From Uruguay to Argentina   3 comments

The following morning the nice landlady at the Hostal Canela served breakfast in my room – did I mention my fabulous room? 😉 – with fresh media lunas (croissants), café con leche and zumo de naranja natural (freshly pressed orange juice) – hmm!

Breakfast in bed...

I thanked her very much, promised I would recommend the place to everyone I know (done!) and everyone I would meet on the road, and set off towards Argentina. But no, I couldn’t leave this lovely country without a Uruguay sticker for my moto! So I stopped at the next filling station in Salto. The guys were really friendly, offered me a sticker of their fuel company but unfortunately they couldn’t help me further. But the shopping mall three blocks further down the road would certainly sell the object of desire.

When I pulled into the car park, I was immediately approached by a security guard – of course, I had done a U-turn and was going into the wrong direction of a one-way system… No, the reason he approached me was to point out that it would be much safer for me to park in the underground garage. Muchas gracias, officer, and off I went into the underworld. Again, the security guard there came over straight away, reassured me that he and his colleagues would have a close eye on my DRZ and then he accompanied me through the whole shopping centre on the hunt for a Uruguay sticker. Unfortunately no tienda was stocking such a thing. I tried the motorcycle shop across the street, another filling station, the supermercado but nothing. My security friend was really sorry and sent me into the city centre. We parted shaking hands:  suerte y buen viaje – good luck and a safe trip.

Great, I wasn’t even aware that I had missed the actual centre of Salto the evening before. So a brief sight-seeing tour was on the menu.

Salto Centro

I stopped at the Oficina del Turismo, the most obvious place you’d think, but they didn’t have any stickers – a kiosco would probably be a better bet. So I looked for a space for my bike – over here, Señora, and three young man busied themselves lifting and moving lots of motorcycles that were already stacked in a tight row by the side of the road. But, oh wonder, soon there was space for my fully loaded DRZ. One of them, Nelson, offered to accompany me on my quest and together we roamed the shops of Salto. Well, I should have come during the World Cup, then I would have been spoilt for choice but now? Lo siento, no hay – sorry, we don’t have it.

Then, I had almost given up hope, we found a little and pretty unlikely shop that sold stickers of Uruguay – hooray! Nelson was obviously proud of his success and back at the bike I gave him one of my London pens as a thank you. You know, the ones where a tourist walks over the Tower Bridge when you move it. Nelson was really pleased and again, we shook hands like old friends.

Nelson and his friends in Salto

Then it was off to the Salto Grande Reservoir and the dam that connects Uruguay and Argentina.

Reservoir Salto Grande Dam between Uruguay and Argentina

The officials at the border didn’t seem to know what they were supposed to do with me and the temporary import of a motorcycle but after half an hour I was on my way again – not without asking this driver if I could take a picture of his peculiar truck.

At the border to Argentina

Back on the Ruta 14 the ride was pretty uneventful. The countryside was still flat, the corrupt police at kilometre 341 (who even have a dedicated thread in the South America Forum on Horizons Unlimited) had taken a day off and waved me through and so I turned to the Ruta 129 towards Monte Caseros searching for more excitement. The road was straight as well but now I could feel a strong side wind, which made the riding a bit more ‘interesting’. Shortly before I reached the town I noticed a pista branching off to the north (my ultimate direction).

In Monte Caseros the tarmac disappeared and I ended up in front of some military barracks – probably not the best point to stop and look at the map. As I couldn’t park the loaded bike safely without risking to fall over, I didn’t consult the map then, otherwise I would have known that I should have searched for the Ruta 47 towards Paso de los Libres… But so I turned to the gravel road that I had spotted earlier, the Ruta 25.

Ruta 25 between Monte Caseros and Ruta 14

There I had my excitement – ruts, gravel, sand and corrugations… But the countryside was nice and everyone greeted each other when meeting on the road, which I liked very much.

Nice views by the side of the road though...

After 25 kilometres I joined the Ruta 14 again and decided to stay in Paso de los Libres that night. As it would become a habit, I did a little sight-seeing tour of the town for orientation purposes and for finding a hotel. I asked a nice lady with her tiny daughter on a quad at the traffic lights and she pointed me to the Hotel Alejandro. Mmm, this looks pretty expensive – and so it was: 180 Argentinean Pesos, which is roughly 30 GBP. Are there any cheaper hotels around? Yes, Hotel Imperial it is then; only 80 Pesos (13.30 GBP) and aparcamiento seguro – safe parking as well. I have to admit that I rode to the locked car park without helmet and on the wrong side of the road (well, the place was on the left!) and of course, at that particular moment in time a police car came the other way. Fortunately, they didn’t even bother to give me a reproachful look…

After turning into a civilised human being, i.e. showered and changed, I went looking for an internet café in order to upload photos, write an email to my one and only Possu and catch up with my blog, where I was still in Buenos Aires. Just before midnight I left the place, realised that I had forgotten to eat dinner, that the streets were deserted and that I had lost my sense of direction. Funnily enough I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all in this friendly town. On a corner I saw two men standing who I asked for my hotel. They were very helpful and pointed me into the right direction. Tired and hungry I arrived at the Hotel Imperial, hoping that next morning’s breakfast would be plentiful…

Posted 10 September 2010 by Pumpy in Argentina, Uruguay

3 responses to “From Uruguay to Argentina

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  1. Found only today, 14/9 your fabolous trip!
    Have fun, ride safe and take a million pics … already its a very good report.

  2. Hmmmm, I don’t remember this many rules being broken on outings in the past 😉
    Keep safe and have fun
    Rich

  3. OK Ela, it’s looking good so far…..
    I read that the veggie diet is difficult to follow…… Fray Bentos do make a cracking beef pie! ;-]

    T.

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