Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Gypsy Train - Last part of the journey from Mendoza to Salta

After a hugely deserved sleep following our re-introduction to mountaineering, we headed off in the direction of the Quilmes Ruins, Calchaqui Valley. The sun was shining and we were all not-so-secretly pleased that we did not have to wear our hiking boots and thus continue working on the blisters of doom we had procured on our hiking adventure.

The Quilmes were a pre-Incan civilisation and the site we visited is the biggest of its kind. This is about all the information we gained from the information brouchure they supplied us with as the rest of it was anti-Argentinian government propaganda. Regardless of the lack of information, the ruins were interesting to explore. It was also really great to go to an attraction that didn´t cost an arm and a leg to look around!

Here is a link to a dodgy wikipedia page about Quilmes

Quilmes Ruins

The next day we headed on up to Cafayate to drive through the spectacular red canyons. Very similar to the ones a previous national park had wanted to charge us a large amount of Pesos to drive though - except free and we could go at our own pace (not going to a national park for the win). The massive red rock formations were spectacular - with the added humour of all the names that had been allocated to them by Argentinians about what they are supposed to look like, our favorite was the toad. The two most amazing formations we thought were the natural amphitheatre and the devils throat. Both were massive holes that have formed in the rocky landscape due to wind and water. Both of them had people playing instruments in them as the acoustics were amazing.
Being toads infront of ´The Toad´
Red canyons - Cafayate

That night we found ourselves a campsite in the midst of this amazing natural wonderland and woke up the next day with the mountains glowing a fantastic red.

Our campsite in the red canyons (little white bit is the gypsy train)

The next few days were spent in Cafayate town, enjoying more wine tasting, meeting up with Jo - our friend who joined us from carnival and spray painting stencils onto the gypsy train. When considering wine tasting in Argentina, Mendoza is the area that springs to mind. Cafayate in Salta province however is sooo much better. As we were attemping to do tastings on Easter Sunday, only a few wineries were open. However the ones we went to were arguably much better than the wineries in Mendoza. The tastings were free, the wines we were able to try were of a decent quality (instead of the cheapest lines in Mendoza) and the staff were unjaded by Western tourism.

Emily with one of her stencils

Alaena and her stencil
Stencil by Bianca

Our last night on the gypsy train we spent on a lake just outside of Salta. More stencilling was done, goats cheese was eaten, wine and beer was drunk and we spent a reflective night sleeping cowboy style under the stars.

Stencil by me
Once in Salta we spent a few days all together, chilling out. I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday with this great group of people i have come to know and adore getting massages, eating sushi and sharing drinks. At 4am Bianca and I said our goodbyes to the gypsy train crew and hopped on a bus to Lima, sad for goodbyes, but ready to start the next leg of our adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment