My Cycling Tour in Chile, Day 11

March 20 Monday, Valdivia to Nueva Toltén

Day 11 map

Day 11 elevation profile
72 miles, 919 feet of climb, 607 ft max

After breakfast, the first item of business was to visit the Sernatur (Chilean tourist board) office right as they opened at 8:30 on a Monday morning. I wanted to find out about possible lodging in some of the small towns along my route back north up the coast. The nice ladies in the office made some phone calls and found me places to stay in three towns. They also gave me some maps.

The beach at Mehuin The way out of town was on a busy highway. This is the way to Santiago and all points north via Ruta 5, so there was pretty heavy traffic until San José, where I turned west toward the coast on a secondary paved road. At the end of this road is the little town of Mehuin which has a nice beach but not much else to recommend it.

Overlooking the beach at Mehuin On the unpaved road north out of town you immediately hit a monster climb, but the view from the top is magnificent.

View of hills and ocean They had a bunch of heavy equipment at the top widening and grading the road. Later on I rode on other places that had apparently been worked on recently because there was a thick coating of gravel which makes riding less than pleasant.

Vista over Nueva Toltén However I made it to Nueva Toltén well before sundown. I found the Hotel and Bar Turismo recommended by the ladies in the tourist office. The bar and restaurant are downstairs and the rooms are on the second floor.

Hotel and Bar Turismo I had dinner in the dining room. The owner/waiter set me a table facing the TV but when he saw me studying my maps he came over to talk. While I waited for my food we had a long conversation (with him doing most of the talking). Among other things, he said I am heading for Mapuche territory. I should experience some of the indigenous culture and food while I am up there. He said he himself is part Spanish but mostly Mapuche. The Mayor of the town of Tirúa is a man named Adolfo Mijagur, who is "the most important person in the Mapuche Lafquenche pueblo". He said Sr. Mijagur is a friend of his and I should look him up when I get to Tirúa. He wrote down his name for me, Cesar Gallegos Curin.

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