I don’t remember where I stayed the night before. The next day though I was supposed to get to Chapala. I met Lutz in Villa Victoria. I got there 5 pm and had no idea it was somewhat a resort town. They have hot mineral springs and balneariums which attract local and foreign tourists. Such places are always a bit hard to find cheap accommodation in. I checked in couple of balneariums – they only offered expensive cabanas (bungalows). According to one of the guards on the far end of town there was a balnearium which had space for camping. So I headed straight there. Being on a loaded bike I am quite noticeable on the town streets and often get approached by strange people. In this occasion it was an elderly German named Lutz. He was riding his bike in the opposite direction but stopped to talk to me. He was excited when I told him that I am from Bulgaria. He assured me I should be able to get a camping spot in the balnearium where he was staying with his wife in their RV. He said he’ll see me later. Getting a spot in the place was somewhat difficult. The people in the kiosk wondered for a while, then called their boss. I don’t know how this guy (the boss) came up with the price of 200 pesos for camping, but couldn’t help to tell his people that it was ridiculous. The highest rate for camping I had paid so far was 80 pesos. They thought I little bit more and offered me to stay for 100 pesos. Well, hot mineral pool might be worth it, I thought and paid reluctantly. I put my tent up and then had to move it because apparently I had chosen a wrong spot. Just after I finished and was already chatting with the Canadian couple from the RV next to me, Lutz came back. He invited me for dinner – such an insisting offer I could not refuse. Took a quick shower and joined him and his lady in their RV for a dinner of fried fish, salad and wine. The food was not to be the highlight of the occasion though. Lutz turned out to be full of amazing stories:) He talked most of the time I was there and it was all very interesting and funny stuff. Apparently he had spent his youth years travelling like a hippie as much as possible. He has traveled all the way from Canada to Tierra del Fuego and back hitch-hiking. Two years with a budget of USD 200. Impressing. I guess it was possible back in the 70s:) He even went through the Darian gap. For those who don’t know whats the Darian Gap – a stretch of dense jungle between Panama and Columbia with no roads, only lakes, swamps and local tribes. It is totally controlled by drug cartels nowadays. Only few people have managed to go through the Gap and many have disappeared there too.
While traveling around South America he had the chance to go to the then virgin upper stream of the Amazon river accompanying some missionaries on their first visit to local tribes. Must have been exciting.
However his best story was about his trip to Asia. He and his friend went all the way from Germany to Afganistan in a Volkswagen van. They sold the van in Afganistan and bought a…..camel. A big Afgani camel. And took it all the way back to Europe:) I saw pictures from local newspapers from some countries they passed through. I bet they were a big sensation in many places, having in mind that it was winter time. They were able to take it to Slovenia but could not get in Austria as the authorities there did not let the camel in. So it ended up in the Luyblianas zoo. It was funny to hear that the Bulgarian authorities made them pass through the capital Sofia early in the morning (4 am) so nobody would see them:)
An amazing guy! He even gave me the address of his dear friend and fellow traveler from Uruguay. I am supposed to visit him in case I ever get to Uruguay. I stacked the little paper in the camera case and lost it the following day together with the camera and the pictures of Lutz and his lady. Such a pity!

1 comment

  1. It’s so great to get your comments and travelogue Peter…I’ll try to keep better track now that the holidays are over…just had too much wonderful activity…lol Marcie and Jim

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