With the controls and restrictions that have been in place across the world due to the virus it is a while since i have traveled far.

For the past year I have been no further than my two local towns Piribebuy and Paraguari. And so have been no further than 20 miles from the house. Almost always within touching distance of it.

On the whole this has been because all I needed could be found near by and out in the countryside life has remained relaxed. I chose to keep my head down rather than risk meeting any check points or the like.

However after a year the scenery despite its beauty had become a little repetitive. I was long overdue a longer journey. Also I felt I needed just for a while to look at something new.

So Saturday I resolved to rectify that with a trip over to Caacupe. Caacupe is my nearest large town and only an additional 10 miles to travel.

The sun was shining on Saturday. As it does most days in Paraguay. There was no rush to head out so it was late morning before I left the house.

Following the recent heavy rains the track is still in a very bad state. All holes and deep sand. So those fist few miles on my bike until I reached tarmac needed more than a little concentration.

The council will be round with their tractors to repair the track. However ever dirt track in the district is in a similar state. The only thing to do is wait in the queue for the workmen to reach this district.

From there the newly laid tarmac gave me a nice smooth run to Piribebuy. There for the first time in a year rather I followed the road past the town instead of heading into it.

Just a short run from there to where the Piribebuy road joins the main cross country trunk road that runs from Asuncion to Ciudad del Este.

Out on the main road I met for the first time in ages traffic. First of all lorries carrying their cargoes across the country. Then as I approached Caacupe it built to a steady line of traffic.

Once in the town I found myself in a traffic jam. A very novel experience. Suddenly the world seemed a very busy place as everything tired to squeeze its way through Caacupe. There were even traffic lights to deal with. Don’t see that sort of thing out in Piribebuy.

My first stop was the town center. I found somewhere to park. In Caacupe there are allocated parking spaces for cars and bikes. At least although I had to find the right sort of place for parking in there was no charge for the privilage.

On foot I took a short stroll around town. Apart from the masks everything looked as it should. Shops and restaurants were open and people were going about their business.

The plaza in front of the church which is the center piece of Caacupe appeared to have its normal compliment of pilgrims and tourists. I did not go into the church but noticed that mass was being relayed via loudspeakers to people standing in front of its main doorway. Hard to tell from the bottom of the steps whether there was anyone inside but that may have been a social distancing measure.

Elsewhere on my walk around the town center I saw only one thing unusual. The children playground. Normally it is full of children but Saturday lunchtime there was just one solitary child clambering over it.

Having seen the town center I collected my bike and continued across town.

The next stop was the supermarket. Again apart from the masks life carried on as before.

By then it was lunch time. I knew that the supermarket food court was again open so headed up there. In the food court there were few diners. it may have been a little early. But the buffet was stocked as ever with a wide range of freshly cooked food.

Being a buffet I as always added a bit of this and a bit of that to the plate. In the end a plate of meats with a little vegetable and salad for garnish. That was fine. I ate lunch looking out of the food court window onto the shoppers below as they went about their business.

Once fed I headed down there myself. I long ago learnt not to visit a supermarket when hungry.

For a while then I wandered about the store in no organized way and in no hurry. Along the way picking up the few things I actually needed and a collection of random things that just looked interesting.

In the end I ran out of interesting things to look at and made my way to the till. Then fitted all my purchases into my back pack and made my way home having had a very good trip out.

An experience I shall be sure to repeat before long. Along with trips to all those other places I have not seen for a while.