We’re 200 km and 2 days into the trip (3 counting our rest day here in Cafayate). We left Salta, traveling south on route 68, past dusty little towns selling coca leaves and empanadas. Pedaling through the Quedabra de Conchas, a canyon of wind sculpted rock formations and red earth, we saw nothing but a few adobe shacks selling artisania (the local artisan crafts) and more empanadas. They seem to be the only type of food in this part of Argentina and after eating them nonstop for 3 days, we need a break. Actually I think the breaking point was last night’s dinner when I accidentally ordered twelve. Not ideal. But the canyon provided a constantly changing landscape, from steep shrub covered hillsides to towering desert walls – and a few llamas (or they might have been alpacas).
At La Vina we met a Swiss couple from Berne who were biking from Bolivia down to Santiago, Chile. Alex named them Franz and Hans (I’m not sure which was referring to the husband and which to the wife). After trying to match their blistering pace for an hour, we gave up and stopped to take pictures. Oh and they were about 65. Maybe older. And they told us our route over Andes is the “easy” way, despite being over 4,000 m at the top of the pass.
We’ve spent the day resting at a hostel in Cafayate, the center of Argentina’s second largest wine producing region. We visited two different Bodegas (vinyards) for some wine tours and tastings. The region is known for its Torrontes, a white wine, but we can’t say much more than that because all the tours were in Spanish.
Tomorrow we start on the infamous Ruta 40, a highway running the entire length of Argentina.