From Pirenópolis to Barra dos Garças, the girls push on towards the centre of Brazil. However, in their exhaustion, they find a super-special place to sleep...
From Pirenópolis to Barra dos Garças, the girls push on towards the centre of Brazil. However, in their exhaustion, they find a super-special place to sleep…
The New Nap Ritual
Today, the girls finally reach the depths of the Cerrado, about 500 km from Brasilia, where the flat landscape and low trees blend into wide, cattle-filled green pastures. They’ve left Pirenópolis too late to ride the 250km and get to Jurassa in time for lunch, though, and soon find out that all the restaurants close at 2pm. Cue the perfect opportunity to test out the famous Brazilian hospitality. Dona Gorete, a friendly local, spontaneously invites them to share her food, and even prepares five beds for them, so that they can take an afternoon nap before getting back on the bikes. They leave feeling fully restored, and vow to take a nap every day from now on!
A Bumpy Ride
Once on the road again, they find their next stretch of the journey particularly tough: out of the 225km they have to cover, 25 paths are asphalt and 200 dirt. It’s the first time the girls are forced to drive off the road, and although the initial idea was to go straight from Barra dos Garcas to Alto Taquari, 285km away, the paths prove too difficult. They abandon all hope of seeing the stunning landscape, and at around 5pm, with 60km of bumpy, rocky and puddle-ridden dirt tracks still left to go, exhaustion and the failing light finally convince the girls to look for a place to sleep. This is a basic rule on any biking trip: you have to know when to stop.
Room And Board
So, after crossing a small hill, the girls spot a nearby village that seems to be literally in the middle of nowhere, and stop at the local petrol station to get advice. They’re after a hotel, and soon find out that they’ve stumbled across one of Brazil’s three smallest towns. These unique life-on-the-road moments always turn out to be the best surprises: in a country like Brazil, where everything is gigantic, who would have guessed that the five French girls would end up in Araguainha, which has just 1,024 inhabitants?
This time it’s Vanda Pereira de Souza, 50, manager of the town’s small hotel Canastra, who welcomes them in. She secures them a bed each, as well as a dinner, prepared by Dona Cleide – the cook from a bar around the corner, who also brings them a jar of caipirinha to try. ‘These are the kind of surprises that are only possible with the freedom that comes with the bike. We stopped here just to rest and it turned out to be a magical experience,’ says Louise D. The next day they leave super-early, but still attract the attention of several locals, who gather in front of the house to watch them depart. After all, Araguainha doesn’t often get five visitors at once!
Tune In Tomorrow When…
More road struggles force the L’equipee girls to hatch a plan B.