Monday, 5 November 2012

Back where it all started

From Montevideo I rode East along the coast road to Punta Del Este.

It is a small country so nowhere takes very long to reach. I was amazed when I got there, I was expecting a small quaint town but found a Miami lookalike!

For a country with so few people I am amazed that it can support so many apartment blocks. This one has two pools on the glass fronted balconies (either that or they have a serious plumbing issue)!

I later found out, it is not the locals but the Argentinians and to a lesser extent the Brazilians who come here for about 2 months a year. It makes it even more incredible that the revenue from 2 months per year can make these places viable.

Lunch by the marina was nice but for a while I thought I was going to have to get my credit card out to pay for it, Uruguay is very expensive! I have probably spent in a week what I would have spent in a month elsewhere. As nice as it is here I am glad to be going to Buenos Aires where it is cheaper. Who would have thought it?
I wanted to have a look up the coast before returning to find an hotel. As I was leaving town I passed a "poor relation" to the "Hand in the Sand" in the Atacama Desert (below):
I assume they didn't have the budget. You can see my near perfect timing with the camera again!
Oh & if you are asking why don't I check the pictures before moving on? Well I have gloves, glasses, tinted visor and clear visor to cope with.......I just can be bothered.

The coast is beautiful yellow sand with dunes and the Atlantic rolling in. 

I rode north for about an hour and there are buildings pretty much along the whole coast, naively I thought it would be a wilderness. The property market must be lucrative because I saw more than one Sotheby's sign outside plots ripe for development. Someone told me that land prices have doubled in the last 2 years.
On the way back in to town I remembered to take a picture of this road bridge. I am sure there is no reason they built it like this other than for aesthetics. It is good fun at speed and makes your tummy go funny!

After one expensive night in Punta I rode back through Montevideo to Colonia. The road (called the Rambla) through Montevideo hugs the shoreline and must be the best ring road of any city in the world. It flows quickly and you pass beaches the whole way. Friday had a lot more people on the beach so I suspect Sunday would be worth a look.
 Being a port town I assumed Colonia would be a rather ugly place. Again, I couldn't be more wrong. It is a small, quiet town with cobbled streets and a nice marina/yacht club.
It was Sunday and many men were out with their fishing rods, none so charming as this old boy in his sun hat, jacket and cane with a piece of line tied to the end.
 I didn't see him catch anything but I don't think that bothered him at all.

There are 5 sailings per day to Buenos Aires (a slow boat takes 3 hours and the fast Cat 1 hour). I booked on the Cat but I wished I had taken the slow boat (there is no deck to walk on the Cat so you are stuck in side). I had a nice chat with Jorge, an architect on his way home after checking on his holiday home in Uruguay. He spoke very good English as he had been at University in London......some years ago. He had travelled in the 70's "when we were all hippies" he said.

The bike was strapped down next to cases of Johnny Walker Red Label - not quite the same as people in hammocks on the Amazon.

I also finished my book "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck. I was limited for choice when buying English books and I really didn't expect to enjoy this American novel but it is excellent. (Sorry Wilks, I know you are bored with my book reviews).

All the formalities of exiting and entering Argentina were smooth and I made sure I had the correct paperwork this time! So my last ride of the tour was to find my apartment in Palermo. I knew roughly where it was but before I had gone 100 meters a chap on his BMW 1200 pulled alongside at a red traffic light. A quick chat and yet again I had a personal guide to my front door.
Alejandro by coincidence is another architect! The nice thing was that I could give him my two off road tyres (strapped to the back of his bike with my cargo straps that had done the whole journey). I certainly don't need them and I wouldn't have paid the extra weight to bring the back so it was nice that they have gone to a good home.

I have a nice apartment for at least a month (Palermo district of BsAs) in which time I will bump into some friends from when I was here last and organise shipping the bike and then myself back to the UK.

So apart from getting the bike to the airport that is it as far as the biking goes. I will write a couple more blogs if anything fun happens here and I will do a summary post when I really am finished here.


  1. Is it just me but suddenly all is done and everything is somehow flat and deflated - I am not ready for this! Still no tent/primus stove action but somehow that does not matter. Where have the last xx months gone? Our hero has visited places and done things we can but dream of and now it is over. Has reality matched the dream? Our real hero of the last year - Wilkes has but Twickers with which to attempt to make us smile. Lord and Lady Henry/Clara what say you?
    Trust you will be visiting with Hattie Jacques and the arse end of BA's before departing for the jolly old.

    1. I know what you mean David.I am pottering around in a very hot Buenos Aires trying to organise the return of the bike and bumping in to some friends from January.

      Hattie was in Santiago so no I will not be seeing her (she is big but not that big).

      I will be looking for a bar showing the rugby!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS Delbert, is what I say - what an achievement, what an experience, what a story, which we have all followed with you and enjoyed immensely. I am sure you must have mixed emotions about it all.
    As for the bike! she has done you proud - from memory there was just the once she had a problem which is truly remarkable over such a distance and terrain. I am sure you have kept a log as it will be very interesting to hear at some stage, the miles travelled, fuel consumed etc etc. I hope she travels back first class!! with lots of bubble wrap!
    This is a big tick off the 'bucket list' - what Next dare one ask? We are all going to have to find something else to amuse us!


    Clara (until the official end of the blog?!!)

    1. Thank you Clara although I am not sure it requires "congratulations". I will sort out some data and put it on a blog later, nothing very interesting if the truth were known.

      I have an idea or two for next year..........

  3. I concur with David M as I had become accustomed to discovering new things about new places by proxy - to say nothing of the magnificent array of photographs - OK, we will say nothing. What next indeed.
    However, the disappointment of the end of the road trip will be tempered by the prospect of seeing you in the flesh (well hopefully not too literally) again and hearing some of the high points from the authors mouth - along with a beer or three David - and some lemoncello Wilks - and some unspeakable concoctions Tom.

  4. There is one simple way to see David in the flesh - just pour a few shots down him and stand back!

    1. OUCH!
      However, probably................ true!!!!!
      Generous as I am I shall not mention your Newcastle shirt or the MCC sweater or come to think of it the Gillie jacket - all in evidence when we have shared a bedroom!

  5. And no one ever had a better roomy - I lost count of the numbers of cups of tea you made in the mornings.

    I seem to remember that our golf never improved!

    1. Tea making is second nature to anyone with an Irish grandmother.
      Golf is ..................... but something, somewhere, along the way always draws us back to give it another go. No apptitude, no style, but there is always one shot or possibly a hole (11 at Turnbery or winning LUMBAGO?) that brings us back another day

  6. I will miss the lies regarding book reviews! The wars and highbrow biography's my arse he is still struggling with the big words in Katie Price's excellent book Do My Boob's Look Big in This.
    As for his photography, Google will think they have a problem with the lack of hits on their photo library!

  7. You are getting senile - you have posted it twice.
    It if funny but not that funny