Allow us to ease you gently into the new year with our monthly selection of clumsy holiday snaps and mirthless captions. For past months, click here, and click here to visit our Flickr page (which we’ll be updating just as soon as we get a decent Wi-Fi connection).

 


 

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Gaby said hello to us on the main street in Mendoza, giving us her business card and inviting us to drop by. Her business, it turns out, is a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of a record shop, unexpectedly stuffed with a gigantic variety of used vinyl and CDs. When Will popped by one afternoon, Gaby was taking a violin lesson in the shop. Will showed he hasn’t lost any of that old magic, mostly because he never had any of that old magic in the first place.
Mendoza, MZ, Argentina
5 December 2013

 


 

locks-1280The railings of the Pio Nono Bridge over the Rio Mapocho in Santiago are covered in padlocks, a lover’s way of expressing devotion to his or her one and only. We’re not sure if the padlocks are removed when the relationships end.
Santiago, RM, Chile
7 December 2013

 


 

santiagoview-1280The view – one of the views – over Santiago from the Cerro San Cristóbal.
Santiago, RM, Chile
7 December 2013

 


 

santa-1280‘No, I won’t come and play with the kids. I hate kids.’
Santiago, RM, Chile
7 December 2013

 


 

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Two wheels good, three wheels… Less good, actually. But fun for all that.
Santiago, RM, Chile
7 December 2013

 


 

biblio-1280Had we been stuck for something to read in Santiago, we wouldn’t have had to look far to find a book. Some, perhaps all, of the Metro stations contain small libraries; this one was at Baquedano station, close to our hotel.
Santiago, RM, Chile
9 December 2013

 


 

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To our surprise, the historic trolleybus network in Valparaíso is used more by locals than tourists, perhaps because the local government – or, more accurately, the private firm that now owns and runs the service – has made no attempt to varnish it for the benefit of visitors. Many of the vehicles are more than 60 years old; a handful were imported from Switzerland and still contain their original French signage.
Valparaíso, V, Chile
10 December 2013

 


 

luis-1280Slogging up a Brazilian hill back in July, Will was flagged down by a passing motorcyclist. When Will explained our route to him, Luis mentioned that he lived in Mendoza, offered his email address and invited us to look him up when – if – we got there. Four months and 5,000km later, Luis very kindly agreed to look after our bikes while we popped over to Chile on the bus. It turns out he’s a massively experienced touring cyclist whose expeditions include a haul through Africa, and who now runs cycling and trekking tours in and around Mendoza. Thanks, Luis.
Mendoza, MZ, Argentina
12 December 2013

 


 

'Hm. Roundabout. Which way round?.'

‘Hm. Roundabout. But which way round?’

'Let's try clockwise.'

‘Let’s try clockwise.’

'Ayeeeeeee!'

‘Ayeeeeeee!’

'Anticlockwise, you moron. Anticlockwise.'

‘Anticlockwise, you moron. Anticlockwise.’

Caucete, SJ, Argentina
15 December 2013

 


 

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Two successive days brought daytime tours (and nighttime camping) in a couple of extraordinary desert parks, both of which have been designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Ischigualasto is also known as the ‘Valle de la Luna’ (‘Valley of the Moon’), apparently on account of its faintly alien landscapes.
Parque Provincial Ischigualasto, SJ, Argentina
20 December 2013

 


 

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talam3-1280Talampaya, meanwhile, is perhaps even more spectacular. We visited on the longest day of the year, arriving in mid-morning after a beautiful dawn ride from Ischigualasto.
Parque Nacional Talampaya, LR, Argentina
21 December 2013

 


 

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In 1903, construction work began on a cable car system, designed to enable a mining company to transfer miners and supplies between town and mine. So far, so unremarkable – until you discover the scale. The cable car ran from the town of Chilecito, which sits at an altitude of 1,000m, up to a mine known as La Mejicana, more than 40km away and a ludicrous 4,603m above sea level. (The journey took four hours, one way.) Work was completed in a mere 18 months, a joint venture between German and British companies that collapsed with the advent of World War I. After being used for a spell by local mining firms, the cable car shut in the 1930s, but the infrastructure remains; the old offices now house a small museum, and the crumbling main station (pictured above) is open for visits. Apparently, the authorities run the system once a year to check it’s still working.
Chilecito, LR, Argentina
23 December 2013

 


 

tree-1024Look closely. Yes, that really is a six-metre Christmas tree made from bicycle wheels.
San José, CT, Argentina
30 December 2013

 


 

from Cafayate, SA, Argentina