The second day of cycling across South America and I awake to snow and a little fox playing close to my tent. I catch myself calling on the fox as I would a wee cute puppy and give myself a shake.
When it snows in Scotland it’s absolutely ‘baltic’ but here it doesn’t seem so cold. Having spent many winters cycling in Scotland, it’s a surreal experience pedalling in the snow without my hands, feet and face wanting to fall off.
Not making much progress into the head wind I wonder what I’m doing. I could easily be back in Scotland, spending my days in comfort instead of this struggle. I pass a sign. 50 PESOS SET MENU.
That’s the equivalent of £2.44 for a 3 course meal! OMG! I’m standing at the waitresses counter making the universal sign for eating. She speaks back to me in Spanish. I understand nothing. I repeat the eating motion but again she speaks back in Spanish. I understand nothing. There is a queue forming behind me and I feel like the foreign idiot that I am. I give up and take my place at a table waiting to see what happens.
Sure enough a three course meal of soup, rice and pudding is promptly served and all together. Which is service perfection for a hungry cyclist. Eating a 3 course meal for £2.44 is similar to winning the lottery for a long distance cyclist and my world makes sense again. I am exactly where I should be in life.
Cycling on from Tolhuin I see directions for a supermarket. The idea of chocolate takes control of my handlebars and I turn direction.
I arrive to find the supermarkets closed for lunch. I have two hours to wait because leaving without chocolate is not an option. My bivy bag is brought out and I lie down on the concrete to have a siesta in between shopping trolleys and front doors. I wake up as people arrive and jump up to get my chocolate amidst many a strange look.
On my way out a young couple wave me down. They tell me they are cyclists from France and explain about a bakery here in Tolhuin which has free accommodation for cycle tourers. Wow. I’m so in!
Tolhuin Panaderia is a big busy bakery with lots of staff and customers. On arriving to the front of the queue I point to my helmet and make the universal sign for sleeping. Making a hand shape pillow close to my face. The woman understands and motions for me to wait. A tall fair haired man returns. Sebastion, a 37 year old cyclist from Germany, who after 3 years of cycling the world is ‘taking a break’ by working in the bakery. It amuses me how long distance cyclists ‘take a break’ by finding a job when everyone else in the world is taking a their break to get away from work.
Sebastion shows me to a room with bunk beds and a communal area. I have a bed, Wi-Fi, cakes and a dog. Luxury!
You never know what’s going to happen as the sun rises each day. A string of random unexpected experiences making life one big surprise. I like not knowing. It forces me to be in the moment. Maybe meditation would be an easier way than cycling around the world.