A first time for everything - South America: a first time for everything - CycleBlaze

A first time for everything

I HAVE ALWAYS been embarrassed about that long dangly bit on the map. It hangs like an exotic vegetable, attached to the USA and then to Canada by a wriggly stalk. It is called South America and I have looked at it many times and had guilty thoughts. Guilt, primarily, that I had never gone there and often wondered if I ever would.

Well, I write to you now from a hotel in Peru, where we have spent the night in nothing less than a suite because the owners had lost our booking and a suite was all that remained. We hesitated, of course, and the receptionist noticed. And then she said: "For the same price, of course", and we dallied no longer.

Since guilt runs in my veins, I admit now that we are not alone. South America has always seemed forbidding, fuelled by accounts of muscular types riding dirt trails that reached for the sky for days on end. And surviving on a mug of water and a carrot. So we are here, the lovely Stephanie and I, with a small group largely from Britain but also from the United States and from New Zealand. And we have no ambitions to set endurance records.

We are tourists. We are not going to skittle round the place, nostrils on front tyres. We will conduct ourselves at more a majestic pace, surrendering achievement for pleasure.

How it will work out, I don't know. But if you care to find out, this is where it will be.

Do ride along with us.

p.s. It was only a smallish suite. I thought you´d feel better for knowing that.

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