Class 3: Take 3

Trip Start Mar 11, 2005
Trip End Jul 15, 2005

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Thursday, July 7, 2005

Dear Class 3

Thank you for sending us these questions. We are sorry to have taken so long to reply but we haven't had access to the internet for some time. We had hoped to reply from the small town of Huara where there used to be an internet café, but unfortunately it was destroyed in a recent earthquake.

Best Wishes,

Philip and Andrew

Have you seen the sea?

We are now by the sea in Arica in the northwest of Chile. We started this trip by the sea at Ushuaia, which is on the island of Tierra del Fuego, but since leaving the island we have not seen the sea again until now.

How much food do you eat in a day?

A lot! However, it depends on how much cycling we think we are going to do on that day. If we are going to do a lot of cycling, or if the cycling is going to be very tough, we will ensure we have a big breakfast as soon as we wake up. So even if we are staying in a Bed and Breakfast, we will take extra food to the table and explain to our hosts that as we are cycling we need to eat a lot. During the day we will keep stopping to eat packets of biscuits, and maybe also have a light lunch if we pass a café and we have time. In the evening we will have a big meal - and sometimes have two meals if the portions are not very big!

Have you had the stitch?

No, we have not had the stitch, but we don't know why not.

Do you keep healthy?

Yes we do keep very healthy. We are careful what we eat and drink. Here in the northern part of Chile we have had to buy bottled water, as mining in the desert has polluted the natural water. We take a lot of vitamins as our friend Andy advised us that, because we eat so much food, we should take extra vitamins to deal with it. The only illnesses we have had are a cold (Andrew) and a tummy bug (Philip).

Have you met any other cyclists?

Yes, we have met some other touring cyclists who have come from Holland, Belgium, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Argentina. However, we have met no more than 20: this is probably because it is now winter here. Most cyclists have been cycling in the opposite direction to us.

Are Andy and Mandy very good friends to you?

We only met Andy and Mandy twice but we liked them very much. At the moment it is difficult for us to contact them because they are working on a boat in the Caribbean Sea.

Did you get cold in the Andes mountains?

Yes, we did get very cold in the Andes: the water froze in our bottles whilst we were cycling and the temperature can drop to -20 degrees Celcius.

Did you see other people whilst you were cycling over the Andes mountains?

Yes, there are some small villages in the Andes and we also met road workers, salt miners, border police, lorry drivers and photographers.

Have you seen any snow on the Andes mountains?

In this part of the Andes mountain range, it is extremely dry and there is very little snow. However, there was some at the highest parts, but this is now like ice as only a tiny amount thaws each day in the sun before it all freezes solidly again.

Was it windy when you were in the Andes?

Yes, it was windy in some places which slowed us down and made us very cold. However, we thought the wind might have been much stronger because we were so high up.

Was it scary going up the Andes?

No, it wasn't scary going up as we had planned our route very thoroughly; we were careful to take the time to get used to the high altitude and to make sure we had places to stay. It was more scary on the way down as were given the wrong information and we were still cycling at 4,700m with no place to stay when it was getting dark and very, very cold.

What did you drink when it was very cold?

When we were cycling it was difficult as the water kept freezing, but fortunately we didn't need to drink a lot as we weren't sweating in the cold. In the evening we drank some whisky to get warm.

Did the cold affect your bikes?

Yes, because the cold temperatures would shrink our metal cables and so affect our gears.

Did you think the Atacama desert was actually the driest place on earth?

As it is a desert we knew it would be very dry, but we didn't realise that it is the driest desert in the world.

Which is your favourite part of the journey?

Our favourite visit was seeing the icebergs and glaciers at El Calafate. As far as cycling is concerned, our favourite part was coming across the autumn colours of the forests between El Bolson and Bariloche.

Are you pleased with how far you have cycled?

Yes, we have now cycled 3,979 miles. It has been very interesting to see so many different places.

Which country are you now in?

We are now in Chile, but will soon cross the border into Peru.

Please can you send us a postcard?

Yes, we will send you a postcard from where we are now in Arica, Chile. Postcards can take quite a long time to arrive from Chile to the UK.

When you come back can you come and show us some pictures and tell us about your journey?

If your teachers would like us to come and talk to you we would be very happy to tell you about the journey.
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