La temporada, “the season”, has not started yet, it will start in full flow at Christmas and last, apparently till carnival time. For this reason I am taking four days off from my gruelling skedule of work and explore the east coast of Uruguay.
The idea is to camp a few night, finish off the next thousand miles and go to Brazil which is just a couple hundred miles from here, you know, just to say I’ve been there.
The first day route includes going to Punta del Este and then follow the coast north east to get to El Caracol, a locality where I am informed there are plenty of good spots to camp and little in the way of people bothering.
Leaving Punta del Este on the east side is an eye open ing experience. There are fab houses all along the coast. A locality called Buenos Aires in particular resembles Beverly Hills, Martin tells me there is actually an area just behind the coast road where the houses are even more offensively extravagant and it’s actually called Beverly Hills.
Pretty soon I get to La Barra. The approach bridge is something of an architectural wonder, I’m sure going on it with a car at medium speed would give anybody the hibijibis.
La Barra is an interesting place. Half of it is normal/run down, the other half is positively affluent, with galleries and indeed a Ferrari store where you can buy bicycles for what n average Uruguayan earns in one year.
The local El Dorado, the discount supermarket is in town so I take the opportunity to stock up for the trip. One bottle of wine, some bread a salami and some chocolate biscuits, not the health choice of the fit and famous but it’ll keep me going..
Getting tired quite quickly in this heat, it’s time to stop for a while. It’s the first day of a stint of cycling and it’s always like this at the start, the only thing is that I can look forward to a worse day tomorrow.
I find a nice little spot where I can sit and the beach nearby is populated by the local surfing crowd, they appear to do a lot more sitting around than surfing but I guess perhaps that’s what the life is.
Rested and fed I start again and before long I get to Jose Ignacio where a detour is called for. It’s only one in the afternoon and I have less than ten miles to go before I get to the camping spot, I have to be carefull not to get there to early as the problem with wild camping is that all the entertainment is self supplied and I am not sure I am that entertaining at the best of time.
Anyway the detour is rather interesting as I get to chat with an old Uruguayan that admires my bicycle and enquires on the route behind as well as the plans for the trip ahead.
Left Jose Ignatio I make quick inroad towards what turns out to be the end of the paved road where I find that the “new bridge” is so new that is still not ready. The bridge is so cool it’s almost worth to come back to see it finished.
For now I have to be happy with the rather dodgy ferry that at least is free.
Once on the other side Martin told me it was only a few hundred yard before I could turn out of the road and find plenty of places to camp.
I did and I found a super spot just between the sea and the laguna where I spent a few hours reading and then went to sleep to be ready for more cycling in the morning.