A trip along Chile’s National Route 7, the Carretera Austral, takes us into the stunning wilderness of Patagonia – a place that many German emigrants chose as their new home almost a century ago.
The Carretera Austral is straddled by mountain ranges, primeval forests, fjords, volcanoes and a huge ice field. It has taken decades to carve its way through the almost impassable terrain – even now a lot of traffic is forced to take a detour across the border into Argentina. The military dictator Augusto Pinochet made the construction of the road a national priority in the 1970s, sending thousands of soldiers to the region to work under the most adverse conditions. One of the last surviving members of Pinochet’s junta, former military police chief Rodolfo Stange, talks about the road’s strategic importance for the regime.
German marine biologist Vreni Häussermann tells us about a catastrophe in one of the Patagonian fjords – an event that underlines how economic expansion along the route has adversely affected the natural environment in southern Chile. On our journey we meet descendants of German emigrants who found a new home in Patagonia’s remote vastness after the First World War. An insight into the past and present of this unique region.
A beautiful time-lapse video of many South American landscapes by Morten Rustad.
One year of travel, nine countries, countless hours on busses, motorbikes, and cars. Hundreds of thousands of images taken. 30TB of data used, 5 months of editing. The time-lapse film features South America like it has never been before with images from Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.
More about this project, including BTS videos, at Morten’s website.
Emil and Liliana Schmid have been travelling in the same Toyota Land Cruiser since they started on 18 October 1984. They are back in Argentina.
« Translated from Spanish »
Going back to certain places, they find it disappointing. “Now it is very difficult to enter the countries, many closed borders, many procedures,” protested Emil assuring that before, that did not happen. For her part, Liliana considered that in South America “there are a lot of people, tourists, buildings. There is a lot of garbage… people don’t care about the environment, and that hurts us ”.
However, there is something that does not change for them: people. Despite the many crises, wars and hardships, “the people are still just as friendly and happy as the first time we came.”
The journey continues.
Lorraine Blancher: “Every new trail you travel on or off the beaten path brings uncertainty. Riding bikes in a place like this forces you to pay attention to the terrain, listen closely to suggestions on how to move through it. Instead of success and failure you became to think in terms of adaptation and forward motion.”
Heading out on a solo adventure can be one of the most rewarding travel experiences. It also comes with unique challenges. Anna McNuff, Trisha Andres, Emma Thomson, Lois Pryce, and Richard Madden, writing for The Telegraph have put together a list of holidays the intrepid traveller can do alone. Some of the more adventurous include:
- A multi- day hike through Bolivia, starting from the sprawling city of La Paz
- Head off in search of the Northern Lights and explore the wilderness of Finland
- Pedal through the Swiss and Italian Alps
- Horseback riding in Argentina at Estancia La Rosita in northern Argentina
- Meet the tribes of Papua New Guinea
- Dog-sledding across frozen lakes in northern Finland
- Survival skills in the African bush
- Learn to dive in Zanzibar