From 13 february upto 17 february 2014: 168km
Salto – Belen – Bella Union
Since it´s only early afternoon when we´re dropped off at the Salto Shopping Center, we will ride on north for a few hours.
We seek our way out of town onto the Ruta 3, direction Bella Union.
Although this Ruta 3 is the main way north on the litoral part of Uruguay, there is not much traffic which is a welcome change to the busy Ruta 14 we had the last days in Argentina.
After about 5 km on the Ruta 3, we see a small “Almacen” (shop) with a table and some chairs in front of it, where we decide to take lunch.
The shop itself is closed at first, but after a little while the owner appears and we can fill up on supplies. Then we cycle another 20km on, and start to seek shelter.
We donˋt have to search very long, the only possibility is a small flat piece of grass next to the gate to a finca on the edge of the street.
Nighttime brings almost no cars, luckily, and we get a good night´s rest 🙂
The sun is out early the next day, and so are we.
Its so early, that the sun hasn´t the power to dry our soaking wet tent yet and we have to pack it including one or more litre of water 😉
With the wind coming from the right hand side – sometimes in favour sometimes not, we cycle on to Belen. We have to get off the road and make a detour, but it turns out to be a good choice. We have afternoon siesta on the center place – nice little park with trees and benches – can dry our tent in the midday sun and, more important, stock up our water supplies.
As we start out again, it´s the same story as before: camp site next to the road, early sun, a soaking wet tent and a lot of wind.
This time though, the wind is against us and cycling is very hard on these open roads which constantly go uphill and downhill.
For the balance of energy we regularly treat ourselves to some Alfajores (kind of sweet cupcakes) and a bottle of coke 🙂
The next day we reach Bella Union, the big border city with Brazil, where we hear for the first time in our 4 weeks South America some remarks about our provenence; but we ignore it, the people yelling it still seem rather drunk – it´s carnaval weekend in the city…
Instead we look for the local campsite and following the unpaved rambla find it 7km out of town.
Our dream of a refreshing shower after three days cycling doesn´t come true – the sanitary equipment consists of two dirty toilets – but it´s free and we get a nice spot to put up our tent.
We spend the afternoon lying around in the shades, relaxing a bit and enjoying ourselves through playing sudoku and different cardgames.
The next morning the nice spot has lost his charm, as we wake up to an almost completely white – and not green as it should be – tent. Birdshit.
Now we know, why our neighbour has an extra tent for his car…
The border between Bella Union (Uruguay) and Barra Do Qarrai (Brazil) is another bridge, but this one we get to cross on our bicycles, as it is a mere 500m across, people are even fishing from the bridge´s edge.
Leving Uruguay goes without border control, no-one seems te be interested who goes out of the country. Easy riding this time 🙂