After our record breaking bike clearance time at the airport, we have the rest of the week end before we can go to BMW. Sunday is spent walking and walking. First around Bellavista to see some interesting street art. Not all streets in that area feel quite safe, so it was good Anthony came with me. He has been feeling very dizzy and we are not sure why – we suspect it’s his ears as he has had a blocked nose. So we wonder the streets together before he heads back for a snooze.
Then I wonder off to other areas and find the most exquisite square.
Time to head back into the centre of Santiago.
We have been eating sandwiches for lunch and dinner for the last few days, we decide to go out to dinner tonight and find a great lively area with all sorts of restaurants. Great spot for people watching.
Monday morning, we head off to BMW. We meet the guy I emailed but as I suspected, his English is no better than my Spanish, ie non-existent, but he gets someone who speaks English for us and promptly disappears. Ricardo, who was a flight attendant for 15 years, speaks perfect English and understands customer service. He is lovely. So over our 5 hours waiting to hear anything from the service guys, we ask him to give us an update, passes my not-so-subtle suggestions such as try the bike first, then use either Anthony’s DME or the one belonging to the brand new F700GS in their show room, so we can be out of their hair as soon as possible. While we wait, we enjoy the outrageous cafe service they provide customers. We go out to the local mall for lunch, come back for another coffee and cakes.
After 5 hours we leave after Ricardo promises to call us back with news the next day. The next morning, Ricardo calls, they have identified the problem and the bike will be ready at the end of the day! Really, so quick? I keep asking whether they actually took the bike for a test ride before reprogramming the DME but I never really get a satisfactory answer. Despite usually being positive, I am a little dubious that they have actually fixed my throttle problem with a simple DME software calibration. We’ll find out tomorrow, because today, Tuesday, we are being taken out.
We take the metro to meet Carlos and his family after having a morning coffee at one of the “coffee with legs” places, as they are called here…
Carlos and Jessica have taken the day off to take us to one of the wine growing areas called Casablanca, just over an hour out of Santiago. We are treated to a fantastic lunch with superb red wine, at the Indómita winery, overlooking the valley. What a wonderful way to spend a few hours.
Then they take us to Valparaiso harbour which is buzzing with life, small colourful wooden boats, a few ex Royal Navy ships in the distance, and people simply enjoying their afternoon in the great sunshine we are having here. We see the various hills around Valparaiso dotted with quaint colourful houses. It will be fun to explore this town again when we return on our own. Because now, it is time to drive to Viña del Mar, the next town up the coast, for ice cream. It is interesting how two little towns so close to each other can have such different feels. Viña del Mar is obviously more affluent, with lovely promenades, lush gardens and great white buildings. It is very pleasant, but we both love the feel of working ports, so Valparaiso is where we will return. What a great day, with our new friends.
Wednesday after doing a spot of repacking, getting our next 6 months’ worth of medication into our kitchen/bathroom pannier, we head off to BMW. I take Streak for a test ride with Anthony following to give me directions or I would get lost!! It doesn’t take long to notice the sluggish accelaration. I want to be quite sure, so we take the freeway so that I can give it a good go. No good. Back to BMW. Ricardo is on leave but we meet Michel from France who is waiting to get his bike fixed and he translates for us. Once again, I insist that someone goes out on my bike and opens the throttle up as if they were overtaking or going accelerating out of a bend. We are told to come back in 3 hours. While they work on both our bikes, we go to the mall and have lunch together. It is the first time we have met a fellow rider going in the opposite ditection who can give us a few tips on some roads to avoid. We return to find out that they did test Streak, felt the problem and found two software upgrades. Time for another tests ride. Instant difference! It feels like I have a brand new bike. So Santiago were right, we didn’t need a new DME after all, simply software upgrades. So after another 6.5 hours today at BMW, we are finally good to go!!!!!!!!!
Back at the apartment, it is time to pack. What do we do, do we head north, do we head south first as we have an extra couple of weeks we thought would be required for my bike, do we have another look for tickets to Easter Island? There are a few seats available to Easter Island over the next few days but the first available flight back from Easter Island is the 9th March!!! That’s too late says Anthony. But I have another idea: we could spend a couple of weeks to explore the Lake District south of Santiago, which also means time to make sure Streak is fully recovered, come back on the 3rd March, if we have bike issues, we can take the bikes back to BMW while we are on Easter Island, and head to Rapa Nui on the 4th, back on the 9th. Knowing how much I have always wanted to go there, Anthony couldn’t resist the look of excitement on my face. An hour or so later, I have booked flights and accommodation!!!!
So much to do and plan, we decide we’ll stay another day tomorrow and head off Friday 21st Feb. Time today for some shopping and more coffee with legs 🙂
We loved Santiago when we first came here and we love it even more. Still so much to see but the roads beckon. Next news will be from somewhere south of here.