Wine, Hiking, and More Wine

Trip Start Jan 26, 2008
Trip End Mar 22, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, February 23, 2008

   Cafayate, what a beautiful little vineyard town in the mountains. The drive here was amazing, Iīve never seen anything like it. The shapes and the colors of the mountains and rock formations were unbelievable. We got into town around 5 or so and found a decent little campground on the edge of town. The edge of town makes it sound like weīre far away from anything, but the center of town is only a half mile away. Itīs a small town in terms of population, about 15k people. In terms of wine, this place is huge. There are probably about 15 vineyards here, about one vineyard for every thousand people.
  We rented a tandem bike when we got here on Saturday, my first experience on a bicycle built for two. We explored the town for a while, we saw everything there was to see after about 15 minutes. The next day we rented two bikes for the day and rode to a couple of vineyards. We went on a tour at a vineyard called Domingo Hermanos, and I didnīt understand one word the woman said. Marta was my translator though, so I had some idea of what was going on. After that we tasted some wine and cheese, both were amazing.
   After some wine tasting, we took a ride up to the Colorado River because we heard of a waterfall up there. Our bikes were terrible though, the seats were made of rock, only 3 out of my 18 gears worked, the rims were bent. So needless to say, the ride was not an easy one. When we reached the river we learned that we had another 1 hour walk to the waterfall. We decided to just walk up the river a little ways and hang out. I took some pictures while Marta fell asleep next to the river. Before I knew it there were two wild baby cows hanging out next to us. There are so many wild animals here, itīs crazy.  We see cows, horses, sheep, goats, cats, dogs... all kinds of animals just roaming around freely.
   Yesterday we got up at 5 in the morning to go visit the Quilmes Ruins. We had to take an hour bus ride out to basically the middle of nowhere, and then walk another hour. It was still completely dark when we started our walk, and we watched the sunrise from the ruins. I have never seen anything like this place. The ruins date back to 1000 AD and housed up to 5,000 people. The big talk is about Macchu Piccu, but thousands of people flood that place because itīs such a huge tourist attraction. At the Quilmes Ruins, there were only two other people in the whole place. We didnīt see them the entire time because we hiked to the top of the hill to see the ruins from above. Basically, we had the place to ourselves.
   After we got back we checked out a couple more vineyards. It was really cool to walk around a winery and see the cellar with wine being held in big wooden barrels and the wine being bottled. We tasted a few different kinds and bought a bottle of wine for 11 pesos. We went back to the campground and enjoyed our $4 bottle of wine straight from the vineyard.
   Oh god, lost track of time. Our bus leaves in an hour and we still have to go back and pack up camp and walk to the bus station. Weīre headed South to Mendoza. From there... weīre not really sure. West into Chile? South towards Patagonia? Only time will tell...
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