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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Montevideo..... Bikes & Graf Spee

Ive decided to make the most of the many buisness trips I go on by either

  • taking my bike with me

  • renting a bike

  • or at the very least vcommenting on the bike culture in the country I am visiting.

This first trip was a short one so breaking down my bike and placing it into my new shiney (Xmas present) bike carrying case was temporarily put on hold.

For those of you dont know where Montivideo is it is located in South America, boarded just North of the River Plate that Borders with Argentina on the East Coast.

Cycling is very poular especially on Sunday Afternoons where you will see a number of enthusiastic cyclists hit the "ramblas" or waterfront Highways that stretch North and South of the Uruguay Capital.

For those really keen riders there is a the inaugual edition of the Vuelta Sudamericana (On July 26th, 2009), Cyclists participating depart Rio and travel the Costa Verde, a series of beaches and islands along the southern Brazilian coast. Turning inland, the course heads for Iguazu Falls. This system of 275 waterfalls marks the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. From the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion, the route meanders through the agricultural lands of Las Pampas until it arrives in Montevideo.

A trip to Montivideo would not be the same without commenting upon a big influence on my life, that being Maritime History, and Montivideo has a fantastic story to tell!!!!
The Admiral Graf Spee was one of the most famous German naval warships of World War 11, along with the Bismark. Her size was limited to that of a cruiser by the Treaty of Versailles but she was as heavily armed as a battleship due to innovative weight-saving techniques employed in her construction.

She was sent to the Atlantic Ocean as a commerce raider in 1939, where she sank nine Allied merchant ships. Numerous British hunting groups were assigned to find her, with three British ships finally tracking her down in December 1939. The Battle of the River Plate ensued, during which the Graf Spee was damaged. She docked for repairs in the neutral port of Montevideo, but was forced by international law to leave within 72 hours. Faced with what he believed to be overwhelming odds, the captain scuttled his ship rather than risk the lives of his crew.

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