An amazing experience with a fantastic family

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

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Flag of Argentina  , Litoral,
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We were hoping for a day very similar to the day before, with easy cycling and lots of stops for snacks and coffee. As we were getting ready a couple of people from the sports ground came to ask us about our trip and we were happy to answer their questions and practice our Spanish.  We joined the road again, after cycling through the small town, which felt like an advert for 1950's America.  There were tree lined streets, with lots of parks, hardly any cars on the road and everyone was getting about by bicycle.  All the children who passed said "Hola Senorita" and happily made their way to the local school.  The town was surrounded by fields and most people were out walking their dogs in the evening.  The local store had a sign up asking the customers to settle their accounts at least once a month and there was an over-all trusting and friendly atmosphere, where I doubt anyone locks their doors.  There were also lots of sports and activities, such as yoga and meditation.  It seemed like an advert for the model village, as I noticed everyone greeting each other like a long lost friend and asking us if we needed directions.  It was quite surreal and in a way I felt like we had to leave before we broke the illusion.

We cycled 60km by midday, as it was flat and the road was quiet.  We had hoped to stop before then but there was nothing at all on the road and we had no reason to slow our pace.  We cycled through similar landscape to the previous day, with lots of farmland and agricultural buildings.  We decided to cycle into the town of Freyre, which was a short distance off the road.  As we arrived we realised that most places were closed and we couldn't see any restaurants or cafes, but thankfully the petrol station served coffee and food.  We were greeted by Mario, who was the only person in the facility and in charge of dispensing the petrol, making the coffee, heating the food, manning the cash register, being the mechanic and generally watching anyone in the shop.  In a town the size of Freyre, that means that he wasn't busy at all, and had plenty of time to chat to us.  He would think of something to ask and then wait patiently for us to reply, he had all the time in the world for us to stumble through our responses.  As he let us eat our own food, could whip up a mean coffee and was such pleasant company we spent an hour and a half enjoying a leisurely lunch. 

At 2pm we thought that we really should make a move, because we still had 70km to cycle.  The rest of the afternoon was pleasant cycling and went fairly quickly as we continued to cycle through the flat farmland.  We didn't know what to expect as we arrived in to Rafeala, but were slightly apprehensive as Mario had warned us it had a reputation for robberies.  We still had the warning ringing in our ears when we arrived into a small city, and decided that we should stay in a hotel rather than camp. 

We cycled towards the centre, which we deemed to be the place with the most and the biggest church steeples.  As we neared it, a van driver screeched to a halt in front of me, and once I realised that we weren't going to crash, he introduced himself.  He was part of a local cycle club, that was positioned on the edge of town and he thought it would be the perfect place for us to camp or to use one of the beds.  He was friendly and seemed really interested in our bikes and our trip, so we agreed to make our way to the club house. 

At the club house there were about 20 cyclists, who were all eagerly talking about a race the following day.  They also had a velodrome, which is the big, slanted bike track that you see on the Olympics.  We thanked them, and after answering their questions about the trip, and posing for some photos, we set up the tent.  At this point, Benito invited us to come to his house for dinner, with his family.  It was a really kind gesture, and we felt extremely welcomed and wanted, so we agreed to come for dinner at 9pm.  A moment later they gave us a big packet of cookies and suggested that we may need to snack to make it through until Argentinian dinner time. 

We had dinner with Benito and his large family, and their partners and friends.  They were extremely kind and we really enjoyed our evening with them, answering and asking questions about each others cultures and customs.  For example, we learnt that Argentinian weddings start around 9pm and usually finish about 6am!!  How different from our way of doing things. It was a fantastic night, and Kory and I will remember it fondly as one of the best nights on our trip.  We were treated like one of the family, fed lots of pizza and then sent on our way with a bag full of gifts.  We must find a way to pay all of this kindness we are receiving on to the next person. 
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Paddy on

That was a great day. Loved reading about it. Always memorable when you interact with local people on your travels. They looked like a happy bunch.

Gramma on

What a NICE Family, to invite you's and give you's the "Royal" welcome!!!! I love the tree lined streets. Look so Pretty.. Happy Easter to both of you's. Did you have an Easter Egg Hunt???? Kory you know what that is!!!! Love and hugs

Karen on

Unbelievable hospitality! Kory the baby blue shirt is cute and u look so proud! Hope you both find the opportunity to be that family to someone who needs one one day!

Natalie on

I like that late night lifestyle. I have to chuckle a bit because many people here say that my ideal schedule is not natural and I shouldn't allow my kids to take that on. Maybe it is a sign I should move much further south! haha

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