

Today's ride: 26 km (16 miles)
Total: 79 km (49 miles)

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