The Mountains are Calling: Diary of Last Year #10

27th of December 2016

We wake up to another sunny day. Last night, we put up our tent in the courtyard of Juan and Norma. Juan started talking to us in a café in Cutral Có, drove us around town trying to find a place to sleep for us, and ended up offering us his courtyard. The offer included a warm shower and a dinner of delicious roasted chicken. Our getting-up time of 7 a.m. is clearly unusual for Argentina, but we manage to set off at 9 after having said good-bye to our hosts.

Our way continues on route 22, direction Zapala. A busy route, as yesterday and the day before. After the quiet stretch through the pampa semi-desert, we’ve been back on busy roads since we reached General Roca. We’re tired of having to get out of the way of the unconscious Argentinian drivers.

It’s in this state of mind that we reach the top of a small pass, called Subida de San Sebastián. The view is one of the strongest moments of our trip.

Mountains.

Our first view of the Andes. Snow-capped mountains, still very far away in the distance – we’ll need another few days until we’ll reach them. But they’re clearly there.

The flat, dry, tree-less, desert-like pampas that we have been cycling through for almost 600 km will make place to hills and mountains, trees, rivers.

With this in mind and in front of our eyes, we continue more relaxed. The traffic calms down a bit after we pass the oil fields. We reach Zapala in time for a late lunch. This is the end of route 22, the place where we’ll join the famous Ruta 40.

Cycle touring Argentina. Arrival to Zapala on route 22.

But first, we find a place to rest. A room at a friendly hotel, simple but fine for a late-afternoon cycle touring routine – resting, a bit of laundry, a bit of going online, and a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow morning we’ll discover what might be one of Argentina’s best cycle paths – although it’s only about 7 km long.

Cycle path leaving Zapala, Argentina, along route 40.

 


Enjoyed reading this? Here’s the full series of Diary of Last Year.

Or else, browse other posts about our trip here.

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