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Saturday, July 29, 2006

4 days in Cafayate

About three hours outside of Salta is a little town called Cafayate. I ended up really liking it there and stayed for four days. Me and Nancy, an English girl I met in Salta got in Monday morning and checked into a very cute hostel. It was too late to do the main excursion through the canyon and so we went and did a walk along the river. It was beautiful, the river wrapped through the mountains which were all covered in cactus.

There was not a very clearly marked path, you just had to follow the river, crossing it when you couldn´t walk on one side anymore. At the end we got to a small waterfall with a crevice behind it, so i took off my shoes and walked in to the little cave behind the waterfall.

Here are some goats we saw at the end of the walk and then some other people that were around chaced them, caught them and let us hold them.


The next day we wanted to see the main attraction, the canyon and varous rock formations that are along the main road. We decided to take the most challenging way and rent bikes. So the way it works to do it with bikes is you get on a bus at 9am with your bikes. The bus takes you 50km up the road, drops you off and then you bike the 50km (about 30 miles) back. We were told it was pretty flat with more downhills than uphills. Well for one thing it was the longest bike ride I have ever done, and there were a lot of uphills and even when it was flat the sun was beating down and you were biking against the wind, and just so tired the flat didn´t seem flat. The wind was so strong that at some points you had to actually pedal going downhill because there was so much resistance from the wind. So it was really realy hard but very worth it because it was the most beautiful place and the views made up for how challenging it is. Basically we were just biking down this road with giant rock mountains on all sides of us. Because of the minerals and the process of formation, the rocks were all different colors and had all different wierd forms.

There were also some specific formations to stop along the way. This one is this big cave/crevice thing, i don´t know how to really explain it. If you notice at the very bottom of the photo there is a very very small person, that gives you an idea of how big these formations were.

Stopping every two seconds to take pictures made for good biking breaks which were much needed. After about 6 or 7 hours of biking we made it the 50km back and basically showered and crashed for the night.

Nancy left the next morning but I had decided to stay for two more days. Still exhausted from the day before I decided to have a relaxing day. I walked around the town, went to a goat cheese making place and saw how the cheese was made, and went to a winery (there are tons in the area). That night the hostel had a barbeque and afterwards everyone sat around playing guitar and singing traditional Argentine folk music which was really nice (I was one of the few non Argentinians staying there).

The next day I decided to go back to the river and take a different path. I thought there was another path along a river that split off from the main one but it turns out that river was dry so I just walked up the middle of the dry river. The path started to go up and so I just followed it and at some point I realized I was clibing up big rocks and bolders and getting to the top of this hill. I wanted to get to the top but it started to get more and more difficult to climb the rocks and I realized that I was by myself in the middle of nowhere climbing huge rocks and that probebly wasn´t the best idea so I turned around. It was a good thing I didn´t go farther because making my way down the rocks was a lot more difficult than coming up. I safely made my way down and went and sat by the real river to eat my sandwhich and then walked back into the town with two French guys from my hostel.

Even though I have a lot more time, I decided just to come back to Buenos Aires instead of going somewhere else because I was tired of moving around so much and being on buses all the time. So I took two long bus rides last night and got back to Buenos Aires this morning and am at the same hostel I was before. I have about four days here to see more of the city, then back to Santiago on Wednesday for a night, leave Santiago Thursday and get home Friday morning...less than a week to go!

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