Atacama to Argentina
Trip Start Mar 18, 2008
23Trip End Ongoing
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The Atacama Desert has a reputation as a great place for star-gazing so we signed up to spend an evening with an eccentric French astronomer, who shares his six huge telescopes to allow you to see Jupiter, galaxies that the naked eye canīt see and a host of other wonders of the sky
After just three days in Chile, we ventured into Northern Argentina to a town called Salta. We arrived on the bus around 10pm and promptly were told that Argentina would be playing Nigeria for the soccer gold medal in the Olympics. So our first experience in a new country was cheering on the local team in a pub until 3am in the morning. Late start the next morning. Salta has a very European feel and we spent much of the day at cafes on the plaza and in a park overlooking the town, which we accessed via a cable car.
A long day trip from Salta took us into the surrounding mountains, which are full of minerals which īstainī the hills in the most impressive array of colour. We visited a town called Pumamarca, at the base of the īmountain of seven coloursī, each representing a different type of mineral. There were also salt flats (nothing as impressive as Uyuni) and small villages with handicraft markets.
Our next stop was Cafayate, the centre of Northern Argentinaīs wine country. The town is small and tranquil, which means there isnīt much to do except sample the local wine and cheese. We did this every day, without fail, although we justified the quantity of wine we drank by walking to the local vineyards (some as much as 3km from town!!!) and also taking a hike one afternoon into a canyon full of cactii and goats. After three days of wine tasting at bodegas (cellars), eating too much and generally being lazy, we are moving on.
Having now spent a week and a half in Argentina, thereīs some things which have become evident and which we really like - the steaks are enormous and must be the best tasting in the world; if you donīt feel up to red meat, empanadas (little doughy things with all sorts of tasty fillings) are just as tasty; the wine is plentiful and even nice bottles are cheap ($5 for a goodie); you can eat anything you want without getting the runs (this might sound strange, but we havenīt been crook once since we left Bolivia!) and the people go out of their way to make sure you love Argentina. Canīt say a bad word about the place....