Obviously setting off straight from home with the Vespa is another thing altogether…
The idea of discovering new places thrills me, the experience of past journeys has helped me to equip myself to the full, to avoid any nasty surprises. In fact, the Vespa is equipped with a full set of waterproof soft bags that keep their content dry and safe from the bad weather. To cope with the rain, Pamela and I also have two rainproof suits, that we have even used to protect us from the strong gusts of wind in these areas. As for the helmet, we have opted for one that opens, especially handy when you stop to take in the breath taking views… and as you can imagine, that happens quite a lot here!
Diary of a travel to South America by Vespa
My journey by Vespa to South America, or more precisely Chile, begins with an extremely boring flight that includes a stopover in the United States. My travelling companion, Pamela, sleeps throughout the entire flight, leaving me to spend the time fantasizing… I am just as excited as if it where the first time I was setting off.
From our arrival in Chile, or more precisely, in Santiago, until our actual departure we have to spend about a fortnight following the procedures needed to get my beloved Vespa back, as it was sent straight to South America from Australia.
At last we are ready to set off for San Antonio, Chile, where my companion and I pick up the Vespa and the real journey begins!
In the first few days we cover a distance of about one thousand five hundred kilometres to reach the island of Chiloé and surround ourselves with the reality of beautiful unspoiled nature. Most of the journey was accompanied by pouring rain but our equipment meant that we could arrive at our hotel completely dry every night.
Having spent a few days totally relaxing, we head south towards Coyhaique, travelling along the “carretera austral”, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful routes in the world. Coyhaique is just the first of a number of crossings from Chile to Argentina and vice versa.
After having carefully studied the route on a “prehistoric” map, we opt for heading in the direction of the Atlantic to reach El Calafate. We decide to pass through Rio Gallegos which, although not the shortest route, is an almost obligatory passage as all the other itineraries include dirt roads that are unfit and impossible to travel along with our Vespa, loaded up like never before.
El Calafate is famous for the magnificent and majestic “Perito Moreno” glacier where we spend the whole day, admiring it both from aboard a boat and from the wooden walkways that surround it. This is a UNESCO world heritage site and thanks to its huge area is considered the world’s third largest freshwater reserve.
Moving on a few hundred kilometres and passing once more into Chile, we stop off in Puerto Natales where we spend a few days trekking in the Torres del Paine National Park. Here the main attraction can be found by following a path that is about 10 kms long and full of stones, when you reach the top you find a lake dominated by three towers of rock of about 3000 metres!!! This is probably the most breath taking view of this wonderful trip.
After spending a few days simply being tourists, we head off to Ushuaia, “a fin del mundu” the sights are truly spectacular, and we can’t quite believe we actually managed to get here (the journey was not without its problems).
The summer we are used to has absolutely nothing to do with what we find at the South Pole; the cold temperatures are really much closer to our winters. The days never seem to end, and the sun accompanies us until ten in the evening, making us lose all track of time.
We leave Ushuaia and head north and after having travelled the length of Patagonia, about three thousand kilometres covered in eight days on roads that are absurdly all alike, and often accompanied by strong winds, we arrive at the city of Bahia Blanca. For the first time in my life I had to use the waterproof gear to protect me from the wind too, which otherwise would have frozen us to our poor bones.
From Bahia Blanca the journey will completely change, leaving ample space for twinning with the local Vespa clubs. The following days see us travelling between Bahia Blanca and Buenos Aires, considered, rightly or wrongly, to be the “Paris of South America”; we manage to make time to visit the beautiful and touristic Mar Del Plata where we refresh our weary bones in the ocean.