We pulled into downtown Coyhaique around 2PM the day before. With the help of a grocery store supervisor
who was determined to direct us to a nice place to stay, we ended up in a hosptaje with a cabin a bit off the
city center. Our packs were jammed with cookies, one kind each from the grocery store.
The cabin room was a bit pricy at 20,000 pesos, but we liked our cabin stay in Rio Tranquilo so much we didn't
think twice. We got a lot of space, five beds in total and a nice looking stove. The only problem
was all the firewood outside were soaking wet. After using all his tricks, Brian went back to square one after
putting a wet log on an already blazing fire.
We set out to the street again after showers and cookies. It was about 7PM and still drizzling. The city
center was built around Plaza de Armas, a pentagon shaped, one of a kind design that will sure confuse any
first time visitors, or anybody for that matter. It is said the city architect wanted to commemorate the police
force, so he designed the central plaza as a shield.
Quite contrary to our experience in Puerto Natales where shops start opening up after sunset, here,
all the stores, including two travel agencies where we would get our ferry tickets up north, were closed.
We didn't have luck finding what we wanted but did come across an Internet cafe that was still open.
So, we locked the bikes and walked upstairs to the smoky and packed room. Five minutes later, two policemen
showed up, got our attention, and motioned Brian to go downstairs with them. "There is only one bike now."
One of them told him.
That was a joke. But the reason they came up to us was indeed some kids were trying to take Brian's tool bag away.
The police warned us to be careful in town. We were thankful nothing was stolen, the
panniers were on with rain cover, I couldn't imagine the alternative.
Back to our cabin, we had to start all over again with the fire. we sneaked in to the storage shed to grab some
dry woods. With that and an abandoned oak table leg, we had fire and a great night of sleep.
Brian got up early in the morning to make porridge for us. I was pampered with an in-bed breakfast. The
rain finally stopped and all the shops looked open when we roamed the street again in the morning. At
Navimag, the ferry company, we got our options: either take the ferry leaving the next evening to
Puerto Montt then cycle from there to enter Chiloe from the north, or wait for three more days to
catch the catamaran to Quellon, the southern point on Chiloe. The ferry ride is one day and two
nights, the catamaran reaches Chiloe in 8 hours.
We didn't have three more days to spare. Around noon, we moved to another hosptaje, Maria Esther,
closer to downtown and treated ourselves at Cusina de Bamberos, Firehouse Kitchen. The set meal,
seemed what everybody else were eating, consisted of a bowl of soup with meat, potato, and veggie, bread,
a fruit cocktail, and two huge mini football-sized Papas Rellenas, meshed potato with ground meat
filling then covered in batter and deep fried, it was a special for the day. These bamberos definitely
know how to treat their stomach right.
Stuffed and our system properly lubricated, we returned to Navimag and bought our tickets after much a due.
Just as we were about to leave, Graham, Chris, and Gabi came in. That was quite a pleasant surprise.
It turned out after we left Cochrane that rainy afternoon, Chris and Gabi got on the road together the next
day while Graham stayed for one more. When we camped in the cold snowy night on the mountain outside
Cerro Castillo, Graham was resting in a hosptaje in town after he caught up with Chris and Gabi. Seemed there
was a secret race going on there and we knew nothing. The good thing was we all would be on the same ferry again.
We rode to the grocery store to get some supplies. (Cookies we liked the most were already dangerously low.)
Only there that I noticed my tool bag was open and the bike lock in there was gone, as if a joke teasing me that I didn't learn my lesson. We could see our bikes from the Navimag office. How could that happen?
Thief wanted your lock, that's the irony of theft.
We stayed in for the night.