OIRSCHOT/CHOS MALAL - On their world trip by bicycle, Harry and Roelie Morskate from Oirschot are stranded in Argentina. They are stuck there in a small town for the time being.
Harry and Roelie Morskate in the garden at the hostel in Chos Malal
Actually, it is the first major setback in almost two years that Roelie and Harry Morskate now travel the world by bicycle. The coronavirus has abruptly halted the long journey, at least for the time being. In a hostel in a small town in Argentina, they wait for what's to come.
Harry and Roelie Morskate sold their house in Oirschot in the spring of 2018 to travel for three years. By bike. That already gave them countless unforgettable moments. For example, in Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Shortly before the turn of the year, they flew to the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires and from there to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in South America. There they resume their bicycle tour, which took them through beautiful Patagonia.
Until last week, they remained free from major malheur. Now the corona virus throws a spanner in the works, but the couple remains cool. "Things are going well, at least we are healthy," they say from Chos Malal, a town in western Argentina. "We are now in a hostel, together with a French motorcyclist, Luc. The owners - retired police officer Nestor and his wife Karina - are very cordial people, we are welcome here. ”
And that is not self-evident in a time when tourists, especially from Europe, are also seen as a potential risk in South America. Last week, stringent measures were announced at high speed, including in Argentina. Travel was drastically limited. National and provincial borders closed, air traffic was restricted. It led to chaotic scenes among the foreigners who still wanted to go home.
The Morskates did not belong to that group. They have decided not to return to the Netherlands. "We have of course thought about it," they say. "First of all, because of the limitations from this place, it was very difficult to get to a city from which we could fly. Moreover, you are in the bustle of an airport and in an airplane, of course, more risk of contamination. "
Harry: ,, In these uncertain times you naturally want to be with the family. At the same time, we simply have no home in the Netherlands. So many things play a role. All things considered, we decided to stay, hoping that we can hop on our bikes again in a few weeks or months. In view of the repatriation panic, all the uncertainty among people who cannot go home, we now think we have made the right choice. But I really don't know how I think about that in three months. "
For the time being, they are trying to stay healthy and fit in and around the pension. In the meantime, a lockdown applies in Argentina: they are only allowed to go when it is really necessary. Roelie: ,, We consider ourselves lucky; we have a kind of house now and in the town all necessary facilities are available. "
Harry: ,, But we also realize that it can change quickly. How badly will Argentina be affected? Which measures will follow? How does the attitude towards foreign tourists develop? That remains guesswork. In that respect, we can only wait. ”
Frank van den Heuvel
Eindhovens Dagblad (daily paper)