16th December 2015

16 – 24 December: Viña del Mar, Santiago and bye bye Suzy and South America... for now

As "promised" I take the remaining days comfortably, only drive short distances along the coast and spend the afternoons mostly walking along the beach, in ungspectacular villages like: Taltal, Caldera, La Serena, Viña del Mar and then finally Santiago which is actually the only big city I visit now in Central or South America. It feels good sitting being in the sun and slow down; there’s enough at the moment going through my head: will Suzy be ok on the transport, will everything work out with my return flight, how will it be to be back home, to go back to work soon; suddenly put back to a regulated daily routine. And at the same time I use the time to look back : how was it like for me now ? My first really long trip on a motorbike, most if the time traveling alone.
So on Monday I drive from Santiago to Valparaiso and bring my more or less clean Suzy together with Michael (and his BMW ) to the shipping company. De-connect the battery, reload the luggage and then…say goodbye! Really a bit a sad moment ... ..Suzy will travel together with 22 other motorcycles in a container to Hamburg and from there with a truck to southern Germany where we will pick them up. Oh, I just can imagine what stories about adventures and sufferings the bikes will tell each other ;-) Approx. in early February I should be able to pick her up and drive her home. Then a really thorough wash and an extended service. That’s the least she deserves. But I guess she will not feel bored around me….. have already plans for 2016 – even if only „small“ ones!
Coincidentally, on Monday along with Michael and Frauke also William - he was traveling with the two together since the Stahlratte - and Daniela, then the only non-motorcyclist on the Stahlratte, are in Valparaiso and we spend my last evening together, "dig" in memories and tell each other stories from our trip adventures. Time is running and of course I miss the last bus back to Santiago. Luckily they have a spare room in their apartment and I can sleep there. 
Back in Satiago next day I skip my original plan to go for some sight-seeing in Santiago; get my things ready fort he travel and enjoy the remaining time, hanging around at the hostel Casa Matte, discuss with Cristian and other motorcycle travellers about the bikes, the travels, ….Cristian and his lovely wife Francesca have rebuilt their house into a hostel and meanwhile it is famous along motorcycle travellers as Cristian can help with any problems and it is just great as there are always other travellers around. 

But the moment I sort of was afraid of has come: I have to leave. Via Metro and Airport Shuttle I get to the airport, stand there for almost 2 hours in the queue to check in and after that have to wait for another 3 hours until it’s time for boarding. As good organised Santiago seems, with the airport shuttle it is a bit strange: the latest Airport shuttle leaves the city at 10pm but there are flights the whole night....... hmmmm, well, what the heck. Everything else on my trip back worked perfect - except that the many security checks really get on my nerves: before boarding is clear, but while transferring from one plane to plane (plane – transfer bus – plane) again 2 checks seems weird; I have no idea where I should be able to get something dangerous on board that way. In Munich I even catch the connecting flight from Munich to Zurich in the last second. 

Still too close, of course, at the moment the impressions, but a first retrospect:
Get it down to the point: it was just GREAT - UNFORGETTABLE !!! An extended look back I'm going to make in 2-3 weeks when I back in everyday life and all the impressions could settle somehow.
But here some first facts:
Travel days: 180
Riding days: 113
Distance: 35'000km
Countries: 15 (including Alaska.)
Motorcycle: 4 overthrows (without damage), 2 large & 3 small services (with the usual wearing parts), 3 rear and 3 front tires (but with 1 poor quality of each), pinion/chain
Repairs: none
People: 4 overthrows (without damage except the wounded ego), 1 day Diarrhoea, 1 day with a slight food poisoning
Victims: 3 birds (small), 100s of butterflies, 100thousands of insects
I’m endlessly grateful for all the guardian angels, good thoughts and thumb-ups that accompanied me during these 6 months and obviously have done “a good job” ;-)
Now I wish to everybody some relaxing days - and a 2016 that will fulfill whatever you’re dreaming of and fighting for.
Hasta luego mi amigos.