Frozen on the inside
I guess you can say it was getting cold
So starting where we left off in San Pedro, the bus ride to Salta was another memorable journey.
We arrived at the bus at 5:30am ready to go, half hour later we were off. The ride up the hill in the dark was a steady one, the temperature gradually dropping the higher we climbed until the windows were frozen on the inside. About an hour in and the sun was rising giving us our first glimpse of the pass, well at least that was through the small section of window that we had managed to scrape clear with a credit card.
The landscape was a beautiful white from all the fresh snow, it made us wonder whether we should of stayed in San Pedro and hired the sandboards and headed out for a bit of off piste action. As we reached the summit of the pass the sun was warming up nicely and the windows were thawing out, it was only then at this point that we could see clearly through the windows at the front. The talk of the snow plough the day before was actually the case, as up ahead of us was the snow plough slowly
Thank you Snow Plough
We heard that the pass was closed from Argentina for a few more days
followed by the police, no wonder it was such a steady ride as the road was blanketed in snow and but for the snow plough we would still have been in San Pedro.
By the time we dropped over the mountains and almost into Argentina the snow was nowhere to be seen and the journey continued uneventfully along through beautiful scenery, the kind you would expect to see in the westerns, all deep rugged valleys, deserts and cacti.
As a result of the snow we were longer than expected, but we weren't complaining at least we had made it to the city of Salta. We headed to our home for the next few days, hostel Salta por siempre, ready for a relaxing evening and a good nights sleep, which for only the second time had Michelle in a top bunk as all the bottom ones were taken. We had an Irishman an Englishman and a Japanese man, John and Rob and we didn't actually see the Japanese guy to get his name. Still John and Rob were heading to where we had just come from so we had plenty of stories and information to exchange. They were also
Crazy Rock Colours
Like them sand bottles you used to see
heading out to Enrique's Gaucho ranch, which we had heard about, for the Horse riding and barbecue. We would've loved to have done likewise but the last time Michelle was on a horse she nearly had an anaphylactic shock, pity, as we heard Enrique is quite the entertainer with excellent food and he never lets your wineglass go dry, confirmed again by John and Rob who had a great day out.
Instead of this we spent the first day exploring the city and found MTB Salta who we heard does a good mountain biking trip up around the hills of the city. Francesco however explained that unfortunately due to a fuel strike in Buenos Aires there was no fuel at the pumps so he could not guarantee the tour, but he could however rent us 2 bikes for half the tour price and we could have them for the day to explore the area. He even showed us the route they usually take. So after another relaxing evening with the fillet steaks we had bought that day and a bottle of the local vino we hit the hay ready for our big day.
It was a beautiful blue
Getting into this bike lark
Who knew it could be so much fun
sky day for our bike ride, so much so it was shorts and t-shirt weather. The ride we were doing was out to San Lorenzo 10km out of town, then through the town and along gravel roads out to Las Costas another 3km along. It was a good ride all slightly uphill, mainly along cycle lanes, and by the time we had reached the pretty square of Las Costas we were well ready for the picnic we had brought along with us.
Just as we were about to head off Francesco turned up with his group, he had managed to get some fuel. Such a nice guy, he came over to make sure we were alright and if we were happy with the bikes then explained to us more about the route we could take up to the hills. From here on it was all pretty much off road taking us up higher to the foot of the lush green hills giving us great views around. After 4 hours we decided we'd better head back whilst we still had the energy, this was a lot easier, pretty much all downhill. Only one pit stop along the way to mend
Even after four hours in the saddle
a puncture...not bad going considering the terrain!!.
For the evening we had signed up for the Hostels Barbecue which was very tasty and just what we needed, great steak and another bottle of the local Cafayate white wine to wash it down with. The following morning we decided we would head out to the Autodromo where we had seen on a poster in town, that there was a Downhill Mountain Bike race going on. We weren't really sure where we were going or the right way but after 2 hours of walking, we thankfully saw the sign and after another 45minutes found the race.
It was a pretty decent standard with local pros taking part, and the drop offs and ramps made for some spectacular riding in the bottom section, including a few nasty looking crashes to boot. After enjoying that we thought it best to take the bus back as we had half an hour before the England quarter final match was due to start. So yet again we found ourself in a bar watching an all to predictable England football match, enough said. With that done we settled in for our last evening in Salta and
DH Salta Drop Off
Some inspiration for the next ride
Michelle cooked up a lovely warming stew to help me with an increasingly worse sore throat i've somehow managed to pick up and to help it along we stuck a bottle of red in it for good measure, we had to ask the lady in the shop a couple of times to make sure we had heard the price right 9 pesos, or in English £1.25, bargain, perfect for cooking!
With a late bus we had a chance to catch up on the blogs and bits and pieces before we headed to the bus station for our next journey, 24 hours on the bus to Iguaza Falls somewhere we can't wait to see, Full Cama all the way.
So Salta was nice, a good little spot to hang out and see some of the countryside, if you like horses, barbecue and wine you have to go to Enriques and if you fancy yourself as a wine buff take the day trip to Cafayate and the vineyards. Or if you just fancy some exercise head to the hills, either way it's worth a stop off.
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