A backpacker to the clouds
Salta Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
January 11th, 2008 – by: wvijvers
After an intense two weeks of travelling I've now arrived in Malargue, already one of the last stops on my trip. Non-functional computers, slow internet connections, power outages during blog-writing and generally action-packed days have made it a bit more challenging than expected to keep this blog up-to-date. I'm writing this on wednesday the 23rd, but I will backdate the coming few blogs to the date I was there. Let's hope I still remember everything!
Let me start were I left off: Salta. After another 12 hour overnight busride, I arrived in this beautiful capital of the Salta province on friday.
The minibus left the hostel at 7 am, meaning another short night. The first leg of the trip was among the route of the "Tren a las Nubes", aka Train to the Clouds. This is apparently one of the favourites of train-enthousiasts everywere. It goes up 2 km from Salta to the altiplano with many hairpin turns and high bridges. After lunch in a small miners town on the altiplano, we set out for the salt flats via the RN40. The RN40 is a 4500 km road that goes all the way from the Bolivian border to the south of Patagonia.
For me, this tour was mostly about the busride there, going up 2 km over a distance of 20 km on a dirt road with many hairpin turns. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't so great so the whole ride up we were in the clouds (literally). The only upside was that I could add a few hours to the 1.5 hours of sleep I had had before. Up on the altiplano we first visited the park Los Cardones. Cardones are cacti, so you might imagine what this park is about: thousands upon thousands of cacti for as far as the eye can see. Pretty special. The tour ended in a tiny town called Cachi. Very beautiful and peaceful, but not much to do (not that that is a problem).
The next day was again one with a lot of hours in the bus. I wanted to reach the city Tucuman by the end of the day, but instead of taking the boring route over the highway I decided to take a detour via Cafayate. The busride there was absolutely amazing. Again many multi-colored mountains and ever-changing landscapes. Cafayate is a nice and touristy town in the middle of wine-country. Since I had a few hours to kill there, I went and did some mountainbiking. The guy at the rental shop recommended me going to a town further down the road, where apparently the view would be really beautiful. I never got to find out, because the 25 km ride there in the burning sun without any shade over a dusty highway while you seriously sleep-deprived and suffering from a cold, turned out to be a bit too much. I just turned around after the first icecream shop (13 km away) and went back over the same aweful road (which was again the RN40, BTW). After another 6 hour busride I finally arrived at the next stop: Tucuman! Time for the next blog entry...
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