Corrientes - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

September 16, 2022


We slept quite well last night given that the service station was busy all through the night and it was pretty noisy.  We had promised the cafeteria staff that we would pack up early this morning but we waited for the sun to dry the tent first.  Quite a few trucks had spent the night there as well so we didn't feel too bad about only taking the tent down about three quarters of an hour after sunrise.

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We bought some media lunas from the cafeteria and traipsed back to the shrine side of the road to boil water for coffee and mate (yes, Leigh is drinking mate again now that we are back in South America) and enjoy our breakfast.

The shrine to Our Lady of Itati.
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Firing up the stove. I am in trouble because I allowed the petrol bomb flame to subside before Leigh could take this picture.
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Coffee and croisants.
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All the time while we were having breakfast devotees were streaming in to pray there.  Some prayed for  really long time and Leigh struggled to take a photo of it without a crowd of the faithful blocking the view.  So we decided to do a bit of reading up on the subject.  

It turns out that the name is one given to the Virgin Mary in these parts and it is revered here in Argentina.  It, and the basilica in Itati itself, receive about three hundred thousand visitors a year.  So it was no surprise that the road to Corrientes was full of pilgrims making their way to the shrine.  Many on foot but even more so, in fact a few hundred past us, on bicycles.  It took us back to our recent tour of Spain and the time we had on the Caminos de Santiago.

I persuaded this young lass to pose for me. She was part of a large group of cyclissts from Santa Fe.
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The last few kilometers into Corrientes were a bit of a slog and so our tiredness didn't help us reconcile ourselves to the fact that the accommodation we had booked in advance was a poor choice.  It's a dirty little hovel and none too cheap but it is too late to do anything about it.

We have covered three hundred and forty eight kilometers over the past five days, which is a lot for us given our level of fitness, and we are feeling pretty knackered.  We have a short ride to Resistencia tomorrow where we will take a rest day on Sunday.  It's Leigh's birthday so hopefully our accommodation there will be a step up from what we are saddled with tonight.

Today's ride: 67 km (42 miles)
Total: 712 km (442 miles)

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