Friday, 17 July 2009

Cafayate, 12 July 2009

I´m in a bit of a rush while i´m in Salta. I want to meet Rich and Rhiannon on the 14 in Resistencia so I only have three days in Salta. My first day exploring the city was great, and my second day on a trip to Cafayate has also been fantastic. I initially thought it would be good to spend a night in Cafayate, but in order to meet up with Rich and Rhi instead I chose to take a day trip. It was such a great day trip.

I was picked up at 7.20am this morning... ungodly, I know. I met my guide, Claudio, and he was some what startled when I said I could only speak English. Turns out that everyone else booked on the tour was Argentinian. He ushered me in to the front seat of the mini bus, he explained that he would use the microphone to speak to everyone else and then he would explain to me in Spanish. I didn´t mind at all, I had the front seat, the perfect view for the trip.

We picked up everyone else on the trip and made our way to Ruta 68 and started our journey to Cafajate.

I´ve seen snow in Argentina, I´ve seen golden scrub land, and today I´ve seen red sand stone.

The landscape that we travelled through on Ruta 68 was stunning. The red rock landscape was spectacular. We arrived first at the Devil´s Throat and then the Ampitheatre formation. The ruta was incredibly long and Claudio was happy to stop for photos all along the ruta.

There were rocks that looked like frogs, castles, the sinking titanic, pilgrims and inca tribes people. The route was pretty desolate and devoid of life. But the red rocks against the clear blue sky were simply stunning.

We arrived in Cafayate at noon and indulged in a little wine tasting. As wine tasting goes (and I am now a connosieur) this was a rubbish wine tasting tour. We were rushed around the bodega frantically and then given thimbles of wine to taste.

That said, the wine tasting was well worth it as we got to try the local white wine Torrontes. This is an absolutely beautiful white wine, it smells sweet and druity like pineapples, but has a great dry flavour. Simply divine. I loved it. Sadly i only had a thimble ful. I contemplated buying some, but figured i wouldnt be able to chill it sufficiently in my back pack.

After wine we all went for lunch.

Now, being the only English speaking person on the trip, lunch coudl have been a nightmare. But it wasn´t it was lovely. I managed to muster enought Spanish to have a nice conversation, and i was able to understand most of what was being said. when conversation got tricky a really nice girl called Elisa from Buenos Aires came to my rescue and did her best to translate for me.

Lunch was great and very traditional... we had chickpeas and sweetcorn wrapped in a skin. it was very tasty. this was followed by Lorca which was a traditional stew type dish with sweet corn and lentils. desert was the strangest, it was pumpkin drenched in a caramel sauce, delicious but stranged.

After lunch we were all stuffed, but Elisa, Mercedes (another girl from Buenos Aires) and I still found space for the local ice cream... Torrontes and Cabernet Sauvignon flavour no less. It was divine. ANd the torrentes tasted fabulous in ice cream form as well as in wine form. Such a good varietal of grape.

There wasnçt much else to see or do in Cafayate so once we had eaten our ice cream we were back in the car and on our way back along ruta 68 to view everything from the other direction. the views were very different and with the sun in the sky at a different height the light created a different ambience. It was beautiful and i took even more video adn photos. I really did have the best view in the whole car.

BEfore returning to Salta we took a detour to a nearby lake, the lake was sutrrrounded by beautiful holiday homes and was really lovely.

It was a bit of a whistle stop trip to Cafayate but it was a lovely, lovely day and I met some lovely people. In retrospect I´m glad i did the trip in a day on a tour as there was very little to keep me entertained, the best part of the day was the journet and the incredible scenery we passed through en route to Cafayate. Just beautiful.

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