First "proper" day of cycling today started with soaking wet clothes and ice in my panniers - last night was freezing. Still the hills getting out of Ushuaia get the blood flowing, its a lovely sunny day and the cycling is fabulous amongst the mountains. There´s a 500m pass (Paso Garibaldi) which winds on past a couple of small lakes to giant Lake Fagnano where the views are stunning across this 100km long expanse of water. The wind is starting to pick up - warnings of what´s to come, but for now it just causes the water to shimmer and lap at the shore whilst I take a standard lunch of bread and cheese.
Reaching Lago Escondido a small village some 60kms from Ushuaia, I enquire of a woman about a campsite and am immediately invited to pitch in her back garden. Before the tent is out of the bag, I´m ushered inside for a beer and then plates of food start to arrive. This looks very promising. The whole family turns up and it´s the grandson´s 3rd birthday party and suddenly I´m the guest of honour. The evening is a blur of psuedo Spanish (for me - their´s is fine), beer, photos, wine more beer and enough food to kill off any hunger. The tent gets pitched at 1am in an alcoholic haze.
The next day is a slow start as I wade through breakfast and lunch before wobbling away at 2pm after hugs and tears (I kid you not). The hospitality to complete strangers is humbling, and as I ride away it makes me think about the way we perceive strangers back home.