After 2 nights spent in buses, we finally arrived in Salta! This quite desert region is well known for its white wine made from Torrontes (a grape which only grows here), but less for its landscapes. It is a pity as we had a really pleasant time there!
To explore the region, we rented a car! With our “almost 4WD car”, we drove 1700km in 6 days!!!
We started in the South of Salta. The dirty road brought us in an other world. Between American far West with cactus and red rocks, and straight white cliffs or colonial villages in the middle of nowhere, we really liked it.
The first 180 kilometres between Salta and Cachi took us more than 5 hours… A little bit because of the bad conditions of the road but mostly because we stopped every 2 minutes to take pictures!! We also visited one of the many “Devil’s throat” with some stalactites. The road to go there was even nicer than the cave itself. We then drove to Cafyate, THE wine town. Once again we loved the landscapes. In few kilometres the nature changes so fast: high cliffs, desert valleys, incredible colours, and shiny sun…. Only the dust was the shadow part of the trip!
In Cafayate we tasted some wines (after having had a flat tire… But looking at the stand of the tires and the conditions of the road, it could only happen). We were a bit disappointed by the whites; a lot a flavours on the nose but not so tasty on the palate. But we couldn’t resist to a 2005 Shiraz… We start to become pros for wine ;-)!
After 3 days in the South of Salta, we drove North and once again, new landscapes were awaiting us: 7 colours hills, rocky mountains, Salar, high valley, beautiful road… Our camera didn’t stop to click! Nd for the first (but not last) time we were above 4000 metres of altitude. A first test before arriving in Bolivia… and except a lack of air while doing an effort we didn’t feel the mountain sickness.
During our road trip we met Mathilde a French hitch hiker who finally joined us for the rest of the trip.
When we arrived at the “small” salar (apparently it is much smaller than the Uyuni Salar), we took some funny pictures together. We also saw some lamas and donkeys on the way back.
In Argentina, and especially in the North, the 15th August is well celebrated. August in the North is also the month of the Pacharmama: the goddess of the Earth. We wanted to discover and live the tradition with the locals so we went to Casaindo, a small village at 3800metres of altitude. This small place of few hundreds inhabitants hosts every year thousands of visitors for the “Toreo de la Vincha”. After a procession for Santa Maria, some “toreadors” try to steal silver coins (La Vincha) hanging at the head of the bull. Sited in the stands we look at the spectacle with curiosity. The 2 firsts bulls were quite “slow” and not really interested in the play of the men but the third and the forth offered the show we were waiting for. It is just a bit dangerous for the people sited along the wall. One guy fell from 3-4 metres in the arena but fortunately he wasn’t too much injured. We really liked the day even if the first hours waiting for the bulls show were long (and cold)!
Finally we don’t regret to have rented a car (even if it was really expensive) because we saw incredible landscapes.
Now Argentina is finished for us ; we’re going back to Chile just for few days and then we will move to Bolivia ! Stay tuned!