Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nervous nights - Chilecito to Salta

With the tent back up and running, off we went heading north again. Since Mendoza we seem to have been ploughing through the miles with long, flat, paved roads most of the way. Heading back towards the hills we found oursleves in a small town called Londres (London). We couldn´t find the British Museum and tried to find the local mayor to complain. However, it was impossible to find anywhere in the town as this is that fabled town that U2 sang about , "Where the streets have no name".
God knows how the postmen deliver things round here???

Cycling on, we found some more ripio (unpaved hell!). The maps we have are shocking. Three hours of bum-bruising is not fun and we were very happy to find paved roads again. We are more aware that Bolivian roads are not very good, so we are trying to keep to paved roads as much as possible until then.

Camping out in the wild is still a nervy ordeal. Ian didn´t want to camp here (a good campsite if not for the donkeys!).

So he made Gemma cycle another couple of hours to the next good one we could find. Turned out this site had a lovely little troll-dog. His front feet were mangled and he was unable to walk properly. We guessed he must have landed badly having fallen out of the ugly tree and hitting the back of the bus on the way down.

Despite the ridiculous chances of being trampled again, we are both still suffering from fright whenever any tiny noise is heard in the night. Just a leaf falling on top of the tent made Ian get up and stomp around in his pants to make sure nothing was coming.

We came across a site named Quilmes (also the name of the very tasty local beer) which is a pre-hispanic site in which locals fought of the Inca and then the Spaniards for many years. Eventually they were overcome and now they just make loads of beer and sell trinkets.

On our way to Salta we stayed in Cafayate for a few days. This town is home to hundreds of wine producers. Vineyards everywhere and lots of tasting to be done. We needed a break and Cafayate was a beautiful place for it. It helped that we found the nicest empanada shop we have sampled anywhere so far. Those ladies were kept very busy indeed, yummy.

Since Bolivia is not too far away, we are feeding ourselves more and more. The orders of empanadas are getting bigger, the sandwiches are bigger than our heads and lots of ice-cream is being consumed, regularly. Oh and not forgetting the wine...

Because of this, we had some short days cycling through some more lovely hills to Salta. Many rocks in different shapes, like frogs, or castles, or bears were to be seen. The most spectacular was the "ampitheatre" in which some lads were playing guitars and flutes. It was an incredible place, but the music could have been left back in Cafayate.

Now in Salta we are hoping to find a new pole for the tent. Once rested and fed we will be tackling our biggest mountain crossing yet. All fun from here, we go up, up and then up some more to reach over 4,000m before flying down the other side into Chile (San Pedro de Atacama) where we will update with more photos.
Hopefully we will be there in just over a week. Any longer and we´re hitching.

Lots of love, Ian and Gemma xxx

1 comment:

Globalmum said...

Please bring back David's giant wine bottle.... Mum(2) XXX