Horses, Rafting, Steak and Wine... Hello Argentina
Trip Start Sep 22, 2011
83Trip End Aug 11, 2012
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Leaving Bolivia involved a couple of hours of yet more dirt track roads until finally we reached the boarder. The crossing was slow and uneventful and once into our new country the roads were the first highlight... tarmac!!
After an hour or so driving we were told that we had just crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and shortly after we reached our lunch stop, which was marked by a giant stone llama. It wasn't an intentional stopping point, but how can you ignore a thirty foot llama? The llama was actually the entrance to an awesome pottery and souvenir shop where Alex couldn't help herself and picked up a bracelet. I was tempted by the stone pint mugs but held off after considering the weight implications
We arrived in Salta late afternoon and split off into our dorms. I´m in a six bed dorm with Alex and the girls. The boy-girl ration was a bit off but it was fine and just meant I had to go find something else to do or sit facing the wall when they needed to change. We´re all good enough friends now that they don´t mind sharing with a boy.
For our first night in Salta we had a brief tour around the city and went for dinner at a beautiful Argentinian restaurant. The city was very modern and we felt like we could have been anywhere back in Europe. Both the city and the restaurant were such a contrast to the place we'd been on our last night in Bolivia. Unfortunately though I was very sure that our meal wasn't going to cost £1.50 anymore.
When in Argentina I am fully aware that one is to try the steak, so for dinner me, Lachi and Amy shared a parrilla, which is basically a mixed grill, Argentina style. It came on a hot plate, with hot charcoal underneath and was piled high with different cuts of steaks, sausages, black pudding and a cut of offal. I tried the offal but wasn't keen, so I just ate the rest, which was stunning! I ate far too much. Monday night was also Lachi´s birthday and so after dinner Claire and Dave took us on a long walk across town to the area with all the bars. Eventually we found a place and had a couple of beers to get us in the mood for a little more karaoke. Alex and Ali sang Journey - Don´t Stop Believing, whilst Jill provided the backing dance (she had lost her voice). Lachi then sang a few properly before me and him sang a beautiful rendition of Land Down Under.
On Tuesday morning we set out to the Sayta Ranch for a spot of horse riding
The tour on the horses lasted around three hours and the scenery we passed through was beautiful, with mountains on one side and fields and trees on the other. At one point we stopped and were allowed to try cantering. We did two runs with the guide along side us on the first and then on our own for the second. I focused all my effort on holding onto the saddle as my horse did the hard part, but it seemed very quick and was awesome fun. By the end of the tour I had decided that I like horse riding, but we'll see whether I do it again or not
I thoroughly enjoyed the horse riding, but what came next was truly my favorite part of the day. Once back at the ranch we sat out in the garden and we supplied with some beautiful red wine. We sat here and had a glass or so whilst building up an appetite with the smells of the BBQ drifting over. Finally though we were called to the table and presented with a stunning spread of food, and that was just the side dishes. There was roasted pumpkin, salad, herbie aubergine, potatoes, sweet potato, corn, and plenty more. These were delicious in the their own right, but then came the good stuff. First there were some very meaty sausages and black pudding and these we followed by huge cuts of perfectly cooked fillet steak. Seriously, they were amazing. And what´s more, it just kept on coming, I think I had at least four steaks. Whilst all this was going on we realised that the wine kept on flowing too, and no one ever saw their glass empty before it was topped up again. We were all very happy customers. I know that I´m waxing lyrical about this place, but it is definitely up there as one of my highlights of our trip so far. Needless to say, everyone was reluctant to leave Sayta Ranch, but I´m pretty sure everyone did with a big red wine grin on their faces.
Wednesday morning everybody woke up a little subdued, but nevertheless we were up and out on Jack and heading to the Salta Rafting resort for a day of adrenaline filled fun
Once back on dry land we were herded onto a bus, given coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate biscuits and driven back to base for a BBQ lunch. Unfortunately the BBQ wasn´t as good as yesterday´s, but i still managed to eat far too much red meat. Does anyone know how to look out for symptoms of gout?
After lunch there wasn´t much time to relax before getting kitted up for the canopy zip-lining. Directly above the campsite were four long zip lines that stretched from one side of the valley to the other. The final line finished about 50 yards from our tents, but first we had a 20 minutes hike up the side of the valley to reach the starting point. The harnesses are fitted with a wheel the supports you on the wires from your stomach area, so that when you´re hanging you´re in a sitting position. Your left or right arm then grips the wire (we had reinforced gloves) to keep you going straight and once you were sat in position they gave you a push and off you went. There were a few nervous faces in the group but no screams as they were pushed off the edge, not even from me
After all the excitement in the day, the evening was pretty chilled out. Most people sat about reading or chatting, but a few of us got together a game of touch rugby with a very flat American football. It did the job of tiring us out though. The truck dinner was pretty simple and the rest of the evening involved a few beers and a camp fire, perfect!
Tomorrow we are off to Cafayate, which apparently has some incredible vineyards and wines to view and taste... oh go on then!
Hope you´re all well and enjoying the blogs. More updates coming soon.
Missing you all,
Love us two