09/06/05 - 12/06/05

Trip Start Apr 22, 2005
Trip End Aug 12, 2005

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, June 9, 2005

I wasnīt even going to stop here as the guide books didnīt make it sound that good but Iīm really glad I did, it is possibly my favorite place so far. It is a tiny little place in the mountains with only one main road but the weather was fantastic - clear blue skies and warm during the day and only a little cold at night.

As it is the off season there were hardly any gringos (about 5 including me) and the little hostel I stayed in I was the only guest! The owners were a really nice young couple who helped to organise activities and let me practice my Spanish on them (even though they spoke excellent English).

I went horse riding one morning (the ownerīs name was Jeronimo!) which was fun and also "interesting". They had assured me that my horse was quiet and sure enough right up until we were heading back it was so quiet that I had been attempting to make it go faster but it was ignoring me. That is until we were at the top of a reasonably steep hill and it decided that rather than follow the path, it would prefer to go down a 45 odd degree incline. The guide then began telling me to do something (in Spanish) and having not covered the "how to follow instructions when your horse is playing up" part of the course whilst in Quito, I had no idea what he was saying. So, I attempted to steer the damn thing back onto the path. This was evidently not the right thing to do as the horse ignored me and began to canter towards the edge of the hill. At this point the guide rode over, took the reigns and tried to pull it back. Again, the horse wasnīt having any of it and started galloping off in the other direction, with me clinging to the saddle for dear life and the guide shouting instructions, still holding the reigns. He then dropped them (I believe that he had been shouting for me to take them back) and I and the horse ran down the hill where the bloody thing stopped at an enclosure where there were other horses. It had tried to kill me in order to go and socialise! It then resumed itīs ambling pace back to the stable. The bastard.

I also visited a place called Cafayate which is a big wine growing region (but a tiny town). Though due to the strange bus timetable I only spent 4 hours there (and 8 hours getting there and back!). I refrained from drinking wine that early in the day but they have a place that makes white wine ice cream which I had to try as they only make it there.

I had to stop off in another small place called Santa Maria on the way back and wait 2 hours for my bus so I decided to go into the town to get some water. Iīve been in some untouristy places but I was expecting someone to come up to me at any time there and say īthis is a local place for local people, thereīs nothing for you hereī!! I donīt think they get many visitors!

I also got to practice my Spanish as I met an Argentine man who could speak some English so I spent the bus journey talking to him in Spanish whilst he replied in English!

North West Argentina is a really nice part of the country and I would definitely recommend it to anyone if you pass through- the people are really nice and not one laughed at my terrible Spanish. In fact, most of them seemed to understand it!!

I then returned to Tucuman to watch the Grand Prix (Kimi is the best!) and get on yet another 12 hour bus for Mendoza.
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