Salta to Cafayate

Over the next days I will try to edit some more footage and make it available.

The first is the amazing road from Salta to Cafayate. I start filming at the halfway point as I started to climb into the more interesting landscape. I was filming intermittently rather than continuously then put all the videos together and then increased the speed so that trip is condensed to seven minutes.

Hope it doesn’t make you car sick. HERE it is.

Salta cable car

Only four blocks away from my hotel is Parque San Martin which amongst other things is the departure point for the cable car to the top of Cerro San Bernardo. An ideal Sunday morning excursion before returning to the airport at lunchtime.

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On the way the streets were empty and I passed some faded mansions which had seen better days.

 

 

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Beautiful clear sky day as I take the Swiss made cable car for a view of the whole city. I did a quick tour at the top and then slowly ambled back in increasing temperature.

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Salta nightlife

It was Saturday night and I had managed a nap after my return drive to Cafayate so staying in was not an option.

Apparently all the bars, clubs and penas are situated on Calle Balcarce which runs  down from the train staion, which is the departure point for la tren a las nunes (train to the clouds)This train was an option I had considered but ruled out  based on timing.

I walked to Balcarce in about 30 minutes so was gasping for a beer. It was quite quiet as the penas shows had not started and the nightclubs were at 10pm totally empty. I found an outside table ar the recommended Cafe del Tiempo and ordered a local beer. A litre bottle of Quilmes arrived, so I settled back to watch the world go by.

I lit up a hand rolled El Rey del Munndo demi tasse cigar from a box I had bought at the incredible La Couronne in Nyon, near Geneva. It was the perfect end to the day.

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Now, getting peckish, I tried my first empenados, little mini pasties filled with spicy meat …delicious.

The litre of Quilmes had been demolished so I followed with what turned out to be a very strong caipirinha. Then another caipirinha and cigar. It was definitely a taxi back for a well earned night’s sleep.

 

Salta to Cafayate

I picked up my rental car on Friday evening in order to make an early  start for the three hour drive. I figured that there would be less traffic, less tourists visiting the rock formations (Quebrada de kas Conchas) on the way, and with a low rising sun behind me I would see the landscape at its best.

I set up Google satnav to get me out of town and onto Ruta 68 was on the road in the dark at 6.15. My cell phone started giving me instructions through the town. I passed laden backpackers already waiting for their collectivo and others making their way to work and finally small groups of scantily clad ladies already at work, on the street!!

Once on Ruta 68 it was a breeze…little traffic and beautiful scenery. First along the valley floor and then the climb as the country changed from forest to shrubs and finally to the moonscape above the tree line.

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On the way I saw a gaucho clad man as I passed through a village and roaming goats on the road. I was right about the sun behind me as it threw early morning shadows on the mountains which picked out natures etching. Ir is difficult to put into words what an amazing drive it was and for periods of ten to fifteen minutes, I didn’t see another.

After just over a couple of hours I arrived at my first stop, garganta del diablo (the devil’s throat).

imageA few mikes further down the road was my next stop, the anfiteatro.  This huge cavern cut by the rio de las conchas in a time gone by created an amphitheatre effect as  a couple of other visitors who starting singing.

The final part of the drive down through the mountain range into the Cafayate plain, host to its vineyards. And finally into Cafayate itself where I parked on the main sqaure and sought out a breakfast of medialunas (small croissants) and coffee.