Odisea la Sudamerica

Hola Mi Amiga / Amigo

If it’s good enough for Dora and Boots, its good enough for us. Welcome to Lockdown 2021, Revenge of the Lockdown – not a sequel anybody needed, not one that you’d pay money for, but a sequel that’s here nevertheless.

What to do on sunny days, rather than sleeping the day away, or indeed working? Or rainy days for that matter, rather than jumping up and down in puddles wearing boots (poor Boots, why did you have to skin him and turn him into footwear?). Why not join in our South American Odyssey, and help the team travel from Bogota in Colombia, all the way to Ushuaia at the Southern tip of Argentina, a trip of just under 10,000km. To help gauge progress we’ve got a Map (I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map) but not in our Back Pack, it’s here on this website (Back Pack has eyes, you better hope this website doesn’t), and will be updated each day following the activity that’s logged.

All activity is converted to cycling kms (including cycling kms, which is really clever) and then combined to progress us on our journey. On our way we’ll head down the West Coast, through Ecuador, Peru, a detour into Bolivia to the Death Road, then down through Chile and Argentina. As well as being carefui whilst traversing North Yungas Road, we’ll try our best to avoid Swiper the Fox (who is the Fox in this group, and if it’s you, why do you consider yourself Foxy?) the Grumpy Old Troll (wonder who that could be) and probably get really pissed off by Diego when he swings by on his vine (watch-out Diego, that’s the edge of the… road…oops…too late, adios Diego).

I will keep a travelogue up to date the best that I can whilst under the duress of lockdown (best that I can means utilising tv programmes about Spanish 7 year olds as a literary foundation). Whilst traveling I’m going to also attempt to add some individual challenges on here, that you can pick up and discard (just like Diego) at your leisure.


Our Progress

Day 7 – (Colombia)

Well, its actually Day 1 to Day 7 as we’ve gone back to the future, or back to the past, or something involving time travel, wormholes etc (apologies, wormholes can be either of a bend in time and space or the holes left in Diego after he fell off the death road). So, using hindsight (no, I did not include the word Hind due to one of our number playing for them) we’ve traveled a wee way from Day 1 to now, currently sitting at 781km and counting (as today isn’t finished). 

We’re on the Colombia / Ecuador border about to leave the biggest Spanish speaking country in South America and head into one of the poorest, Adios Colombia (and is that the echo of Adios Diego…Go…Go…O), Hola Ecuador. We didn’t get to see Medellin the home of Pablo Escobar, as that was north of Bogota where we commenced, so we missed out on the Hungry Hungry Hippos (and what were they hungry for? Cocaine of course ).

A shame to depart Colombia, the coffee is apparently the Worlds favourite, which in itself is enough to make me want to turn around. Couple that with the fact that their chocolate is so good, in fact, 95% of Colombia’s cacao exports are classed as ‘Fine Flavour’ by the International Cacao Organisation (thank you wikipedia) and the question should be asked, why would we leave. Ok, thats enough random facts, need to find a way to return to making things up. Keep leading the way Baz, who knew you could crunch your way down a continent?


Day 8 – Ecuador 885km 

Day 8 is starting (although its after lunch as I’m typing this) with 885km completed and we as a team sitting (lying? some of us maybe standing) about 100km north of the Ecuadorian capital Quito. That led me to research what you could eat if you were doing the Quito diet, and it turns out Coffee and Chocolate, just like Colombia, which is weird as I was sure that diet was all about low-carb, cheese, fish etc – you learn something new everyday. 

Sun is shining, so are my legs, so today is a good day to plough through some kms. We are riding the Andes (which if I had spelt that with a Y the connotation and ability to make a joke would have been far different, not that I know any Andy’s that I’d like to ride…you might be different) so are at altitude with all the benefits that brings in terms of increased lung capacity and ability to function when returning to sea level – unfortunately none of us will display any of that. Anyway, let’s see where we get to today and there might be a bit more dribbling (not about Andy’s) a bit later on.

Almost the end of another day, and as of 6.00pm 226km of activity has been logged taking us further south into Ecuador. We’ve passed through Quito, and on that, who knew that the Quito diet isn’t spelt the Quito diet, it’s spelt the Keto diet, so not after the capital of Ecuador, but apparently an anagram meaning Keep Eating Tofu Or else (or something like that, dunno, do your own research if you don’t believe me). We are sort of in the middle of nowhere, in the Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, which contains a volcano eerily similar to Mt Ngauruhoe (or Mt Doom for Lord of the Rings geeks – apologies for putting that in for all those that will be groaning away). You can check out the facebook page for the park here

Let’s hope the volcano doesn’t explode, otherwise we might have to have a game of the floor is lava (potential activity for Kia Hakinakina!). Until tomorrow.

Day 9 Ecuador – 1,111km

The volcano didn’t explode last night, I know that as I didn’t have to worry about waves of lava lapping at the stationary bike, nor did I have to jump from couch to couch to sit in the sun to eat my breakfast. Also, there hasn’t been a report on the news about a volcano in Ecuador erupting. Looking for some inspiration today. This is only the third entry (fourth if you include the introduction) in the travelogue and maybe writers block is kicking in (but for that to happen one would have to classify oneself as a writer). So far we’ve had themes of cocaine (drug ingestion), coffee (another form of drug ingestion), chocolate (for some its a drug), Tofu (street value in the negatives) and potentially volcanic ash – good for the skin (if its not too hot) and for resembling snowflakes (a drug, full-circle back to cocaine). Lots of similar subjects, some of them probably a bit taboo, some not…goddam it, missed my first opportunity there (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you will at some stage soon!).

Will have a think today about something to talk about, oh the struggles of life.

Waiting for a bit of activity to come in so its hard to determine quite where we’re finishing today, so hurry up slow coaches otherwise I’ll get lost / confused / distracted (select one of the previous and it’ll be accurate, regardless of the time of day or situation). Inspiration was slow in coming, I missed the chance of inserting a link, Sinead linked the link to a chain, it didn’t take long for that chain to be linked to a whip, spurs, certain leather goods – I am of course referring to cowboys (not sure where you thought I was going) – seeing as we’re in South America specifically referring to Gauchos. A bit early for that, probably, as they’re associated with Uruguay / Argentina and not so much Ecuador, but hey, I go where my thoughts take me (please don’t follow, it’ll take you to places you don’t want to go / may not return from). So, somehow today I’ve had so many opportunities to reintroduce Eketahuna into a tour of South America and despite everything, I haven’t worked out how to. Oh well, something obvious might pop up.



Day 10 – Ecuador 1,301km

Heading down South (thank goodness, otherwise we’d be going in the wrong direction) and we are making some progress, starting today having traveled just over 1,300km. The trouble is, where has the sun gone (its still there you idiot you say, just behind the clouds, and the rain) and how will that impact on how much further we get while this weather is around. Dreary weather certainly makes lockdown feel more like a lockdown and less like an open air prison. Hopefully the Hauora for the team can be maintained as we go, what we need is something for people to do, maybe something for them to read if they’re bored, something with some humour. That would be it. If anyone has any ideas please feel free to share them.

We’re still in the Andes (whoa, Andy must be sore) but then we will be for pretty much the duration of this (I wonder if there’s a big tub of vaseline somewhere that can be leant to Andy) near a place called Palmira, and when I say a place, I actually mean a Desert – I get the feeling that type of landscape (just had to double check I spelled it right as I was suddenly thinking about ice cream) is going to be reasonably commonplace as we travel.

Anyway, joyous activity today everybody (I’ve decided to make this sound like a cult).

Day 11 – Ecuador 1,475km

And here we are, when I say that, I’m referring to the photo below – the Canton (province) of Nabon, which is hilly (no more jokes about the Andes, or Andy’s – well not today anyway) but not Deserty (no jokes about it being Desserty, or ice creamy or creamy even  – that would be taboo, nope, not taking us there as the things that come up if you type that into their website are not fit for a PG audience!). 

Anyway, my mind is wandering (to places where it doesn’t need to go), just like we are (to places we do need to go – specifically Southern Ecuador, then Peru). Starting the day at 1,475km we need to travel a good 200km plus to get to the border so its touch and go whether we’ll make it today, mainly go rather than touch. Struggling for jokes (nothing new), maybe something will hit me later, and after its hit me I’ll see if I can think of any other jokes (whilst iceing a bruise).

Disputa de tierras en Shiña deja 15 heridos – Ministerio de Gobierno

Day 12 – Ecuador 1,655km

Day 12, doce, if we’re using the local dialect.

Today is an auspicious day. The 29th of August is Liam Paynes birthday. Thank god for that, if it wasn’t for today we wouldn’t have the music of Boyzone! (or Westlife, or some band, can’t remember which). Pretty sure he’s in that band with Ronan Styles, or Zayn Keating. We might have some music to accompany us as we’re traveling again, off in One Direction, south. Still can’t remember which band Liam Payne’s in, maybe it’ll come to me, but then not being able to remember is the Story of My Life. As I’ve always said, it’s the Little Things that count, and if I can’t remember it will be consigned to History, so if you can help in any way that would be Perfect. Whichever band it is may or may not have sung the Best Song Ever, pretty sure Boyzone did, No Matter What. Oh well, if there’s One Thing I know, it’s the music of boybands, and if that’s not apparent from this ramble, I will not let it Drag Me Down.

Prize for the most dribble in one day, awarded to the author of this.


Day 13 to 15 – Peru 2,083km

Sorry all, I committed to a daily Travelogue and only last about 6 days (if you include I had to backdate the first one). I got sidetracked (me, sidetracked?) by the Case Study (nope, not a psychological one about myself) and after hours of writing I found it hard to put literally hours (yep, 100% accurate, it takes a long time to write stuff this good) into writing about our journey.

Anyway, we’re in Peru and we’ve got a wee while to get through it. See, Peru has some deepest, darkest, areas, where duffel coats and marmalade reside, and where errant Bears can end up at train stations alongside Hugh Grant who has nefarious purposes. I think that’s how the story goes, you might have to reacquaint yourself either with the books or with the movies, or ask Aunt Lucy (when you cycle past her in Peru).

Places of interest? Apart from, of course, Paddington’s birthplace, are Macchu Picchu (not a pokemon character) and a side trip to Bolivia to traverse the death road. However, both of those things are way down south, maybe another 1,000kms away. Which reminds me, we have around 7,500kms to go. Easy.