Quebrada de Cafayete
26.02.2011 - 27.02.2011
Argentina is vast and that means many bus rides for many hours just to travel a piece of the North West. The views are stunning and the roads teeter on the edge of mountains constantly battered by the changing weather conditions. These nail biting, photogenic jounreys pass by swiftly. We have so far moved from Mendoza through to Tafi del valle and on to Cafayate. Tafi Del Valle is 2000 or so meters above sea level and is a very traditional village surrounded by lush green mountains. Its a place very popular with rich Argentines, who come here for shopping and trekking so meals and atrisan items command a price. Our spanish wasn´t quite up to scratch to figure out exactly what there was to do there - the lady at our rustic hostel gave us a trekking map and I understood that there one route that went to a lake and one route was not recommended. As we couldn´t work out which one was which we settled for catching up on the blog. It was raining heavily anyway... After one night we moved on to Cafayate, another region famed for wine and cheese.
We are once again staying at a lovely hostel (did I mention Chimbas Hostel in Mendoza? Lovely courtyard and rooms and BBQ). This is similar (Rusty-Ks Hostal) a big courtyard with vines hanging over the seating areas, a large BBQ area and well decorated rooms - all in traditonal Argentine style. There are rooms dotted around the courtyard which look really cosy, they have their own bathroom etc, we move into one of those today. Yesterday we managed to organise a tour to ´Quebrada de Cafayete´in English with a guy from the hostel. Quebradar literally means "to break" and the Quebrada is a huge canyon just a few Kms from the town. There´s cacti everywhere and everything turns suddenly dessert like and gargantuous. Wandering and clambering through the canyon we saw lizards, dung beetles and stick insects. The rocks are shaped like different things, a toad, a monk and a train. We climbed to a peak for an amazing view of the surrounding canyon, one of those typical travelling photos: 2 people standing on a peak up high with nothing for miles and miles but desert and red rock. I´m glad we got that shot.
As we walked around our proud guide kept asking us if we liked his country, his tour, the canyon, we nodded a lot and answered very postively in our best spanglish. At one point I told him the place made me feel very small. ´Yes,´ he replied, ´You are nothing in this world´. Looking around at these ancient structures, grown over millions of years without any heed or need of me, I had to agree; he had a point.