We left Tupiza at 14.30 and arrived in Salta (Argentina) the following day at 9:00. Crossing the border was easy, despite the heavy rain announcing the beginning of the rainy season, but the bus-ride was a real nightmare. Apparently, this it the main route for drugs to be taken from Bolivia into Argentina and we had to cope with several police checks in the middle of the night. Every two hours or so, they'd wake us up and make us get off the bus with all our pieces of luggage and women and men would be put in separate rooms so they could freeze to death for the following hour while they were checking all our things. Anyway, we made it to Salta, found a very nice hostel and went straight to bed with a smile on our faces because "hot water" actually means hot water in Argentina and we had just had the shower of our lives.
Walking around Salta is pretty much like walking around any European medium-sized city, so we almost felt like we were taking a day off from traveling.
The following day, when we had fully recovered from that nightmarish bus-ride to Salta, we took a four-hour ride to Cafayate, where we immediately felt at home. Such a lovely town! We found the nicest of hostels in a colonial house with a patio full of geraniums. We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw that we actually had a bath-tube in our room!!! Of course, having a bath turned out to be the first thing in our agenda (tasting the local wine for which Cafayate is famous was second on the list). We had the loveliest of dinners with "cabrito al horno" and red wine. It had been a long time without these luxuries and we have to admit we were slightly tipsy on our way back to the hostel.
Our next day in Cafayate was beautiful, to say the least. We spent the morning wine-tasting (degustando vinos), had a lovely meal with Roberto in the local market (an Italian fireman from Venezia) and spent the afternoon visiting the Quebrada de las Conchas and its gorgeous reddish rock formations with shades of redcombined so beautifully that the human mind wouldn't have done it better. We had the very valuable company of Sergio, our guide (and Eulogia, his dog and assistant), who sang three songs for us while playing his acoustic guitar in El Anfiteatro giving us goose-pimples. It was magical!
We love Argentina, looks like this next month is going to be amazing. We are so happy!!! Wishing this year would never come to an end...
Idoia & Mikel.