2006 - Northern Africa, Europe and South America
Morocco - Europe - Argentina - Chile
We picked up Edy's brother Philipp and his girl-friend Vero at the airport in Santiago. On the yellow travelmog we drove quickly southwards to Santa Cruz. A nice lunch and a ride in a horse-drawn cart through the vineyards with some wine tasting was to get both of them into the Chilean mood.
On the program, we had a luxurious sunset and a camp site in the midst of the vineyard. The 2-week- tour led us over dusty, narrow tracks along idyllic lagoons and impressive ocean bays populated by sea lions. But the road also led through green spring meadows and forests that appeared tropical. Snow-covered volcanoes made our picture-taking hearts beat faster.
Scratches on our tire - accident Santiago de Chile
A bang, a rumbling at the side - what was that?
It is almost incredible, but a car driver tried to squeeze in a third turning lane where there were only two. Much too fast, as so often in Santiago, and offensively. The driver did not manage to get round the curve and scraped against the tire of our rear axis. Robusto came off undamage, but the other driver's front bumper was hanging down and his hood was somewhat reduced in size.
He called us names and blamed us for the accident. The police were called. Quietly and relaxed we let the traffic come to a complete halt and took pictures from all sides.
We made a short stop on our drive on the highway, on a „Copec" motorway service area, just before Santiago. In front of the office building, there was a bright yellow, very unreal looking security van, probably picking up the revenues. Shortly after our arrival, it stopped right next to us, which rather surprised us. The side door opened and the person in uniform appearing behind it, offered to swap his car against Robusto.
When we asked how much money they had on board, he laughed and told us, that this was our risk. It was a very funny and amusing encounter, which we find hard to imagine happening in Switzerland in the same way.
We have tasted Pisco Sour, the national drink, rather soon after our arrival. Ingredients: Liqueur distilled from grapes, lime juice, raw egg white and sugar. Available with 10, 15 or 20% alcohol. Should be drunk when cold - highly addictive!
25 July 2006
A day with special action!
75 km Kawasaki excursion from Humahuaca to the much praised Iruya. During the fast ride on the bumpy washboard road, shortly before reaching the pass, we met Freddy and Rita, old travelling acquaintances, holding their gazoil tank into the sun. The night at 3800 m had been cold, they said, and the engine of their truck did not run on frozen and viscous gazoil. We arranged to meet later in Iruya and continued our trip, since we wanted to take the turn to Coranzuli.
We were at a museum, where the entrance fee for foreigners was 10 pesos, for Argentines only 3 pesos. At the ticket booth, we answered in Spanish. The cashier wanted to know where we came from and whether we were already jubilarios (old-age pensioners). Upon our answer that yes, we were retired, we had to pay only 3 pesos for the entry. Well, getting older definitely has its advantages.
To reach Chile, we had to cross the Andes. The altitude of the Argentine border station is at some 4200 m, the road then climbs even higher over kilometers, only to descend on the remaining 50 km of winding road to San Pedro de Atacama (at 2300 m). We spent one week in Humahuaca at 3000 meters and untertook Kawi excursions until altitudes of up to 4300 m. Our body got used to the low oxygen level of the air and we did not experience any major problems during the three nights we slept at an altitude of over 4000 m.
Experience with a shoe cleaner at the Plaza Principal: It was the turn of Edy's hiking boots. After the leather had been repolished with sandpaper and the soles painted with silicon, the guy presented us with his price of 8 pesos. Well, you can't really blame him, for we hadn't fixed a price beforehand. We gave him an 8 pesos bill, and - for a short while - even believed him, that he had only gone to get change. It goes without saying that he never came back. - The next day, when we came back to the plaza, Edy all of a sudden rushed off and got hold of a guy, holding him by his collar. It was the shoe cleaner, who had disappeared the day before. We demanded 5 pesos change or we would call the policía! There were great amounts of change in his pocket, and he gave us our amount quite quickly.
Immigration and customs duty with Action Mobil Robusto in Argentina
Clearing Argentinan customs and immigration with Robusto took 8 ½ hours. Without having been inspected by a customs official, we were allowed to drive our home out of the port area. However, getting all the necessary papers beforehand had proved quite an effort, but nevertheless much easier than in Africa. Nobody knew where the EMBA offices (EMBA = Emigración Marítima Buenos Aires) were located, and nobody wanted to or could fill in the form "La Salida Marina", even though this form is absolutely necessary for bringing the truck into the country. Persistance and a lot of patience finally made us successful in this matter!
Grande San Paolo, a Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo) freighter of 56,700 tons, length 214 meters, width 32.5 meters, 19 knots (32 km/h). Crew: Italians, Indians, Romanians. Languages spoken on board: English, Italian.
Loading capacity via the stern and on deck totalling 3,525 vehicles and 1,321 containers.
For the passage, we required health insurance, a medical certificate and yellow fever vaccination.
Hamburg, March 15, 2006: In front of "Schuppen 48" visitors' data were checked and logged. Accompanied by a port authority vehicle, we drove to our freighter of the Grimaldi line.
Itinerary: Antwerp, Le Havre, Bilbao, Casablanca, Dakar, Banjul, Conakry, Freetown, then crossing the equator on April 2, Salvador de Bahía, Vitoria, Rio, Santos, Zarate.
January - February 2006
2. Test trip with Action Mobil Robusto + Kawasaki
It was with great expectations but also with a bit of sadness, that we left our temporary base in Zurich. Since the end of 2005, we have been on the road.
In deep winter we had left our home country and started our new life as nomads. Through France and Spain we travelled to take the ferry from Algeciras to Tanger in Morocco. Even though the motor way service areas are notorious for the much feared hold-ups, we were spared experiences of that kind. We usually picked a parking lot in the evening and the next morning found ourselves surrounded by motor homes that had spent the night just besides us. On tar roads we drove along the Atlantic coast to Sidi Akhfennir.