Buenos Aires kept us busy for over 2 weeks, there was so much to keep us occupied, we did some research on shipping, wandered around interesting neighbourhoods such as San Telmo and Recoleta, watched some tango, visited museums, ate asados and saw a fraction of what this huge city has to offer.
The huge metal flower in bloom in Recoleta
I even tested out the very good public health system. For the second time in a month, a blood vessel had burst in my eye, causing the normally white part to turn completely red – spooky! I had to wait my turn with everyone else and after a couple of hours, saw the doctor. She told me all was ok, just stress or high blood pressure or something!
The city was full of riders, many of whom we had already met along the way, one evening there were 8 of us! Who says there is no one around? We also met up with some riders we had met at the motorcycle meeting in Azul.
Although Arno spent many a happy hour fixing the bikes, well just his this time around! I managed to drag him away so he could see some of the city too. We even went to a football game, Boca Juniors at home - a great experience.
A must for every football fan and also Arno!
We could easily have stayed in BsAs a month, but still have most of South America to see and I get the feeling we are going to be on the road for more than the 12 months we originally planned…….
Riding out of the city was as easy as riding into it, not as pleasant however, as the weather had turned wet. The rain meant less traffic and we rode westwards through a sodden countryside. There have been catastrophic floods in the area around Santa Fe, similar in scale to those in Europe last year.
After visiting friends, we headed east, to our 10th country, Uruguay, not planned, but we wanted to meet up with another couple on bikes, and that’s where they were. Made a quick stopover in Fray Bentos (yes, it really is a place and yes, it is where they canned that meat. Not sure about the pies though!) before reaching the town of Colonia. Here we met up with John and Annette, from the UK
John, Annette and yours truly outside the hostel in Colonia
and spent a great couple of days exchanging information and seeing the old town. It rained a little but it was still nice to wander through the old Portugese buildings, down cobbled streets and past so many wonderful old cars.
Old cars parked around Colonia
Montevideo was next, not as nice as BsAs, but worth a couple of days, pity the rain returned, seems we can’t leave a capital city in the sunshine. Rode back towards Argentina, stopping the night at Thermas de Daymán, where we could warm our cold bones in the warm waters there – bliss!!
Back in Argentina, we had our first experience of ‘over zealous’ policing. On being stopped at a roadblock, the copper asked if we had been riding at 110kph, assured him we hadn't whereupon he asked us where our fire extinguishers were! That’s an original one! Arno just laughed, probably not the expected response, and was taken into the office. He was shown a book that allegedly stated the fine for not having an extinguisher as 303 pesos, whereupon he laughed again and said that in 2 months riding and numerous border posts, not one Argentine official has said such a thing was necessary. He eventually got his papers back and we hurried on our way, once again avoiding having to hand over any money.
After visiting the Jesuit ruins at San Ignacio, it was back to Posadas to try and find a back sprocket for my bike. The last few hundred kilometres have eaten it away. Bought one made in Argentina and we exchanged it straight away on the pavement outside the bike shop. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts.
Changing the sprocket in the Pavement Workshop
While we worked, on hearing of our plans to cross into Paraguay, our audience regaled us with stories of, how we would be robbed of everything before we had ridden 20kms, how Paraguayans with guns wait on every corner to steal your car or bike and that Paraguay was full of terrorists. All this from ordinary folk, including the owner of the bike shop!! It was a little concerning, but in the café where we had lunch, we were told by a Paraguayan, that his country was no more dangerous than Argentina. Reassured, we rode over the bridge away from Argentina, where we held up the traffic at the toll booth like, little huts that are immigration and customs and into our 11th country.
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