Airport and travel day

Day 32
Dist: Walking in the airport

Our taxi arrived at the appointed time. A non-descript, not official, rusty banged up beater with Daniel the driver, handyman of everything and big talker. He wanted to put our bikes on the roof but we persuaded him they should be inside. He put the back seats down and we got the bike boxes in. Now the problem was the pannier boxes and me (it’s my fate to be the designated small guy!) More juggling around and we finally got us all in with me facing back amid the boxes and sitting on the collapsed seat! Quite the journey. Windows open, superhighway, 50 kms, 100 kph. Quite the ride.

At the airport we were early so we had about 3 hrs to kill. Wrote the blog and whatsapped. Couldn’t find any place to change money. The pesos won’t do me good anywhere else. Hopefully after security. Pandemonium at the AC line. We checked in and for once it was smooth. Had to wait for the big box handler to come and show us the way to the big luggage conveyer belt. Next stop security and hopefully find some food! And a money exchange.

Waiting at the airport. I had my box saran wrapped to prevent it from falling apart.
That’s me in the back amid the bikes and boxes!
A selfie in the back of the cab. I already look like I need a nap!
Daniel stuffing the boxes in the back and leaving a spot for me!
Ray gets the front seat!

‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’. Eva Peron singing in the Musical ‘Evita’ by Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Day 31 Don’t cry for me Argentina. Eva Peron singing in the Musical ‘Evita’ by Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Dist: Walking today 13.91 km
Total dist. 2195.52 Total elev 10319 m
Again. 25C morning, pm 35+C seems hotter than ever once the clouds break. Some sprinkling rain today. Hopefully not tomorrow since our bikes will be tied to the roof of the cab!

After almost 2200 km and 10319 m elevation gain we packed our bikes this morning. The boxes we picked up yesterday and carried forever were larger than usual (140 instead of 137 cm long) so I only had to remove the front wheel and fender. Usually I have to take off the back fender and rack and seat to make it fit.

All taxis here are small Peugeots, Renaults or Fiats even the SUVs won’t handle our bikes. So our recommended  guy says he’ll tie them to the roof. I am very skeptical this will work on the 50 km ride to the airport. But there’s no other option.

Most of the day we just wandered around. Going to miss this place. We had our last Argentinian ice cream. A lot of nice interesting areas and things to see and do.  Evita Peron was the 2nd wife of Argentinian president Juan Peron. She was very popular with the people but died at 33 in 1952 of cancer.

This is a large tree root behind me.
My bike is all packed up. The box is 140x84x25. Nice and roomy, only had to take off the front fender, wheel and lower the seat
The Malvinas unites us. The Argentinians are still upset over the Falkland’s war in 1982.
Some street art
This humongous camper had German plates. It’s all decked out for jungle and desert exploration
More street art

Ride to Peru Beach which had no beach

Day 30 Ride to Peru Beach which had no beach
Dist: 48.29 km elev 101 m
Total dist. 2195.52
Again. 25C morning, pm 35+C seems hotter than ever due to the humidity and city heat

Thought we’d ride to Peru Beach up river in the suburbs. When we got there there was no beach. Just a resort type place with no beach? Just swampy plants on the shoreline.

On the ride back we saw a bike shop and about 8 boxes outside. These boxes are way better than the ones we bought 2 days ago. Heavy-duty cardboard, double edges and sides and large copper staples. We measured them and picked out 2. The owner was a super guy and gave us extra things for packing like disc brake spacers and zip ties. It was a long walk back carrying 2 boxes on 2 bikes. Try it sometime it’s a great workout!

Do you see the bike shop? It’s beside the other store!
In this part of town bikes had priority lanes. Too bad drivers didn’t notice. They drove and parked like there were no bikes!
The giant spike at Olive Beach and you can see the Buenos Aires skyline in the background. Again no beach!
Every porta-poty was unusable
Peru Beach our ultimate destination. No beach here.

Memory and Human Rights Museum and Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism

Day 29  Memory and Human Rights Museum and Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism
Dist: 51.51 km elev 148 m
Total dist. 2147.23
25C morning, pm 35+C seems hotter than ever due to the humidity and city heat

We headed up the coast again. This time to visit the Memory and Human Rights museum. This is the former military juntas’ detention center and torture and execution site. The memory of the torture,  murder and disappearances during the military junta 1976-1983 is still raw here with about 30000 deaths. The worst being the disappearances of about 10000 victims, with no records or bodies. Walls of pictures and age and last seen dates. Mothers are still marching to find out what happened to their children. It is of course next to impossible to find and account for most of the missing. A somber place.

The Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism was open today even though the water was still not on. Another somber place to commemorate the darkness of this period. Walls with 30000 names are very large indeed. The military junta was finally brought down by their failure in the Falkland war 1982.

Later back at the familiar waterfront we rode into the Ecological Reserve Costanera Sur. About 10 k of wide gravel road in a swampy forest for walkers, runners, bikers, and more to wander through nature in the heart of the city. We found a beach and finally dipped the bikes in for the symbolic finish!

We are now getting into the Argentinian way of life. Everything comes alive in the evening. Especially after dark. Everyone comes to the parks and does their thing. Exercise classes, walking dogs, walking lovers snuggling, restaurants are buzzing. Nice to see people enjoying themselves not watching tv!

Finally a picture in the water!
The nature reserve in downtown Buenos Aires
The 30000 killed during the military junta 1976-1983
At the Human Rights museum. A mother looking for her disappeared daughter
Some of the disappeared. Pictures on a window.
In park exercise class after the sun cools down

Riding to the Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism and bike boxes

Day 28 Riding to the Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism and bike boxes in Buenos Aires
Dist: 45.68 km elev 167 m
Total dist. 2095.72
25C morning, pm 35+C seems hotter than ever due to the humidity and city heat

Another sweet breakfast. For touristing today we had an 8 am start and headed for the Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism. We took the longer way by riding through the industrial dock areas. Nothing like huge rumbling trucks to start off your morning! Big mistake since we couldn’t get close to the water anyway. On the way we watched the parrots vs the pigeons at a road side feeder. We got to the Monument area and it was closed because of water supply issues ie no toilets. So they wouldn’t let anyone in. From the outside the grounds looked real nice. Try again tomorrow.

In the afternoon we started our hunt for boxes. First bike store closed for holidays, second store didn’t exist, 3rd store found by accident and would sell us new boxes, 4th 5th and 6th had no boxes, on the way to another bike store we found a huge pile of boxes from a computer store being disassembled by a street cleaner. Perfect size for panniers. We bought 3 boxes from him for a bottle of Coke. (Honest that’s all he wanted! The street cleaners are independent workers who make their money by recycling the boxes and paper from the street etc). Continued searching for bike boxes. Similar results: some closed, some didn’t exist, all said no boxes. In hind sight why would a store keep boxes if the street cleaners outside immediately take them away? We gave up. Will return later to buy 2.

Park art work between the university and the Monument. What does it mean?
The Monument from the outside (the green area)
Parrots and pigeons fighting over food
Congress building
Our lunch stop on the box hunt

A lazy Sunday in Buenos Aires

Day 27 A lazy Sunday in Buenos Aires
Dist: 39.89 km elev 235 m
Total dist. 2050.04
25C morning, pm 35+C

Started with a ride to the Palermo section of town and on the Cementario de la Recoleta a top 10.tourist attraction. We decided not to go in. Rode back to Plaza de Mayo for the not in use presidential palace where the Peron’s made their public appearances. Lots of nice bike trails.

In the afternoon we went to the Boca area of town, not knowing…there is a big Boca Juniors game tonight. Everyone dressed in blue and yellow the team colours. Argentinians are mad about fútbol and there were street parties with loud music and dancing and grills grilling the party food. Flea markets everywhere selling everything. Let me explain: Diego Maradona (1960-2020) the Argentinian soccer sensation was born here in Boca and played here until the European pro teams took him to Europe. So crowded that it was only bike pushing through the crowds.

The Presidential Palace where Eva Peron once stood for her admirers.
Street party for Boca Junior team
A scene in Boca. They did have very colorful houses and roads
The Boca stadium for the game to night. And it’s only a junior game!
Street party!

Buenos Aires at last

Day 26 And now we are in Buenos Aires
Dist: 65.48 km elev 232 m
Total dist. 2010.15
Foggy morning, pm 35+C in general the winds weren’t bad

Left in high spirits. Forgot it was the weekend so no 7 am breakfast. The staff did extra duty to feed us early. I like this place: Hotel del Sol. Making good time through town and on the highways. At about 20 km we wanted to see the ocean to dip our feet and bikes in the sea. Big mistake! Ended up going through an environmental preserve and it turned into a mud bowl. The mud and leaves stuck to the wheels so tight that the wheels couldn’t turn! Basically had to carry our bikes out.

In Buenos Aires proper we were traveling a torturous path on city streets, paths, highways, cobblestones. Took forever. 20 km in a big city is like 50 in the country when carrying pannier loads and with start and go and sprinting through yellows and jarring cobblestone and up and down highway overpasses. Spent the evening wondering the streets.

Near the docks the Puenta de la Mujer (the woman’s bridge). A space age pedestrian rotating suspension bridge
Narrow tight street in the capital
The industrial dock yards
The mud trail provincial park. We saw lots of bike tracks and a group of runners in the forest. We got very bogged down.
Here we are before we got swallowed up by the mud
Muddy tire prints

The Atlantic Ocean

Day 25 The Atlantic Ocean
Dist: 42.33 km elev 51 m
Total dist. 1944.67
Rainy morning, pm 22C headwinds on the rode to the Atlantic shore

Today was our rest day and good thing it was. During breakfast the only news on TV was about the torrential storm in Buenos Aires. Floods everywhere, hail, no drive advisories. It rained hard in this morning in La Plata so we walked to the Museo. The sign said 500 pesos per person and she printed out a receipt and said it was free today. Wow a deal saved $2! Quite a good museum.

It had cleared up by 1.00 so we left to ride to the Atlantic. Good headwind (what did we expect?). Just a big seawall. No beach no bikinis a couple guys fishing and no one to take our photos. Just selfies. There was a large seaside park with all the picnic tables in Argentina! There certainly are none along the highways. We tried another acces point but only mud roads and geese. Tomorrow on the way to Buenos Aires we’ll see if there are better access points.

Driving and cycling in Argentina is an experience. Seems to be mostly one way streets. Other than traffic lights there is no traffic control as we know it. There are no stop signs only: ‘the driver on the right has the right of way’. Even crossing 4 lanes of traffic! Amazingly the traffic flows smoothly without interruption.

Finally the Atlantic. It’s in the background!
The Atlantic sea-wall. It was a cold day so no sunbathers were out. The huge park was empty.
All the picnic tables in Argentina were in this park.
The geese blocking the road to the shore
Another shore line view.
An old VW mini van. I used to have one in the 70s! Almost the same colour.

To La Plata and almost the Atlantic

Day 24 La Plata and almost the Atlantic
Dist: 134.3 km elev 125 m
Total dist. 1902.34
Muggy morning, pm 40+, hot as hell after 10. Mostly headwinds and crosswinds all day.

Holy geez! (Trying to keep out the bad words). Today turned out to be one tough day. Windy on an open highway, blasted hot with no shade anywhere,  construction detours. Stopped at a roadside grill for lunch. It was a great stop for food and a 1.5 l of cold fruit juice. Drank 7 l today. We had intended to swim in the Atlantic but just couldn’t make it with only 18 km to go. Tomorrow for sure.

The hunt for a hotel proved frustrating. From having to circle a huge block to find the Howard Johnson entrance, losing Google maps in the city and finding most places full. We finally got a room in the Hotel del Sol in the center of town. Best deal yet and quality interior. We decided to stay 2 nights to recover and relax and beach bum.

Again the search for food. After wandering we settled on a bar to have a cervesa to kill the hunger. They even gave us a free beer and loaded us up on peanuts. Beer and peanuts dinner! Who would beleave it.

Lunch stop at a roadside grill. Great food at 1/4 the restaurant price. Should do this more often
The roadside grill in operation. He must have had 50 lbs of meat grilling and we were the only customers. I think the Argentinian lunch schedule is later than mine.
Selling lawn chairs on the highway roundabout.
The Italian centre at night.

On the way to Lobos we met the wonderful Zapp family

Day 23 On to Lobos
Dist: 109.31k elev: 221m
Total dist. 1768.04
Temp very cool am, pm 30+, sunny and hot. Mostly crosswinds all day.

Got off to an early start. All hotels seem to have breakfast included. Today it was dry white toast, butter and jam, 2 little pieces of cake and a cup of tea. Wow zero nutrition value there! At 12.00 we rolled into Navarro and decided to go to a restaurant for lunch. Beautiful restaurant with seating for 50 and only us 2. They started the stero for us. Spanish Hard Rock! We had a real lunch, real salad!

Just before Lobos an old 1924 car passed us and pulled over and stopped. We pulled up and met the Zapp family. A family that had traveled the world for 22 years in their 1924 car. They had 4 children on the road and only the youngest was with them. Born in Australia, he was about 15. We shared stories and they gave us a big frozen juice and their book which they signed. It’s available on Amazon if anyone is interested.

Lobos was the hardest place yet to find accommodation. Everything was full or not answering. I think It’s because we are 100 km from Bueno Aires and they come to these nearby towns to unwind. We finally found a spa resort willing to take us humble travelers in! We could use the pool and that was all we had time for.

The Zapp family book of their adventures
The Zapp family book inside dedication tous
The Zapps and us
A better photo of their car. Does anyone know what the make and model is?
The Navarro centre piece. Made of plate steel welded together.

South America 2023