Around the world on a Vespa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by s_gogos, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    PARAGUAY (part01)

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    We were in Paraguay! Specifically, we crossed the borders with Brazil and we got to Ciudad del Este. The first city of Paraguay we saw, was different from what we were used to until that moment. More chaotic and noisy…maybe it was our impression only. What was not only our impression for sure waw what was happening on the national road which connects Ciudad del Este and Asuncion. It was the unique road to connect the two big cities, so all the trucks and the other large vehicles were moving there during the whole day. The problem was that it was a single lane road and with all this heavy circulation, driving on it was a tricky matter. From the first few kilometers, we realized that there was a rule for all the motorcycles: we had to drive on the security lane (yes, exactly the lane where no one is supposed to drive on and it’s only for those who have to stop for security reasons!). However, in Paraguay the security lane was for motorcycles! The other fact that made the situation more surreal was that every 10-20 meters, there were bumps on the security lane to discourage driving on it, but every time we tried to drive on the correct lane, a car or a truck would angrily honk to us to make us return to the security lane! (Stergios used all the curses he knew to describe how annoying this was for him!)

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    A quick pass through Brazil


    Apart from this detail with the security lane, our trip was very peaceful and according to our calculations, we would need 2-3 days to cover a distance of 330kms and get to Asuncion. We had read that the prices in Paraguay were generally low, so with no stress at all, we decided to continue towards Asuncion until we find a cheap place to spend the night. We asked for the price in one or two hotels and while I probably was outside the most expensive one, Stergios met a guy carrying tourist maps advertising hotels and restaurants of the region. We saw the advertisement of a campsite on his maps and after thanking him, we immediately left to find this place. After 9-10kms, we were at “Nativa Nautic Club”, in the small town of Juan E. O’ leary. It had started getting dark, but from what we could see, the place seemed very beautiful. The plan was to stay there for the night and then continue to Asuncion, but when we saw the place we agreed to stay for2-3 days or even more…

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    Having our breakfast in front of the lake!

    We pitched our tent after carefully calculating the distance from the bathrooms, the lake and the campsite cafeteria – the wifi was an important factor. Pitching a tent at a completely empty campsite is something to be done after serious thinking and difficult mathematical calculations! The next 10(!) days we stayed at this campsite were really great! – there were 2-3 things that we’d prefer not to have happened, but let’s say that some of them were result of “cultural differences” (I’ll explain later)…nothing can make us think of those days as less than perfect! Every morning, we waked up, had our coffee and a really rich breakfast consisting of large amounts of bread with some Guava marmalade or our traditional vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and many kilos of onion – as we’ve said, Stergios is a fan! The discovery of the traditional Paraguayan cheese (“queso Paraguay”) made us also very happy (especially me…I adore every kind of cheese!) and from the day we first tried it, it became the basic ingredient in our cooking. Unfortunately, we never managed to find the same traditional cheese in Asuncion.

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    Eventually we found a tasty cheese

    After breakfast the sun had warmed enough the day, so it was time to swim in the lake! Cool fresh water and sunbathing…what else to ask for?! The campsite was relatively new and everything was neat and clean. Additionally to this, it was the low season so, we were alone in a huge place covered with green grass and trees. The only people who were there everyday was the guard and his family, very polite and friendly. However, this changed a bit during the weekend. Visitors started coming but with no intention to stay for the night (luckily for us!). The first group was a team of 40-50 people, probably from a local ecclesiastical college. They followed a strict program of group praying, group hymn-chanting and group…outdoor games! It was a bit funny…the only thing we didn’t find funny was that all these activities started way too early in the morning and waking up by loud prayers isn’t our thing!

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    Even though the campsite was big enough, these guys thought it was a good idea to place their stuff and their huge loudspeaker just in front of our tent…

    When I previously talked about “cultural differences”, I was referring to a short “fieldwork” research I had the opportunity do on some Paraguayans regarding: 1) too much beer consumption, 2) too loud music and 3) lack of common sense. So, I had to find out why a group of 5-6 men had arrived at an almost empty campsite, carrying a huge loudspeaker and chose to put it exactly next to the only tent, pointing at it! The things got worse when the above mentioned group put the reggaeton music they preferred as loudly as possible and started drinking beers and preparing barbeque, ignoring our presence (they were almost touching our tent!). I tried to understand them but in vain…only when Stergios started mumbling curses and I had reached the point when I couldn’t hear even my thoughts, we decided to do something. I went towards them and just told them that we could not understand why in an almost empty, huge place they had chosen to sit exactly next to us. They seemed a bit confused and didn’t know what to tell me, so (fortunately) they picked up their stuff and left!

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    Photos from “Nativa Nautic Club” campsite in Juan E. O’ Leary

    We fought and got our paradise back! We continued staying at this perfect place with no one to annoy us…the weather was perfect! It was summer on a Greek island! Although, for the last few days, the weather forecast application on my cell-phone had been insisting that the next Sunday at 18,00′, it would rain cats and dogs…heavy rain and thunderstorms…we didn’t believe it! When that Sunday came, the weather kept on being nice and we just laughed with the usual mistakes of the weather forecast companies worldwide! Until 18,00’! We couldn’t believe how rapid can be a change on weather! Black clouds instantly gathered, the wind became cold and…here comes the thunderstorm! You can guess what happened next…we started running to put our stuff in the tent to protect them, but soon we realized that our tent was not that waterproof anymore!

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    It’s a shame! After few raindrops we flood!

    The kind guard of the campsite and his wife helped us carry a plastic four-legged tent and put it above ours. At least now we were protected from the water which was hitting the tent from upwards…but the poor tent was also flooded from its floor! After 2 really wet days, the rain finally stopped, but the whole area had turned to a swamp. Walking on the grass was funny because after the rain stopped, the weather became warm again and walking in warm water was not annoying at all! Although we liked it a lot there, it was time to move on, so when our stuff got dry again, we took the big decision. We were also waiting for a package from Greece to come so we were anxious to go to the post office in Asuncion (only if we knew…)

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    Photos from “Nativa Nautic Club” campsite in Juan E. O’ Leary

    We had to cover a distance of 260kms and we had two options: either to start early and be in Asuncion on the same day, or spend a night somewhere in the middle of our way. We had already found a campsite some 40 kilometers outside Asuncion on our GPS, so we were not worried at all. With no idea of what was about to happen next, we left the wonderful place we had spent our last 10 days at and headed to the capital of Paraguay. Our trip was peaceful: trucks, bumps on the road and some donuts that had gone bad…when it started getting dark we were still away from that campsite we had found on the GPS, so we decided to ask for a room in one of the many hotels on the side of the national road. To our surprise, all the hotels were “love nests” charging by hour and we couldn’t persuade the receptionists that we wanted to spend an “innocent” night there, only because we couldn’t drive by dark.

    Our only option was to continue until we found the campsite on the GPS. It was already dark when we found it and the main entrance was closed. So, I had to open the side door and walk towards something which was more like a church and not a campsite building, looking for someone to let us in. After 2-3 “Hola!” I yelled, the guard heard me and got out of his house. When I explained him the situation, he replied that in no way he could let us spend the night at the campsite because we hadn’t taken the permission from the owners who were not there! I tried to insist, given the situation, but apparently the owner of the place was some church or religious institution and they were not hospitable at all! Back to the nearby village to ask if there was any place where we could spend the night. After eating some empanadas to regain our energy, we tried to drive to the only hostel in the village, but it was impossible. Due to the heavy rain of the past two days, the dirt road had become a huge muddy nightmare and we couldn’t cross it.

    We were tired and angry and the option of pitching our tent next to a gas station wasn’t appealing to me at that time (I know love staying at gas stations: free wifi, shower and the chance to meet other travelers!). We decided to continue driving towards Asuncion and search for a hotel on our way. We stopped outside a hotel in Aregua (about 40kms from Asuncion) to ask for the price. A really nice young woman who was working there, told us that the room cost 35euros, which we kindly declined. The moment I was about to get on the vespa and leave, Stergios told me that the clutch cable had just been cut! Now we were really angry! We were trapped there, so we asked if there was a chance to pitch our tent in their backyard, as we had also ran out of local currency. We had only 10USD. The young woman was so kind that she ran to her boss and persuaded her to let us spend the night in one of the cheaper rooms she had for 10USD. We were happy and at that time, we thought that we were also lucky…

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    The crazy woman’s hotel

    The room was not very clean and it seemed to have been empty for a long time, but we were ok with it. We also realized that it belonged to the category “charge by the hour” and that the owner probably avoided renting it to tourists, but still, we didn’t care. We slept, and the next morning Stergios started repairing the vespa. The hotel was half-empty and no one was around, neither the owner nor any employee. The reception was also closed. We thought that the owner would understand our situation and let us stay in her yard to complete the repair. Around 12,00′ the kind employee from the previous day came and without even looking us straight in the eyes, told us that we have to pay a “fine” of 10-20USD because we stayed more than we should. We explained that we didn’t have the intention to keep the room – most of our stuff was already outside – and we had been looking for someone in the hotel to inform about the problem and to stay a bit more in their yard. Every hotel/hostel/campsite allows their clients to spend some time or leave some luggage in their property after the check-out time. The poor woman seemed frightened and when we demanded to talk to the owner, we understood why: the owner probably had some issues…

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    A quick service with a special…toilet paper!

    There she was! A woman around 60, really rude and bad mannered. (the funny thing is that we were thinking of staying 2-3 more days in her hotel…). When we saw her, we regretted to even have given her the 10USD to spend the night there. We’d rather have slept on the vespa! She started yelling and from what we could understand, she was insisting that we had promised to leave a) before 6,00′, b) before 5,00′ or c) before the sunrise in general (every time she was changing her mind on the time!). She even threatened us to call the police, but when we replied that we have the right on our side and we are going to wait until the police arrives so that we can explain that she has the problem, she became really mad! We even reminded her that she didn’t give us any receipt…Fortunately the vespa was ready, so for one last time we informed her that what she is asking is illegal and put our helmets on.

    We said goodbye to the poor employee who was standing there pale with fear, and we explained her that we believe she is a really kind person with a really bad boss. Immediately after this, we tried to head towards the exit, but the furious owner had started her car and was waiting for us to make our move. It was the first time we were a bit stressed…she was yelling that we are in her country, her house, her rules and she wanted us to leave, but she wouldn’t let us! We were afraid that she would chase us and force us out of the road or hit us! The moment she wasn’t paying attention, Stergios tried to get out as fast as he could, but the car was faster than the vespa and we soon saw her behind us. We stopped on the side of the road and she stopped in front of us and continued yelling and calling us criminals. She even took pictures and we also took a video of her threatening us! In another false attempt to call the police (she called her employee, as we saw) Stergios found the opportunity to leave the place driving to the opposite direction and as there were many cars on the road, she lost us. It was a strong experience meeting such a bad person. We also thought about her poor employee who was really scared of her, what a pity! We needed some time to forget what had happened and cheer up again.

    We were now entering Asuncion on a cheerful mood! The plan was to stay there for a week or 10 days…as usual, our predictions were completely mistaken!

    [​IMG] GPS Waypoints and POIs in Paraguay:

    [​IMG] Juan E. O’ Leary. “Nativa Nautic Club” campsite: Very nice and cheap campsite, just 4.3 kilometers away from the main road. It lays just in front of a beautiful, clean lake, ideal for swimming. There was internet, hot / drinkable water, a mini market, barbecue facilities and electricity. Price: 20,000 PYG per person. (May ’15)
    gps: –25.39279, -55.3577

    "Thanks for reading. Have a nice week!"
    Stergios & Alexandra
    SoEazy likes this.
  2. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
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    Some friends of ours in Greece have built a great application.
    Its name is "Live Trip Traveller" (for Android and IOS phones) and helps you draw your exact route on the map with details such as GPS coordinates, photos and description for every single place you don't want to forget.
    We've been using this app since the beginning of the trip, we're satisfied with it and from now on we'll share every report with you!

    Here you can see our route and all our "livetrip" reports.

    Our latest reports:

    Up to here, the high altitude does not scare the warrior-Vespa!

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    We spent the night at the gas station of the village Susques, just next to the wall so that the cold wind doesn't hit us. The weather forecast was harsh: -10 C! The next morning we found all our fresh food and water completely frozen! I was crying from happiness that we had survived and Alexandra was crying from the cold!

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    In Jama (Paso de Jama) we met Jonas, a courageous Swiss guy who wants to travel to Alaska on a bicycle. The three of us shared a room next to the gas station.

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    I couldn't believe it! The warrior-vespa made it with both of us on it, along with all the luggage (much luggage) and climbed at 4,725m of altitude! After this point the road became steeper so we had to remove the carburetor cover and the air filter so that it can “breathe” freely and go on!

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    San Pedro de Atacama was a disappointment for us: too much touristic, too much expensive and any beauty of the place was hidden from all this tourist industry! The most interesting place for us was “Tchiuchi”: half a roasted chicken and a huge portion of french fries only at 6euros (4,300CLP)!

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    From here (San Pedro) to Uyuni we will be traveling separately. We read that the road condition at the National Park with the Lakes in Bolivia is bad and in some places over 5,000m high, so it seems impossible for the vespa to make it with both of us and our luggage on. The plan is that I'll keep only the necessary (all my clothes so I won't freeze, some dry food, the tent, sleeping bag and mattress, spare parts, 5 liters of water and some extra petrol) and go on my own so that the vespa will be more comfortable! Alexandra booked an organized tour on a 4x4 for 113euros (3days, all inclusive). We' ll meet in Uyuni.

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    The only interesting thing when crossing this border between Chile and Bolivia is that the customs office is now here, at the same place and not lost somewhere next to some mines only to be more convenient for the mining industry and its interests. Another interesting thing is the public servant working at the border control and knows everything: he was sure that I wouldn't manage to pass from the Lake Region on the vespa and he was telling me this in a bit ironic way...”Ok, thanks, just put the stamp on the passport and let me go!”

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    “Maximum speed: 60km/h...hahaha...not even in my wildest dreams I could run with that speed!

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    The first day I made it to Lake Colorada (180kms). I spent the night at the shelter waiting – in vain – for Alexandra to come, but her group went to another shelter...

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    It's difficult to find your way in most parts of the route. You have to follow the tracks of the 4x4s and have a GPS (for normal people) or a compass (for the most traditional).

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    SmilinJoe and IslandMonkey like this.
  3. IslandMonkey

    IslandMonkey inselaffe

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,055
    Location:
    Exiled across the Pennines.
    Amazing. Good luck and keep it coming please.
  4. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,802
    Location:
    SW. Idaho
    Why exactly did you go there?
    This cold moonscape of a place.
  5. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Thanks! We'll definitely keep it coming!

    Oh, it was just the most beautiful and unique place we've seen in South America!
    SmilinJoe and yokesman like this.
  6. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    - Paraguay (part02) -


    *you can watch the video with English subtitles

    We were in Asuncion! Our first stop was the botanical garden where we could pitch our tent and stay, as we had already read in other travelers websites. It is not an organized campsite, but it is a place to pitch your tent and has some basic facilities. We followed the instructions on our GPS and there we were! The botanical garden of Asuncion was really beautiful! I don’t know if I can compare it to other botanical gardens of Europe, (I haven’t been to many) but we loved this garden. A huge place of green, clean and open to the public. Whoever wants, can come and walk, run, do a picnic and spend the day in a “forest” inside a city. We paid less than 1euro to get into the garden (this is the entrance fee for a motorcycle and staying in the campsite of the garden is for free). When we finally found the place to pitch the tent, we realized that there are some pros and cons…The place was among some huge trees and the only sound was the birds singing. However, the toilets were really dirty (we wouldn’t even enter to wash our hands) and additionally to this, everyone we asked when we were searching for the campsite, told us that there is a guard but leaving our stuff unattended wouldn’t be a good idea…

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    Pictures from the botanical garden

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    Pictures from the botanical garden

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    Pictures from the botanical garden

    In the camping area, we were not alone, though. A big Volvo truck was parked there, also. It was definitely a traveler’s vehicle and we were curious to meet its owner(s). After we had pitched our tent, a couple came towards the truck. It was Pita and Rudi, a German couple of pensioners who had been traveling for the last few years around the world (www.menrad-international.com). We spent some time talking and exchanging travel experiences, but we all soon ran into our “homes” because the mosquitoes of the botanical garden were really ferocious and started sucking our blood without showing any mercy! At about 19.00-19.30, the guard appeared and asked for our names so that he could register us to the official papers of the administration! He reassured us that the place is safe and went to sleep in a small house some meters away. The next morning, Stergios and I talked about our options for the day: none of us wanted to leave our stuff there and go and none of us wanted to use the toilets of the place. We had no other solution but to go. Those who can lock their stuff are really lucky in situations like this!

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    At the Botanical Garden of Asuncion, we met Rudi and Rita from Germany, who travel in a huge Volvo truck!

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    At the Botanical Garden of Asuncion, we met Rudi and Rita from Germany, who travel in a huge Volvo truck!

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    At the Botanical Garden of Asuncion, we met Rudi and Rita from Germany, who travel in a huge Volvo truck!

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    At the Botanical Garden of Asuncion, we met Rudi and Rita from Germany, who travel in a huge Volvo truck!

    We headed towards the canteen which was 50 meters from the place we were. There, our new friend Analia was waiting for us with some traditional Paraguayan breakfast! Analia was the owner of the canteen and the previous day, when we passed in front of her to go to the camping area, she saw us and welcomed us. She and her husband, who is a well-known enduro race rider, used to travel a lot on motorcycles and Analia was really happy to meet us! We were also very happy to meet her! She was the first person to talk to after our bad experience with the “crazy” hotel owner in Aregua (see Paraguay (part01)) and it was about time to meet a nice person at last! Our first impression was that she is very kind and we were right! She prepared a traditional recipe, “mbeju” (like a pancake made of mandioca flour and cheese) for us and we sat and started talking. After some moments, we had already agreed to be hosted by her and her family! We couldn’t believe how someone who didn’t know us, was so eager to help us!

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    We met Analia at the Botanical Garden of Asuncion and without knowing us, she opened her house to us and hosted us!

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    We met Analia at the Botanical Garden of Asuncion and without knowing us, she opened her house to us and hosted us!

    That day was full of pleasant surprises! While we were sitting and chatting with Analia, we heard the sound of a vespa’s engine! Two guys on vespas appeared and came towards us. We started wondering how they knew we were there! Soon, our question was answered: the previous day, while searching for the camping area, we crossed with a guy on a vespa and greeted him. That was the only thing needed! Marcelo (the guy on the vespa) made a quick research on the internet and found who we were. The next day, he and his friend Carlos, came to the botanical garden to meet us! After a while, another vespista came. It was Gustavo, the president of the Vespa Club of Paraguay. And that’s how our story in Asuncion started! Without worrying anymore about where to stay, we went for a ride with the 3 vespisti. We headed towards the city center, passing from the “Avenida Costanera” and after a first look at the streets of the city, we ended up at “El Mercadito”, a market dedicated to the local cuisine! We were in heaven! The same evening, the plan was to gather at Analia’s place and together with some more members of the Vespa Club we shared some beer and – of course some more traditional recipes! Apart from the “asado” (barbeque) which is apparently a tradition for everyone in South America – Argentina and Paraguay for sure – and it is prepared by the male participants of the fiesta, this time we had the opportunity to try some other recipes that can only be found in Paraguay. Analia’s mother, had prepared the “sopa Paraguaya” and the “chipa guazu”: two delicious savory cakes with ingredients such as corn flour, corn, cheese etc! We were astonished by the Paraguayan hospitality and that was only the beginning!

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    The whole vespa club of Paraguay welcomed us and showed us the best places in the city!

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    Our first stop at the “mercadito” (the small market). The most authentic place in the city for some good local food!

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    Our first stop at the “mercadito” (the small market). The most authentic place in the city for some good local food!

    T
    he next day wasn’t that different from the previous one: traditional breakfast – omelet with pieces of mandioca and mate cocido (a strong infusion). Later, together with Analia and her husband Carlos Jorge, we went to the little port of Remanso and we bought some “milanesa surubi” (river fish schnitzel) by one of the “sinking restaurants”! When the water of the river raises, the small restaurants on the riverside sink and only those who have a second floor stay open and dry(!). In the evening, after saying goodbye to Analia’s lovely 3 children, to her sweet mother, their 5 dogs and their pet pig(!), we went to the city center to meet with the Vespa Club of Paraguay for the “official welcome”. What else? – Food and beer and vespas! This time, the gathering was at Diosnel’s business. Diosnel is a member of the V.C.P. and a professional collector. He owns a shop with antiquities and he has some vespas and a Mini Cooper. The surprise this time – apart from the smiling people who were waiting to welcome us – was the home made pizza that Diosnel prepared on the barbeque! Delicious and unique! So, we had good company, good food and cold beer…and this was not the exception but the rule in Asuncion!

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    “Pizza Asado” (!) with the Vespa club of Paraguay

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    “Pizza Asado” (!) with the Vespa club of Paraguay

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    “Pizza Asado” (!) with the Vespa club of Paraguay

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    “Pizza Asado” (!) with the Vespa club of Paraguay

    For the next few days, we were hosted by Diosnel and his wife, Elena at their home. We had some more friends in Paraguay! I’m afraid that no matter how hard I’ll try, I’ll be sill missing a name of someone of the kind people we met…Those who wanted to host us – Tenti offered us his country house – those who wanted to buy us a beer, to show us around, to take us out for a drink…we tried hard not to disappoint anyone but they were too many and we were only two! After some meals, dinners and walks in the city, it was time to do some work. We had been trying to find a place to build a new bigger rack for the vespa, so that our luggage could be better tied on it, because every time we were on a dirt road, the pile of luggage would fall off its place. Carlos Jorge arranged a meeting with a friend of him, Jorge Armando, who is a welder and has a flourishing business in Asuncion. Soon, the vespa’s rear rack became wider to support the luggage and from now on, there is a back for the second passenger (me!). We celebrated the new construction with – what else? – some “asado” (barbeque) and some wine, there, at Jorge Armando’s business!

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    Modifying the rear and front rack of the vespa: support and reinforcement to get us through the difficult off-road parts of our travel. Many thanks to Jorge Armando and his company, «HERRERIA JARA OCHIPINTI» for the invaluable help!

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    Modifying the rear and front rack of the vespa: support and reinforcement to get us through the difficult off-road parts of our travel. Many thanks to Jorge Armando and his company, «HERRERIA JARA OCHIPINTI» for the invaluable help!

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    Modifying the rear and front rack of the vespa: support and reinforcement to get us through the difficult off-road parts of our travel. Many thanks to Jorge Armando and his company, «HERRERIA JARA OCHIPINTI» for the invaluable help!

    In case you ‘re tired of reading about food and booze, please, don’t go further…this was our stay in Asuncion! We started getting a bit worried about our cholesterol levels! To change a bit the subject, I’ll tell you about our first interview on the Paraguayan Media! It was our first but surprisingly not the last one…but, I’ll return to this later. While we were drinking our wine at Jorge Armando’s place, Analia called and informed us that in one hour we will be interviewed by the Paraguayan TV! Not “asked”, but “informed” us! Small panic attack, held by me because I would do all the talking! Stergios unfortunately has a very basic vocabulary in Spanish – food, vespas, beer – so he relied on my knowledge(!)…In a few moments, we found ourselves talking to a journalist and after some distant shots of us on the vespa, the journalist and the cameraman disappeared explaining not to us (we were still on the vespa trying to understand what the cameraman wanted us to do) but to our friends who were waiting, that they were on a hurry. To cut a long story short, we never saw our interview and we never got a copy of it. We were only told that some friends saw us on TV, but we will never see how Stergios’ hairstyle looked on camera!

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    Abstract art or the electricity cables in Asuncion?!

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

    We were not anxious to leave from Asuncion. We loved the city and it was a great opportunity to work a bit on the blog. Of course, we were also waiting for that package which was on its way from Greece and we were sure that we would soon receive it (we were mistaken!). After some days hosted by Diosnel and Elena, we decided to stay in a hostel. We didn’t want to take advantage of our friends’ hospitality and we also needed some privacy so that we could take our time and work! We found one of the best hostels we’ve ever stayed! It was “Hostal Arandu”. A quiet and nice place with a big kitchen. Very clean and luckily, with only a few people staying there, as it was the low season for Paraguay’s tourism! After some time there, we realized we had a routine: shopping, cooking, working, going out and shooting pictures and videos, some more gastronomy…After some more time, we were ready to go! Our butts had been missing the feeling of sitting on the vespa!

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

    Leaving from Asuncion proved to be a bit more complicated than we thought…These are the reasons: First, it was the package from Greece. We were looking for it on the website of the Greek post office, using the trucking number they had given us, but the only information we had was that it was stuck somewhere in Brazil. We visited more than once the Paraguayan post office and everyone was eager to help us, but unfortunately we had no luck. I don’t know if it was the insufficiency of the Greek Post Office, the Paraguayan one or the Brazilian customs control, but we never managed to sort out what happened. Fortunately, we have given a Paraguayan friend’s name as the receiver, so if this package is found sometime in the future, our friend Lari will inform us! After having decided to ignore the package and leave, we realized we couldn’t leave! During the previous days, we were trying to figure out what we would do regarding our new tent. The company (Red Fox) that was eager to provide us with a new tent were trying to send it to us, but when they told us that they were considering sending it by post, we were frightened that we had to stay in Asuncion for ever! Luckily, they sent it to us with a private courier company and in only one week, we had it!

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    I waited and waited for the package from Greece to Paraguay with the post office…even my hair grew long but the package never arrived!

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Our new Red Fox tent!

    Ready to go, right? – Wrong! Apparently, it was time for me to catch a terrible cold! 3 more days trapped in Asuncion with a painful sore-throat, soups and full of anger! Well, one Friday of June we felt ready to hit the road again. We had everything almost ready, we were both healthy and the vespa was fully rested! The only detail was that all this time that we were in Asuncion, the vespa wasn’t staying with us. We had it safely parked and locked in Diosnel’s business so that the other vespas (that Diosnel collects) would keep it company. The problem was that Diosnel, his wife and kids had decided to go on a 3-day excursion outside Asuncion and, as we learned after sending him a message, there was no one who could unlock the place and let us get the vespa, until Monday. Be patient…I have to inform you though, that on Monday, after 3 more days of waiting, we did it! We finally left from Asuncion!

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

    However, while waiting for the vespa to be freed, we managed to get trapped again, in a more funny way this time! A photographer had somehow heard that a Greek couple on a vespa is somewhere in Asuncion and through some members of the vespa club, asked if he could take pictures of us. He reassured us that they would be strictly for personal use, so we agreed to meet him. We felt that the interview on TV was too much for us, and we were generally uncomfortable with the Media, but Jorge, the photographer wasn’t the Media. We met, he took some pictures and talked a bit about the trip. The real surprise came when, while we were with Jorge next to the riverside, a car with the logo of one of the Paraguayan newspapers stopped next to us. A journalist and a photographer got off the car and started organizing the interview! What interview?! We had no idea and we never managed to figure out whose idea was this interview and who had arranged it! We both silently agreed to give the interview because obviously, it was not the journalist’s fault. The only thing we strongly refused to do, was to pose like a silly couple, giving all the attention to the “love-story” and not to the journey! The interview went well and the journalist, Monica Bareiro, proved to be very professional.

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion

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    Pictures from the city center of Asuncion[


    For our last 2 days in Asuncion, we had decided to visit for one last time all those places with delicious local food because we knew that we wouldn’t find some recipes anywhere in the world again! Additionally to these gastronomy-walks, we took the opportunity to walk a bit more in the city center and take some last shots. The historical center of Asuncion was one of the most “humane” city centers we had visited. Small, with people who know each other and always say “good morning”. The only “dangerous” situation in the city center of Asuncion is to find yourself behind a bus (and its exhaust), while it’s trying to accelerate! That Monday, we finally departed with no problems. We said good-bye to Diosnel and Elena who had kept the vespa safe and left. We had the opportunity to say good-bye to many of our Paraguayan friends but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to spend as much time as we wanted with some others…Our memories from Paraguay will be mainly its people! Not only us, but also the Paraguayans think this way: they live in a small country in the middle of South America, next to huge countries with much more developed tourist industry and famous monuments, so they “invest” to themselves! The people’s hospitality and kindness are inarguable for everyone who has visited Paraguay!

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    In the photo (right to left): Gustavo, Diosnel, Tenti (all three, members of the Vespa Club Paraguay), Analia, Carlos Jorge (a couple we met on the road and hosted us!).

    [​IMG] GPS Waypoints and POIs in Paraguay:

    [​IMG] Juan E. O’ Leary. “Nativa Nautic Club” campsite: Very nice and cheap campsite, just 4.3 kilometers away main road. It lays just in front of a beautiful, clean lake, ideal for swimming. There was internet, hot / drinkable water, a mini market, barbecue facilities and electricity. Price: 20,000 PYG per person. (May ’15) gps: –25.39279, -55.3577

    [​IMG] Asuncion. Here is the place to pitch your tent (for free) or park your motor-home (with a small fee) inside the botanical gardens. Be aware that there is almost nothing here (food, drinking water etc), and it’s just a place to spend the night. The toilets are VERY dirty and probably you won’t be able to use them (like we did). However there is running water. No internet. There is security during the night but we didn’t feel safe to leave our stuff there and visit the city center. Price: free for you and 5,000PYG for your motorcycle. (May ’15) gps: -25.24718, -57.57238

    [​IMG] Asuncion. The entrance to the botanical gardens (you can spend a night for free using your tent). (May ’15) gps: -25.25221 -57.57853

    [​IMG] Asuncion. Arandu hostel: the best hostel we’ve ever seen / stayed! We spent 24 (!) days here, because the ratio for what you pay and what you get is great. The building is new, it’s very clean, the kitchen is big enough and very well equipped, there’s lots of space for many people, there is even satellite TV (for the fans), fast internet and the staff is very kind and helpful! Price: 50,000PYG per person per night in a shared 4 bed dormitory (we were lucky enough though to visit it on May when there is a special offer and for every 2 nights you pay, you get one for free, so the cost for us was 33,333PYG per person per night). Breakfast is included. One last detail is that we were there during the low touristic season so we didn’t share our room with other people. (May ’15) gps: -25.28399, -57.63981

    Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend folks!
    Stergios and Alexandra
    yokesman likes this.
  7. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Our latest LiveTrip* reports:

    Laguna Honda: here the first Honda enduro motorcycle was manufactured in 1716! :p

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    In Uyuni, we found a relatively cheap room in El Cactu Hostal – 14euros per night. It was not that cheap, but due to the freezing cold we didn't have many options. The plan is to stay here for a while, work a bit on the vespa's needs and take the opportunity to upload some new stuff on the blog. Of course we'll be having an eye on our country and the difficult time it's going through...

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    Incahuasi island: at the center of Uyuni salar!

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    *you can follow our trip and see our exact route at www.livetrips.gr/trip/1296
  8. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Our latest LiveTrip* reports:

    5-star hotels my ass...(Pescado Island)

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    *you can follow our trip and see our exact route at www.livetrips.gr/trip/1296
    jowul, RonInFla and v15ben like this.
  9. johnnybgood8

    johnnybgood8 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    348
    Nice as always ;)
  10. Irina

    Irina Continuous Simplification

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    California
    Wow! Gorgeous photography!! What an adventure!! Congratulations! Are you home yet? :ricky
    Irina
  11. kevinsinvegas

    kevinsinvegas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    forever changing
    sounds like a great trip! thanks for posting up!
  12. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Thanks man!

    Thanks Irina! No, we're not home yet. The journey continues!

    Thanks! It's our pleasure to share it with you!
  13. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Everything is a matter of perspective!

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  14. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    The route to Potosi was pure orgasm!
    Only if we had a bit more horsepower...


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  15. TrimSlim

    TrimSlim Where's the chile?

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Minnesnowta...
    Ah-wonderful! Your photographs are reminding me that it has been far too long since I have spent time in the desert. The Vespa looks great in those vast places.
  16. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    :D
  17. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    After a "tremendous effort" (we just greeted the miners on strike) we entered Potosi, which was cut-off for the last 20 days.
    As we 've already written "NEVER listen to what the Mass Media tell you!".


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    SmilinJoe likes this.
  18. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Our latest LiveTrip* reports:

    For the 5 days we stayed there, we admired the solidarity between the people of Potosi and how united they remained during the fight for their demands: the construction of a hospital, an international airport and a cement industry! All promised but never fulfiled by the last governments.

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    Luckily we're back in temperatures "normal for us" (city of Sucre). Opportunity to finally wash our thermal clothes!

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    *you can follow our trip and see our exact route at www.livetrips.gr/trip/1296
    SmilinJoe likes this.
  19. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Our latest LiveTrip* reports:

    No other street market (including the Greek ones) can be compared to this of Sucre!

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    *you can follow our trip and see our exact route at www.livetrips.gr/trip/1296
    SmilinJoe likes this.
  20. s_gogos

    s_gogos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Greece
    Our latest LiveTrip* reports:

    From Sucre to La Higuera (the village where Che Guevara was killed), it was like we were traveling in a mountainous Greek area. Intense scent of thyme, lots of bends, trees and vegetation similar to the Greek one!

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    *you can follow our trip and see our exact route at www.livetrips.gr/trip/1296