Around the world on a Vespa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by s_gogos, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

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    Riding towards La Higuera, we had our first “accident”...
    In a narrow bend, with the sun blinding us and the road covered in shadow, we missed a huge rock blocking our way. We managed to avoid it with the front wheel, but unfortunately the Vespa's lower part, the exhaust, hit it! As a result, we had one completely warped exhaust, and the most important: it had blocked the rear wheel! After three hours of constant attempts to fix the problem using rocks, wooden sticks andeverything else we could find around us, we achieved absolutely...nothing. The exhaust was badly injured, so we had to continue without it. This part of the trip was a bit more noisy than usually!


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  2. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

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    We are in La Higuera! Here Che Guevara was killed in 1967. Today, the village even though it has less than 100 people, remains alive thanks to Che and the few tourists who visit it.

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    ibar132 and Trip Hammer like this.
  3. johnnybgood8

    johnnybgood8 Been here awhile

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    Great photos :)
  4. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

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    Greece
    Thanks!!
  5. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Northern Argentina & Chile

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    After almost 2 months, we left from Paraguay and got back to Argentina heading west to Salta and Jujuy. From there, we would enter Chile – only for a few days – and we would continue to Bolivia. The border of Argentina was very close to Asuncion and before we realized it, we had almost left the country. Passport control was not complicated at all, but the employee at the customs office had decided to catch some smugglers at last, so we had to go through a full investigation! We patiently got almost all our luggage off the Vespa to be searched for illegal goods and answered to some stupid and completely irrelevant questions. We never understood why we had to answer if we are married or if we have children (yes, we have two in the big black suitcase). After we were proved innocent, we were free to go.

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    Beautiful scenery on the road

    In a few hours we were in Formosa searching in vain for a campsite we had seen on the GPS. We stopped at a grocery store to get some tomatoes and some information and we were told that the campsite we were looking for doesn’t exist. We were trying to find an alternative as it would soon get dark and Orlando, a man who had come to the grocery store, provided us with one. He offered to host us for the night. He and his three daughters were living in a farm not far from where we were, and we could pitch our tent in their yard. At first we hesitated, but Orlando suggested that we could all go to the permanent police control next to his farm and give our names and his home address, so that we would feel more secure. Orlando and his family proved to be great people! We followed him to the farm (which he called “El Porton Rojo”) and pitched our tent under the trees. He also insisted that we could take a shower in his house and generally, he wanted us to feel like home! The only thing that we did that night was stay in the tent and try to sleep, because the mosquitoes and the high temperature were unbearable. The next morning, after talking with Orlando’s three smiling daughters about their dreams and their favorite musical instruments, we were ready to go. Orlando’s father came and gave us a bag full of oranges from their farm and Orlando told us how happy he was for helping us. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to meet such a good man. We took some pictures together and left thinking that the world is a better place with people like Orlando.

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    Orlando, the nice man who hosted us in Formosa, and his three sweet daughters

    The only interesting thing while moving on the RN81 was our encounter with a huge snake like those we usually see on the wildlife documentaries of National Geographic! The diameter of its body could easily make the vespa fall if it accidentally hit it and its length – if stretched – could cover the 2 lane road we were on. We were so flabbergasted when we saw it, that we forgot to do something important: take a picture of it! After that, we spent some time arguing on who’s fault was the fact that we left without a picture and before we realized it, we had got to the YPF gas station where we were planning to spend the night. While I was making stories combining some animals’ corpses we had seen on the road with the “killer-snake”, Stergios had pitched the tent and we were ready to spend one night at the gas station of Ibarreta. Camping next to gas stations (especially YPF gas stations) is very common in Argentina and the employees know it and they are very friendly and polite.

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    At the YPF gas station, in Ibarreta

    The next day was even more boring than the previous one…no snakes, no surprises. The only good thing that happened was our meeting with a couple from Israel traveling with their 3 dogs on a camper (van healing). We first met – where else? – at a YPF gas station and we spent some time talking and exchanging our travel experiences. I had started to like spending time in gas stations: 24h attention, toilets, showers (sometimes), wifi connection, hot coffee and croissants…exactly what we needed! So, the third time in a row that we spend the night next to a gas station I was happy! I even got happier when we met again with the Israeli couple by coincidence and had the opportunity to spend some more time talking! Doron and Galia (and their 3 dogs) are really nice and every time we meet, we have a good time together. That evening, the sky was dark and cloudy and the only thing that made us stop thinking about the rain that we thought it would come, were the two truck drivers who came towards us to meet us and talk to us about…Jesus Christ! They were members of some evangelical church and they would do anything to convert us! The discussion became a bit more “interesting” after their question: “In which continent is Greece?”…We also saw some other “interesting” facts that night: Unfortunately, some young girls from the nearby village came and started strolling at the parking lot where the trucks were. They were trying to earn some money from the truck drivers who would be spending the night there…

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    One more night at a YPF gas station

    The plan now was to get to the Calilegua National Park, meet with Galia and Doron again there and spend some time in a more natural environment than that of a gas station! While we were going west, the climate changed again: it became more humid and the vegetation became tropical! We couldn’t see huge cacti anymore, only green plants with big leaves, trees and flowers. After 8km of driving in a muddy dirt road (the only thing I had been thinking while on this road was that we would soon swim in the mud), we got to Calilegua National Park. The place we camped, was in the forest. Clean, with relatively decent toilets and of course, barbeque amenities (Argentinians can’t survive without their barbeque!). The only problem was that the water there was not drinkable and when our supplies ended, we had to leave. Doron and Galia didn’t show up, so after two days alone in the forest we were ready to continue.

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    On the road to Calilegua National Park

    Our next day begun with a nice surprise from the owner of a bakery in San Martin, where we stopped to buy some “medialunas” (croissants). When he saw the vespa, he asked us about our journey and after some 10-20 minutes of talking, he went inside his bakery and came back holding 2 breads (one sweet – one savory) which he offered us as a present. Additionally to this, he didn’t accept the money for the croissants we had already chosen! Unfortunately, our good mood didn’t last long: after we met this nice person, we had to meet an example of human trash! I know that I used a harsh word, but I don’t know how else to describe the truck driver who forced us off the road just because he decided to overtake us while there was only one lane for each direction and many vehicles on both lanes…He just accelerated and overtook us without the slightest interest if we survived or fallen! Luckily, we were safe and sound and we got to Guemes, where Andres was waiting for us. Andres was acouchsurfer who had agreed to host us for 2 days. He lived with his mother Maria, a sweet lady who made us feel like family! We spent 2 days with Andres and his mother at Guemes, making interesting conversations about various topics and cooking Argentinian and Greek recipes! In order to thank them for their hospitality, we prepared for them a traditional Greek recipe: a soup, that my grandmother had taught me how to cook! They appreciated the gesture and the soup and my grandmother was really happy when I told her that her recipe had traveled to Argentina!

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    At Calilegua National Park

    We said goodbye to Andres and his mother and we continued on our way to Salta. For the first time after a long time the weather was cold. Along with the climate, we observed differences in the outskirts of the city, making clear that the region of Salta was wealthier than other regions of Argentina. However, we preferred to stay in the municipal campsite of the city. There, we met again with Galia and Doron, and spent some more time drinking wine and talking (this time, we also had a delicious dinner cooked by Galia). The municipal campsite of Salta is a meeting point for overlanders and all types of travelers, so we had the opportunity to meet some people and exchange travel experiences: A couple from France (iletaitunefoisenamerique.blogspot.com) who were traveling on a motorcycle (after having traveled on a van which the sold and bought 2 bicycles which they also sold and continued on foot…) and gave us some advice about Peru and Bolivia. A couple from Germany who told us that they almost got robbed not only once, but three times in the same day in Cochabamba, Bolivia and many others that I can’t recall. Our “favorite” acquaintance was a semi-nomadic family who had turned their camping spot into a workshop, making noise all day long and additionally to this, they wanted to “hire” Stergios to do all the job instead of them(!): they rudely tried to force him to carry some truck and car axles and put them on their trailer! When Stergios denied, they seemed very surprised!

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    Fishing at Embalse de Cabra Corral

    Our days in Salta were interesting though a bit chilly…a good opportunity to test our gear for the cold that would become harsher the next days on the mountains. It was a “good” test for our patience also (I didn’t pass it), because of a party organized just next to the place where the tents were, playing awful music until dawn…apparently, partying next to people who are trying to sleep, makes sense for many Argentinians. The next morning, almost everyone in the campsite were slightly irritated and severely sleepy! We stayed about 5 days in Salta and after a 1-day trip around the city with Galia, Doron and the three dogs, as well a visit to a mechanic so to fix a problem with the front brake, we left. Our next destination: Purmamarca, a village known for the beauty and the colors of the mountains that surround it. We chose not to take the national road to get there, but another one narrower and of more interesting scenery and we proved right! It was a beautiful route, next to rivers and inside small forests. When we started ascending to Purmamarca, the landscape completely changed for once more: dry, rocky, with huge cacti and colored mountains. The village of Purmamarca was indeed beautiful: a small, picturesque place surrounded by rocky, colorful mountains!

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    Change of scenery: rocks, cacti and beautiful colors

    Of course, due to its beauty and to the fact that Purmamarca is an easily accessible place, the village has become a tourist attraction. At first we didn’t like it, but after we found a nice and relatively cheap campsite and we took some time walking in its narrow dusty streets, we started changing our minds. We took pictures, went to the main square where tourists can find different kinds of souvenirs…but, one also interesting thing for us was that we met 2 travelers on motorcycles. One Argentinian (Honda CX125) and one Brazilian (Tenere250) who was on his way home from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The Brazilian guy had some spare time, so we ended up drinking beer and telling stories from our trip. He gave us some Diamox pills for the altitude sickness, which he didn’t need anymore and some advice for the next part of our trip to Chile through Paso de Jama. He told us that we should avoid by all means to drive after 15:00′ because there is a strong and freezing wind coming from the Pacific Ocean and it could turn our trip into a nightmare. He almost froze when he decided to drive directly from Purmamarca to San Pedro de Atacama (400km+) and a truck driver saved him by letting him into his truck and offering him some hot coffee!

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    Colors and textiles

    We took into consideration this guy’s advice and the next day we managed to get ready to go at around 10:00(!). We wanted to drive to Susques which is a village at 3,600m of altitude. The vespa had never been at that height before. The highest point that we had managed to get was 3,300m in Lesotho and it wasn’t easy at all. We were considered about it but soon, we proved wrong! The vespa easily made it to 4,170m! Stergios couldn’t hide his excitement and he was shouting “The vespa ‘s the strongest of all vehicles!”. I was just smiling and petting the seat whispering: “Thanks little vespa for not making me walk and push…”. When we got to Susques we were surprised by how much different it was from the rest of the places we’d been to in Argentina. Its people came from a different ethnicity and to our untrained eyes, they looked more like Bolivians. Despite being close to the border, it seemed that not many people spend time in the village. They probably prefer to spend the night in the hotels outside it and continue towards Chile. The children, as well as some adults couldn’t stop watching us full of curiosity. We tried to find a place to stay in the village but as it probably was “siesta time”, no one answered!

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    4,170m: The Vespa did it!

    About 4km outside Susques, we spotted the only gas station in the area and after we filled our tank, we asked if it was possible to pitch our tent and spend the night there. As usual, the employee, kindly let us stay there and suggested that we should pitch the tent right next to the building, so that we’d be protected from the cold wind. When we started moving around pitching the tent and arranging our stuff we realized that the high altitude would make our life difficult – at least until we’d get used to it. After a while, we also had a terrible headache, so we decided to take half a Diamox pill each to see if things would get better. The night would be difficult but at that point, we didn’t know it yet!

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    In Susques

    The 2 factors that made our night difficult were the weather forecast, along with the Diamox pills. During the night, the temperature falls at -10 degrees and that’s why we had put on all our clothes and we had wrapped ourselves in our sheet and sleeping-bags. Combining this with the diuretic effect of the pills, it made our lives a nightmare! Now, when we are thinking about that night, we can’t stop laughing, but then, it wasn’t funny at all! We had to get out of the tent every 3-4 hours to pee and it was a torture leaving our sleeping-bags and exposing some of our most sensitive parts to that freezing cold! Just before dawn (the coldest time of the day), while I was trying to get into the tent and Stergios was already inside sound asleep, I fell and accidentally stepped and sat on him! That was it! I lost my temper and burst into tears!

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    «Wild» camp next to the gas station in Susques

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    he next morning, our headache wasn’t that strong and we dared to get out of the tent only when the sun had fully risen. We ran, took everything we needed from the vespa which was parked only 2m away and sealed the tent again! Unfortunately, we hadn’t predicted to store some of our food inside the tent to save it from the cold. We had lost some tomatoes and onions due to the deep freeze and we had to “defrost” some sausages and bread in order to enjoy our breakfast! At least, we had kept one of our two bottles inside, so we had drinkable water and ice cubes! We quickly got ready to hit the road again and head towards Jama, the small village on the border with Chile. We already knew that there was a hostel in Jama, just next to the gas station and we would spend the night there before we continue to Chile – which was 500m from that point! (I insisted after I had read the weather forecast: -15 is too low!)

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    Salinas Grandes, Argentina

    A few kilometers before we reached Jama, we met Jonas, a Swiss guy who wanted to go from South America to Alaska on his bike! While we were waiting for our room in the hostel in Jama to be cleaned, Jonas appeared. The following story is written here only because we never understood some of its parts: Before Jonas came, we had made a reservation for a double room. The employee in charge of the rooms showed us one with a double and a single bed inside. When we asked if this is charged as a double, he reassured us that it is, despite having space for 3 persons. We were not surprised, because in several cases, depending on the circumstances, there are triple rooms charged as double. When Jonas came and asked for a room, he was told that there is only one triple left and he had to pay for the whole room despite being alone. So, we decided to tell him to share a room so that he wouldn’t be charged with a triple. Our room could be charged as a triple and everyone would be satisfied. And now, the tricky part: when we told the man in charge that we would like to share our room with Jonas, he replied that it is a double room…but, it has space for three! At first, we thought that he wouldn’t let us share this room and that he wanted us to go to the triple room which had the exact same amount of space, but it’s name was “triple”! No! That wasn’t the problem! The man in charge, explained to us that we could all sleep in the 3-bedded “double” room and pay for 2, even if we were 3. However, if we chose to move to the 3-bedded “triple” room, we had to pay for 3! The only difference was that the third person in the 3-bedded “double” room wouldn’t eat breakfast! So, we would sleep in a 3-bedded “double” room, we would pay as if we were only 2 but one of us wouldn’t have free breakfast! We stopped asking and just went to sleep!

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    Jonas, the Swiss guy who is biking to Alaska

    The next morning, we woke up early and got ready to leave because we had heard that crossing the border to Chile can take too much time. The three of us shared the two breakfasts and soon, we were at the border control office. We were the second ones to arrive after a family who seemed pretty irritated with all their stuff outside their suitcases and lying on the ground! We had to fill in a dozen of forms for all the departments (immigration, customs etc) and to state to the health services department if we carry any forbidden goods. In Chile it is forbidden to import products of animal/vegetable origin and handcrafts. We weren’t 100% sure if we had something forbidden in our stuff, so after a few moments we were outside with all our luggage on the ground. We only lost our jar full of honey and about 1 hour of our time! (Only later, when we were in San Pedro de Atacama we found an “illegal” orange in our bag! It was the last of Orlando’s gift and the guys on the border control hadn’t seen it. The poor orange had survived the extreme cold, the extreme heat and it became a quick snack when we didn’t have anything else to eat!)

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    Sunrise in Jama

    We were in Chile at last! From there we had to start the ascending to Paso de Jama…first gear only! The heroic vespa was trying and trying until it got to 4,725m of altitude. Then, it refused to go on. That was the end of the vespa being heroic and the beginning of my heroism…Pushing the vespa and walking on this altitude was a nightmare. After 3-4 quick steps I felt like I had participated to the marathon! Fortunately, the first truck we saw, stopped and took me. Pure luxury! I had never seen a truck this big from the inside. It’s Peruvian driver offered me some coca leaves which give energy and we started talking about ancient Greece, the Inca civilization and other interesting topics. He even explained me how to drive a truck! Such a nice man, he had nothing in common with the 2 evangelist-drivers we had met some days ago, who wanted to convert us and started preaching until we managed to “escape”!

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    Due to the high altitude and the thin air the Vespa’s engine didn’t perform to its 100%, so we had remove the air filter.

    For the last 30kms before San Pedro the road goes down and the trucks have to reduce their speed to a minimum so that they won’t have problems with their brakes. So, I returned to the vespa which had managed to climb only with Stergios on its back. We thanked the truck driver who made a little prayer before he got to his truck to continue on the steep descending. We wished him “good luck”, said goodbye and in a few minutes, we were in San Pedro de Atacama. Depending on what every traveler wants, San Pedro can be one of the best destinations or a place to avoid. For us it was the second! The whole village seemed like an artificial tourist scenery. Constructed and dedicated to tourism. It looked like there were not any locals with normal lives living there. On its beautiful narrow streets, there were only tourists walking and all the small businesses were either hostels, or travel agencies, restaurants and cafeterias/bars with “happy hour” offers! Maybe some day in the past, there was a nice picturesque village there, but not anymore…

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    This place is a meeting point for thousands of tourists. We don’t feel we belong here.

    We pitched our tent in the yard of a guesthouse with price being the only criteria and started walking in the village. We soon realized that all the locals had changed location: they were living in the outskirts of the village and not in the center, which was the tourist attraction. It didn’t take long to see what too much tourism can do to a place: everything was overpriced – and the quality of the services was not the best in many cases. However, we don’t want to be unfair. There were some businesses with professional standards and fair prices, but it was the first time after a long period when someone tried to cheat us by giving us less change or making a “mistake” and bringing us the wrong bill…In San Pedro we stayed for 3 days only because we had to organize the next part of the trip. We wanted to get to Bolivia from the nearby border and visit the National Park Eduardo Avaroa.

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    The landscape on the road to Bolivia was breathtaking!

    The volcanic lakes, the geysers, the flamingos…the breathtaking scenery that everyone who has visited finds it difficult to describe, was something that we wouldn’t miss. The only problem was that this area is at an altitude sometimes higher than 5,000m and the roads are almost nonexistent! After taking into consideration all the above, we took the correct decision: I would take an organized tour from a travel agency and have almost all our luggage with me, leaving Stergios only with the necessary. I would be in a 4×4 with 5 more persons and Stergios would be alone on the vespa following almost the same route. We would meet again after 3 days in Uyuni. I was a bit jealous, but this was the only way to do it…On the morning of June 28th, we left San Pedro and we continued to Bolivia separately, we had a date in Uyuny!

    Cheers,
    Stergios & Alexandra
    jowul and johnnybgood8 like this.
  6. johnnybgood8

    johnnybgood8 Been here awhile

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    Jun 22, 2013
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    Awesome report Stergios & Alexandra!
  7. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Greece
    Thanks mate!
  8. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage Supporter

    Joined:
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    Absolutely amazing! The pictures, your positive attitudes, spirit, and choice of bike!!!:clap That poor little Vespa! :lol2 Safe travels, Stergios and Alexandra!
  9. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
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    Location:
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    Thanks!! Safe travels to you, too!!
  10. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    GPS waypoints and POIs (northern Argentina & Chile)

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    "If you are planning a trip to northern Argentina and Chile, take a look here.
    You may find some useful information!"


    [​IMG] Gualeguaychu, campsite «Costa Alegre»: A free night in a closed – we were off season – campsite (Costa Alegre). There was electricity and running water. No internet. (Apr ’15)
    gps: -33.00161, -58.49547

    [​IMG] Concordia, municipal sport center: Another free night in the municipal sport center. We had our own room, electricity, drinking water, clean toilets with hot water, and kitchen facilities. No internet. (Apr ’15) gps: -31.37396, -58.00475

    [​IMG] Yapeyu, campsite:Nice quiet campsite, with nice view, just in front of the river. Price: 25 pesos per person, clean bathrooms with hot water. No internet. (Apr ’15)
    gps: -29.47714, -56.81754

    [​IMG] Santo Tome, campsite: Free night in the municipal campsite (if you can call it so). No toilets (broken) but few barbecue facilities. No running water and of course no internet. (Apr ’15)
    gps: -28.54587, -56.02941

    [​IMG] Puerto Iguazu, campsite «Agreste Costa Ramon»: Very nice but also very expensive campsite (Agreste Costa Ramon), 5 kilometers away from the city center. There was internet, hot and drinkable water, electricity and kitchen facilities. There were also lots of mosquitoes. Price: 100 pesos per person. (Apr ’15) gps: -25.61978, -54.59413

    [​IMG] Buenos Aires. pizzeria “La Mezzeta”: if you are searching for a huge slice of tasty and reasonably priced pizza, then you must visit this place! Since 1939! (Apr ’15)
    gps: -34.57821, -58.46071

    [​IMG] Buenos Aires. Hotel Bolivar: this was our home for more than a month. We rent a room with a double bed for only 1,440 pesos per person per month! Good – clean shower / toilet (shared), well equipped shared kitchen. Not so quiet though, especially if you’re not so lucky and you get a room on the first floor, facing the street (hundreds of buses pass from this road during the hole day). Good internet connection. Best part of this hotel is that it’s located in San Telmo, the hurt of Buenos Aires.(Apr ’15) gps: -34.61826, -58.37287

    [​IMG] Buenos Aires. Vespa and scooter garage “Motonetas Classicas Argentina”:here we did all the necessary maintenance to our scooter. Regular prices we’ d say and the guys seem to know what they are doing. gps: -34.66507, -58.5168

    [​IMG] Buenos Aires. Buffet – Chinese restaurant: if you are searching for ridiculously cheap food in San Telmo then you must visit these guys. They have a big variety of food. You pick what you want and you pay per kilo (70 pesos/kg)! gps: -34.616292, -58.371716

    [​IMG] Salta, Guillermo y Benjamin Laragione garage: This particular garage was suggested to us by another moto-traveler. He had been satisfied by the quality of the work and by the chargers. We followed his advice and went there to repair the front brake pump of the Vespa. We were also satisfied by their work and they charged us only 10euros (150ARS). (Jun ’15)
    gps: -24.795132, -65.424355

    [​IMG] Salta, municipal campsite: Charges 15ARS per person and 20ARS per tent. Wifi (unfortunately, it worked only for the first day we were there), shower facilities – hot water, clean, toilets – clean, drinkable water, a place to wash clothes. Near to a supermarket, bakery, pharmacy etc. We spent here 5 days (it was a bit cold, but generally ok). The whole campsite and its facilities are old – don’t expect anything modern – but here you’ll have a great opportunity to meet many travelers and overlanders. Also, have in mind, that on Friday and Saturday night, it gets a bit noisy because of some “discoteca” (club) which is close to it. Additional info on charges: 10ARS for children, 20ARS for cars, 31ARs for trucks and 550ARS to rent a room (cabana). (Jun ’15)
    gps: -24.81275, -65.41937

    [​IMG] Calilegua National Park: Wild-camp, no charge. No electricity, and when we got there (there was no one else), the water was off due to security reasons. The guard (who comes every morning and leaves by noon), noticed us the next morning and unsealed the tabs. Toilets, relatively clean under the condition there is running water. Benches and barbeque facilities in the area. NO place for supplies (food or drinkable water) for many kilometers. Nice and quiet place with walking trails and opportunity for various activities (trekking etc). (Jun ’15)
    gps: -23.7622, -64.85125

    [​IMG] Ibarreta, YPF gas station: In Argentina you can pitch your tent and spend the night at almost all YPF gas stations. This one (YPF) was in a very quiet spot, it had a mini market (24 hours), WI-FI internet connection, and of course toilets (unfortunately no shower). (Jun ’15)
    gps: -25.20446, -59.85105

    [​IMG] Ingeniero Guillermo N. Juarez, YPS gas station: In Argentina you can pitch your tent and spend the night at almost all YPF gas stations. This one (YPF) was located in a beautiful and quiet spot, there was a 24-hour mini market for the very necessary things and your morning coffee (breakfast or snacks) and the tab water was drinkable. There were toilets of course, and shower facilities although with no running water (I had to use a plastic bottle to take a “shower”). There was WI-FI internet connection. (Jun ’15) gps: -23.904318, -61.842045

    [​IMG] Embarcacion, YPF gas station: In Argentina you can pitch your tent and spend the night at almost all YPF gas stations. This one (YPF) wasn’t in the most quiet and clean spot. It was crowded with many trucks (lots of dust and…”girls”), but it had very clean toilets and showers with hot water. There was a 24-hour mini market (coffee, breakfast or snacks), and very good internet connection (WI-FI). (Jun ’15) gps: -23.19639, -64.08885

    [​IMG] Purmamarca, campsite/hostel “La Reliquia”: 50ARS per person to camp in your tent. Nice, quiet, clean. Shower/toilet facilities – hot water, drinkable tab water, electricity, NO internet (we “stole” some wi-fi from a neighbor, though). (Jun ’15) gps: -23.744734, -65.500404

    [​IMG] Susques, free camping next to the gas station: We spent the night at the gas station of the village Susques, just next to the wall so that the cold wind wouldn’t hit us. The weather forecast was harsh: -10°C! The next morning we found all our fresh food and water completely frozen! Clean toilets, no internet, no drinkable water, no mini market, so bring your own stuff. (Jun ’15) gps: -23.42299, -66.38377

    [​IMG] Jama, some rooms for renting next to the YPF gas station:Some 500m before the border between Argentina and Chile, there is one last gas station (Arg.) with some rooms to spend the night, just next to it. Seemed completely new, in very good condition, clean and very quiet. We shared one room with another traveler we met and paid 11ARS per person (breakfast included). The rooms had heat, private bathroom-shower with hot water. The tab water was drinkable. Just next to it, there was a mini-market, with a cafeteria (NO wifi). * Tip: if you are 3, ask for a double room! Double rooms have one double and one single bed inside and even if there are 3 persons, the charge remains the same! (Jun ’15) gps: -23.23828, -67.01927

    [​IMG] Jama, money exchange: You can change currency (ARS, CHP) just before you enter Chile. The rate is not the best you can find in the market, but it is negotiable. (Jun ’15)
    gps: -23.23717, -67.02005

    [​IMG] Jama, border control: In Chile, there is a strict rule about importing specific types of goods/products. Click HERE to read more info, according to the official leaflet. In our case, after a full investigation to all our luggage, we lost an unsealed jar with honey (we had to unpack all of our bags). (Jun ’15) gps:-23.23685, -67.02309

    [​IMG] San Pedro de Atacama, hostel/campsite “Esencia del Desierto”: We camped here for 3 nights. It was the cheapest place we found. 4,000CHP per person in tent, 5,000CHP per person in a dorm (6-bed), 25,000CHP for a double room. Clean, shared bathroom (hot water) – NOT drinkable, generally in San Pedro, wifi, shared kitchen with fridge. To use the stove, there is an extra charge of 1,500CHP. Laundry for 1,500CHP per kilo. (Jun ’15)
    gps: -22.915554, -68.19403

    [​IMG] San Pedro de Atacama, cheap food: “Tchiuchi” was the only place to get a cheap meal. It serves only french fries and roasted chicken – and some refreshments. A meal for two, which consists of half a chicken and a huge portion of french fries, costs 4,300CHP. (Jun ’15)
    gps: -22.911417, -68.19988

    Cheers,
    Stergios & Alexandra
    TM1(SS) likes this.
  11. drag123

    drag123 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    194
    Location:
    Ottawa Canada
    Great report Stergios and Alexandra you are having the trip of a life time. Love your pictures and positive attitude. Kalo sas taxidi
  12. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Efharistoume poli!!!
  13. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Northern Argentina & Chile [VIDEO]


    *you can watch the video with English subtitles

    Don't forget to subscribe to our channel if you want to see more!
    Please if you enjoy the video“like” it and “share" it!

    Cheers,
    Stergios & Alexandra
  14. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Northern Argentina & Chile Photos

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    On the road to Calilegua N.P.

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    Beautiful scenery on the road

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    “Family Photo”

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    Orlando, the nice man who hosted us in Formosa, and his three sweet daughters

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    Smiling on the road

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    Beautiful scenery on the road

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    One more YPF gas station

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    The best place for the night: coffee, wifi…you can find everything you need in the YPF gas stations

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    One more night at a YPF gas station

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    People who don’t respect the Traffic Code and put the lives of others in danger, should be charged with attempted homicide: While driving on the RN34, we were forced to get off the road to save ourselves from a truck driver who decided to overtake us on a one-lane road with cars coming from the opposite direction!

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    “Bomberos”

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    Sticky the stick insect got stuck in a sticky situation

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    Mushrooms

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    Drops

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    Drops

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    Drops

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    Drops

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    From our 1-day trip around Salta

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    From our 1-day trip around Salta

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    From our 1-day trip around Salta

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    With our raincoats on

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    Fortunately, we chose not to take the National Road to Purmamarca. Instead, we took a small provincial one which was more interesting

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    Climbing to Purmamarca

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    Change of scenery: rocks, cacti and beautiful colors

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    Change of scenery: rocks, cacti and beautiful colors

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    Furry friend

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    Colors and textiles

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    In the narrow, dusty streets of Purmamarca

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    Our campsite in Purmamarca

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    At the central square of Purmamarca

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    In the clouds

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    In the clouds

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    4,170m: The vespa did it!

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    Probably, a vespa is not very common here

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    Salinas Grandes, Argentina

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    Vicuña: Untamed “cousins” of the llamas

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    “Wild” camp next to the gas station in Susques

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    In Susques

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    Sunrise in Jama

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    Jonas, the Swiss guy who is biking to Alaska

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    Freezing cold: the water of the springs had become ice

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    Freezing cold: the water of the springs had become ice

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    Living there can’t be easy

    Ride safe folks,
    S & A
    jowul, TM1(SS), v15ben and 2 others like this.
  15. Garcya

    Garcya n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Austria
    Awesome!
    s_gogos likes this.
  16. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,802
    Location:
    SW. Idaho
    that is one tough little scooter,Vespa should be your sponsor.
    n thanks for the great report n the pics wow
  17. RageAgainstTheFence

    RageAgainstTheFence Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    192
    Location:
    Beyond the Pale
    Great RR - that Vespa is incredible! I first saw it when I read a blog by Liam who was doing a RTW on a C90 (which later fell into the Congo river!)

    Are you headed into Peru? I hope to be in Peru by early October. I't be great to meet up and go for a beer. Hope to see you guys out there :)
  18. TrimSlim

    TrimSlim Where's the chile?

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Minnesnowta...
    Thanks for continuining to share your trip with us. I am a fellow scooterist and really enjoy reading this thread each week! Hope you both continue to have a safe and fulfilling journey. Onward mighty Vespa!
  19. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    :) Thanks!

    Thanks for the comment! Vespa is really tough indeed, but unfortunately Piaggio isn't that interested... :(

    Liam is a legend!
    Yes, we're in Peru (Cusco) at the moment. We'll visit Inca Ruins in Choquequirao and then we'll head south towards Chile.
    Hope to see you somewhere!

    Sharing our experiences from the road is part of our trip! Thanks a lot for the comment!
  20. RageAgainstTheFence

    RageAgainstTheFence Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    192
    Location:
    Beyond the Pale
    Ah cool - are you headed down to Patagonia? What's your general plan just out of interest?