Wine Sampling

Trip Start Oct 03, 2006
Trip End Oct 02, 2007

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Where I stayed
Hotel Balcon

Flag of Argentina  ,
Monday, November 6, 2006

Cafayate is a very small town, quiet and peaceful (with the exception to my first night when there appeared to be a discotec going on under my window). Going on a recommendation from a fellow traveller I ended up staying in Hotel Balcon, a family run hotel which always seemed to have a woman breast feeding at the reception. The hotel was equipped with a large kitchen and a balcony, a great place to relax and soak up the sun. I also enjoyed being a part of a family atmosphere.

Wine & Cheese Tour

My first morning in Cafayate was spent on a wine and cheese tour. Straight after breakfast a trip to the bodegas! At the first bodega we were given a guided tour and an explanation on how the wine gets produced, this was naturally followed by samples. After this we got straight down to business at the 2nd then 3rd bodega and just drank! Needless to say you began to feel the effects of numerous samples of wine, or a relativly empty stomach. It was an ideal tour as I was accompanied by my French room mate, Miguel, who gave plenty of advice and tips about wine etiquette. Our tour never concluded with any cheese tasting, I think we had used up all our allocated time in the bodegas! To end the day we purchased a bottle of plonk (one previously sampled on the tour so we knew it was a good wine!) We purcahsed the wine from a supermarket opposite our hostel, in retrospect I think having had so much time invested in us at the bodegas we really ought to have purchased it from there!

Around the town there are acres and acres of vineyards. With a rented bike I cycled to a reserve not far but on a difficult terrain and all up a steady hill which made the cycle challenging in the mid day heat. Cycling back I realised that we had cycled all up hill. Cycling back down hill was difficult to keep a hold of the handle bars as your arms and body vibrated due to the roads surface. The ride back was effortless (with the exception of trying to stay on the bike) and great fun. Although the bike did feel like at any moment all the nuts and bolts would come undone like a comedy sketch where you'd be left cycling thin air.

My second full day in Cafayate I signed up for the Quebrada de Cafaye tour. An afternoon in dessert land. When the wind blew you had to turn against it, as the sand whirled around as it hit your bare skin it was quite painful as you had lots of tiny grains of sand whipping your legs. Still the scenery was breath taking and the tour one well recommended. The mountains and rock formations providing countless colours it was a stunning contrast with the dessert land and vegetation. There where dry wood bushes that were luminous green in colour, a scenery that when faced with it was hard not to get trigger happy with the camera.

Cafayate is a lovely town, which offers great sceneries a great place to explore on bike and for me it offered my first taste and experence of an Argentinian steak!! A portion that should definatly be shared! I had to seek help from the street dogs to finish, as I did not want to send a plate back that looked like it had not been touched!
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