The final day on the bikes

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
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Trip End Apr 20, 2013


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Saturday, April 6, 2013

I have no idea how we came out of last night unscathed and relatively well rested. It was definitely the most dodgy place that we have camped on this trip and the place that we were most likely to get ourselves into trouble. Somehow though we were not pestered at all, and we woke to find the bikes, the tent, our bags and ourselves in perfectly normal working order and without signs of being tampered with at all. As we got up to start the morning we saw that there were still a few stragglers from the party who were happily sitting around a picnic table, passing a bottle of beer between them. What seemed strange was that they didn't seem drunk, but had probably socially passed a couple of bottles between them all night. It seems difficult to believe that everyone was hard out drinking all night and still sitting around chatting at 8am.

Either way we were both quite happy that we were able to pack up our tent for the last time and set off on the bikes, without any major incidents from camping in the middle of a teenage filled park party.  The sun was out and hot for our main final day on the bikes. We will need to cycle to the ferry to cross to Buenos Aires and then from the terminal to the hostel on the other side, but it won't be a big cycling day. Today is the end of the trip really and we were filled with emotions knowing that it was the last time we would be doing each of these, now seemingly normal tasks. It was great to know that tomorrow will be a rest day and we won't have to cycle but it seems strange to think that we won't be doing it again for a long time and that this trip is pretty much finished now. We won't need to stare at maps to plan routes and judge distances in days taken to peddle any more. It seems strange and unbelievable that we have gotten so close to the end and therefore everything that we did in the morning felt like a novelty, as it will be the last time that we do it for a long time.

The morning went fairly well as we cycled along the quiet road, in the blazing sunshine. We stopped once to eat our packed lunches and to try to use the internet to look at hostels in Montevideo. My laptop was dead though, as we have camped for 6 nights and had no access to electricity and we struggled to find somewhere to plug it in.  After cycling for a few more hours clouds had formed, the wind had picked up and was fighting against us and it started to rain. We used the opportunity to pull into a service station, to shelter from the rain and to check our directions again. When Kory asked the assistant for two coffees, he said we could have them for free and he would bring them over. It was another show of genuine kindness, as we clearly don't look like we are too poor to be able to afford a couple of drinks, but he was just trying to be friendly and he probably thought that we looked like we needed a couple of hot drinks.

The cycle into Montevideo was surprisingly easy, considering it is a capital city and we had no maps. We made our way to the historical main plaza area, and saw the sea for the first time since leaving the coast of Peru. It seems like quite an accomplishment to just cross from one coast to the other but we actually did 3500km before that to get down from the Caribbean coast. As we arrived at the coast we noticed that the housing in Montevideo seemed really poor, with lots of badly maintained apartment blocks, that looked like it was council housing. The main plaza had a rough feel to it, with lots of homeless people sleeping by the side of the road. It all felt rather neglected and like it needed a good coat of paint and a clean up of the streets. We were also almost blown away by the winds, which were coming strongly from the ocean. We wanted to take a couple of photos of us at the “finishing line” but struggled to keep our bikes upright in the winds and didn't dare perch the camera somewhere in case it blew away.

We asked a couple of hostels for rooms, but it wasn't going to be easy for us right to the end. Everywhere was full or really expensive (one place wanted $80 for the night, or 50GBP, even though it was a fairly basic hostel). As we queried what we should do a local guy came over to ask about our bikes. He was a bike fanatic and was just about to fly to Italy for a race and then planned to tour around there for a while. He happily took a couple of photos for us, when we explained that we had just finished our five month long journey.

Eventually we found a hostel that was pretty average, but would do the job for a night or two. The Swedish girl that checked us in recommended a restaurant just down that road that sold Chivitos, which she thought we may like. She was correct. They are basically a big beef burger, but have a steak in them rather than burger meat.  Then they are topped with ham, bacon, egg, mushroom, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, sweetcorn, carrot, peppers, jalapeņos, tons of
sauce, loads of cheese and probably more ingredients but I can't remember. They were massive and just what we wanted after our long stretch of camping and eating camp stove food. They were also quick, which was great as we were exhausted from the day of cycling and the emotions of finishing our trip.
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Comments

Karen on

Well as this is the final chapter....I just want to say CHEERS! ....for ALL you have accomplished!....many many miles,some harder than others. Many nights not knowing WHERE you would sleep or eat, but always able to make it work staying calm and grounded! Thanks so much for sharing all the beautiful photos of you and the scenery! I hope you are able to stay in contact with the friends yous made along the way....and have beautiful memories of moments you shared together! You set a GOAL and did it....with NO rides or easy way out! Congratulations!!!!! LOVE YOU!

Marge Sylvestre on

Really enjoyed your last blogs..had been waiting for them.. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us.. it was so fun to "travel" with you and feel your excitement and anxiety along the way and your descriptions of the different countries..Congratulations on your adventures and safe return....Great Job!!!

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