Just a bit further, and now just a little more.

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, January 7, 2006

I got the early morning bus as planned and even managed to have a bit of a snooze despite the hairpin turns that the bus had to negotiate. I woke up long enough to see us passing through Tafi De Valle basking in glorious sunshine, lucky me.

I didn´t get to Cafeyate until mid-afternoon, it turned out to be quite a journey in the end. It´s a great little town with a beautiful square in the middle. Since it´s the height of the Argentinian summer holidays accomodation was hard to find and since I was looking on my own it was made even harder. Eventually I found a little cupboard that an old woman was renting out and I settled in.

The sad thing about it being the summer holidays was that it was hard to find other non-argentine tourists. The Argies weren´t interested in hanging around with me because they already had their little group of friends and they didn´t want a foriegner constantly saying "¿Qué?", "¿Puedes Repitir?", and so on. This meant that I ended up spending most of the time on my own around here.

I did find a fantastic little ice cream shop called Mirandes. They served all manners of ice cream, including Cactus, white wine and red wine flavour. I can recommend them all, they were great and I´d make a point of visiting the woman there everyday. She was incredibly proud of her empire and was quick to point out the others had tried to copy her recipies but had failed and that this shop was the original producer of wine ice cream. Fair enough.

After doing a bit of research by reading other people´s travelpods I found out that there is a great bike ride that you can do. It involves renting a bike, catching the 5am bus (Yes, the FIVE O´clock in the morning bus) getting dropped off 50 Km from town and riding back. Sign me up for that one I thought in a moment of foolishness.

I managed to get my bike from the only place in town that actually rented decent bikes with gears and went for it. When I got up in the morning my stomach felt a little queezy, I put this down to the fact that it was still the middle of the night and continued with my plan. It turned out that there were two other tourists with bikes catching this bus, a couple from Buenas Aires, and it wasn´t long before I was talking to them saying things like "¿Qué?" and "¿Puedes Repitir?". Ohh the fun we had!

We were dropped off at the designated spot and waited for the sun rise together, which incidently the literal translation from Spanish to English is "The exit of the sun", no mate, you´ve got that the wrong way round, the sun´s arriving! We explored "The Devil's Throat" here, a couple of photos as a memento and we were off. We weren't exactly communicating very efficiently so I left them to it and sped off ahead. I have to say that the ride was fantastic, really beutiful with the sun slowly getting higher over the valley. I stopped for a little light breakfast but I couldn't eat much as my stomach was complaining.

As the morning continued on I found it harder and harder to keep going. I set myself targets of 10Km each time and refused to stop until I got there, this kind of took the fun out of the day but I was beginning to think I'd made a real mistake here. My 2 litre bottle of water started to run low and the bike seat was killing me. As the day got hotter it got worse and worse, there was definetly something wrong with my stomach and my stops became more regular at 5Km interval and then 3Km. With road side markings every 1Km I was able to gauge my progress exactly and with 3Km to go I decided to finish the remaining dribble of water in my bottle. I got on my bike for the final assault and peddled like an old man back towards Cafayate. 3Km, 2Km, 1Km, 0Km. Where am I? I'm on the edge of town and still have to get to the centre. It was horrible, little girls on tricycles would pass me with ease and it took all my effort to stay upright.

I rode straight back to the bike rental place, gave them their bike back, scoffed heaps of water and went back to bed. It turned out that I really was ill and once I got something in my stomach I discovered that it didn't want to stay there. I ended up staying in bed for the next 24 hours wondering where it'd all gone wrong. I decided to leave Cafayate once I was better and so a couple of days later I was catching the 9am bus to Salta. I saw a guy with a bike that was obviously going out to do the same bike ride as I had done. I checked that he had enough water and then wished him luck for his journey, poor sod. He did give me a gem of a piece of information in that Boca Juniors were playing in Salta in two days time, now that's a football team I'd love to see....
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