Monday, 15 December 2014

0170 Cafayate to Salicas

10th Dec

We had had an excellent 2 days in Cafayate, a great little town.  If we were not rushing to Santiago could have easily spent a couple more days here.  We packed up and got ready to leave, but I then got hung up on the internet.  For some reason, every time I log on to various email or internet programmes I get emails from both Google and Microsoft telling me there has been a suspicion log on to my account in XYZ city in Peru / Ecuador / Chile / Argentina etc and my account has been frozen and I need to go in and confirm the activity is mine.  This has become an absolute PITA because usually I cannot log on because my account is frozen, and it becomes a game of passwords and access codes !  You would think that by now, after 8 months, these supposedly smart people / computer systems would have put 2 and 2 together and realised that I am actually travelling through all these countries !  Of course there is no email address you can contact these stupid people on directly – I have tried leaving messages all to no avail.  I would SO love to meet someone from Google and / or Miscrosoft so I could bend their ear a little – It is SO annoying when you are travelling to keep having your accounts suspended for absolutely no reason.

Rant over - Sorry ! Anyway, by the time I had sorted the computer world out, I quickly went to fill the car’s drinking water tank with water before we set off – Only to find that the pressure was down and water was coming out of the hose at about 10 ml per minute !!  So about an hour later, I was fit to be tied before we finally got on the road !  Then it was a mad dash into town to pick up the laundry we had dropped off yesterday before the Lavanderia closed for its long afternoon siesta !!  First thing to go right today – We got our laundry !!

Then it was off out of town, heading south on Ruta 40, past lots of impressive wineries, and acres and acres of both vineyards and olive groves.  We didn’t go in to do any tasting because over here you have to pay to go in, and then only get 3 small tastes – And as we have no room to put wine (well, I can stock 3 bottles !) we could not buy any, so not much point, really.  I prefer to go to a winery for lunch and enjoy the whole thing with a whole bottle (or two) instead of standing at a bar being given 3 pathetic sized little samples !!

Anyway, bombing down the road, we took a short cut around Quilmes and had a section of dirt road through a bunch of delightful little villages.  One of the biggest pleasures on this trip in our own car is being able to go through a lot of the little villages that the main road often detours around, and seeing their (usually beautiful) central squares, and stopping when you see a promising panaderia, empanada(orium), or even a little coffee shop.  This closer contact with the villagers is one of the true pleasures of this trip – Most of the people wave or hola, and with some of the older people sitting outside on their porches, their whole face lights up when we wave, and they wave back with a big smile. 

We then had several dirt desvios (detours) where they were building a number of bridges over rivers. In this case, as there were no bridges ready, we had to ford several of the rivers – Fortunately not too deep, and it served to wash some of the mud and dust off the underneath of the car !

As usual, we were continually passing through scenic gorges and incredible rock formations, alternating with open desert-like plains. After a while it all becomes so “normal”, but it really is a pleasure driving through this countryside.  By about 5.30 we were starting to look for somewhere to stop, and were thinking we might have to free camp somewhere as nothing was a
round.  Then suddenly, right there on the road, was a great big “Camping” sign  - We couldn’t believe our luck – Just at the right time.   So we drove down this little dirt lane and found this great little farmyard with ducks and pigs and cows, and as soon as we parked, a guy came over with his son and welcomed us.  We had a lot of trouble with his rapid Spanish, but basically he runs some kind
of Educational Foundation for the local kids to support their regular (and apparently not always adequate) schooling.  His whole area was set up as an adventure and learning environment for kids – Very rural and rustic, but I bet the kids love it.  Anyway, he showed us around, where the (hot) showers and banos were, and where we could cook if we wanted, or go for a dip in a thermal pool if we felt the urge.  Eventually we got away and after a quick meal were in bed – Accompanied by the LOUDEST cicadas I have ever heard.  I actually had to turn my hearing aids off because the cicadas were making them screech !!  Once they were out, I couldn’t hear a thing and slept like a log !!

Photos are here :-

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