We are in Santiago and have to organise our bikes for their long flight across the Pacific Ocean. Biosecurity in Australia is very strict – so we make a start at the local car wash to remove the first layer of dirt!
The next stop is at the house of our shipping agent, Julio, who is just like meeting an old friend – he cleans and details our bikes like they’ve never been done before!!
The next morning we are to meet our agent, Julio, at the cargo terminal – and it’s a very emotional 26 kilometre ride to the “aeropuerto”! This is finally it – no more riding in an overseas country! The images and feelings of riding out of the airport at Kuala Lumpur on the first day of our journey back in March last year are still right there!
It takes two to three hours to pack the bikes – with plastic wrap sealing them up as a final touch.
It’s time for a look around Santiago – a city of seven million people and Chile’s capital – where the mountains surround much of the city – trapping in the smog and limiting visibility.
We take the subway to Los Dominicos – a craft market in the heritage zone of the city – and are “serenaded” all the way in our carriage by a busker with a sax! The artisan shops are in a quaint village setting so it’s lovely for a wander – and our last taste of “empanadas frita”!
Our last day in Chile arrives and we are ready – “home” is constantly in our thoughts and it’s time to do the final leg of our journey! We have managed to time the arrival of our bikes in Brisbane with a three day stopover in Auckland – a chance to catch up with Paul’s parents – and wish his Dad a Happy 93rd Birthday!
Our daughters, Sarah and Chelsea, welcome us home – Chelsea has flown 2000 kilometres from Melbourne to surprise us at the Brisbane Airport!
Story of the Week
We hand over our boarding passes in Santiago to board our LAN Chile flight across the Pacific – but the scanner goes red instead of green and we are waved over to a woman standing at a computer. She taps away, scribbles on our passes and we head off to the plane. The hostess greets us and points to the left – what the – we have been upgraded to First Class/Business – holy guacamole!!
The cold beers before we even take off are just the ticket and we are grinning from ear to ear!! We are given a Menu and dinner is four courses – with a white, linen tablecloth, real cutlery and real glasses! The service is like a high-class restaurant and as we settle for the “night” our chairs become flat beds and we are given a soft, white quilt and a perfect soft pillow. On the Trans-Tasman leg, Emirates are the “carrier” for Qantas and we are on the top floor of an A380 – another first for us! What an absolutely perfect way to end our Round the World journey!!
Tip of the Day
We have had several beers in the Qantas Lounge at Auckland Airport, boarded the plane and had several more before some wine with our dinner. With less than an hour to go to Brisbane we decide to lie back in our “pods” with a full glass of wine, put on the headphones and listen to some music. I’ve found a Live Acoustic Covers playlist and The Corrs are doing Everybody Hurts – just awesome! All is going swimmingly until the man in the pod across the aisle “looms” right over me – points his finger accusingly – and tells me my singing is way too loud!! As we stand to leave the plane, a guy two pods in front turns round with his thumb up and says “Good Singing!” So what some people find “intolerable” – others find amusing – it all depends on your view of life!!
On Two Wheels
We are staying in a hostel recommended by our shipper, Julio – and it’s full of “overlanders” like ourselves – all finishing their journey in Santiago. Ira is German and lives in Switzerland – she has been eight months on the road – shipping her bike to Bogota in Colombia and heading south – sometimes with others and sometimes on her own. It is so good to share stories with another female biker!
So there it is – BikesnBeers have been around the world – 80,000 kilometres, 40 countries – all in one year!! Thanks to all the people who have “followed” our journey and to all the new friends we made – our bar is always open in Brisbane and we love having people to stay – so many stories to tell!!