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Who would kip in an empty house like this?

Posted by on 02/02/2014

This is the empty house in question, a pretty classy joint eh:


And the who was obviously me! Plus fellow touring cyclists Eduardo and Gabriel who I met at the nearby service station which the house overlooks:


I thought there’d be nothing much to report for the next few days after I hit the road again heading north east from Curitiba, apart from the scenic surroundings:


But then again, having scoured the map for possible overnight stopping points and not found anything of note, I was cycling along wondering where I’d be sleeping!

I knew there were a couple of service stations about 100km up the BR-116 so my plan was to reach one and ask the staff there if it was ok to pitch my tent on a patch of grass nearby. So that’s what I did. But the two guys working in the canteen area seemed pretty non-plussed by my weak communication effort of “Por favor, camping, aqui?” So I sat down to neck a couple of drinks and decide what to do next.

Then my luck changed, as Gabriel and Eduardo appreared, having seen me arrive on my bike so came to say hi and find out where I was cycling from/to – and speaking of luck, they’re both fluent in English! They, for the record, are from Porto Alegre and have been travelling north for two weeks on their way to Rio for carnival – cool dudes!

As for where to sleep, a truck driver had told them that the next hotel was 50km further up the road. So I told them my plan to camp here, and they seemed keen on that since both had tents, plus it was only an hour until sunset. So they asked another staff member – in Portuguese – for permission to camp, and got a shrug of the shoulders reply which apparently meant yes and so we began to unpack our tents. As we did so the service station manager came over to tell Gabriel that our best option was actually to find a house on a track up the hill nearby, which he said would be safer. I wasn’t too sure but the guys were sold so we re-packed and headed off.

Eduardo quickly spotted the track, which was an overgrown gravel path that didn’t look promising, but Gabriel wandered up and spoke to the woman who lived there and she told him about the empty house, which she said was fine for us to stay in, her only warning was to watch out for snakes on the very overgrown path leading up there.

We pushed our bikes up the hill, seeing no sign of any snakes, and set about moving in. The house was tatty but otherwise habitable, at least for three guys with nowhere else to go, especially as it was now getting dark! We got out our torches and made beds on the floor from our camping mats, then the guys cooked pollenta and made coffee on their camping stove made out of a tin can and spare bike parts!

I slept ok, apart from the odd stress that there might be a snake in the house, but it was fine and the house turned out to be a good place to stay.


That’s my ‘bed’ at the far end

Eduardo (l) andGabriel (r)

(from l-r) Eduardo, Luis and Gabriel

We set off cycling together this morning but Eduardo soon had a puncture and since we have different routes I said goodbye and headed off to enjoy a pleasant day’s ride with lots of descending!

I’m now in a town called Registro – although the SPOT tracker hasn’t been able to register that for some reason – staying at a very nice pousada. By covering over 100km on both these two days I’ve got ahead of schedule, and have decided to head to Sao Paulo before Santos and spend an extra day there, so a slight change of plan, better tell the press…

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