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Adiós, Argentina!

I have now reached Jujuy, the northernmost province of Argentina, and it is with mixed feelings that I soon leave this amazing country behind! This place has one of the most varied landscapes that I’ve ever seen. From the untouched wilderness of Tierra del Fuego, to blue Patagonian glaciers, transparent trout rivers, arid steppe filled with fossils, pretty wineyards, snow-capped volcanoes and humid cloudforests – it’s so diverse! Not to mention the friendly people, always willing to share a mate or asado with you! And the ice-cream…you simply have to come here and try it yourself!

Donkey

Drying pepper

Che Guevara

When I came to Cafayate, Argentinas second largest wine region, I met up with Jenny & Jason from the UK again! They were travelling with Michele & Dominique from South Africa but we had different routes planned before Salta. I continued through Quebrada de las Conchas on road 68 and saw beautiful stone formations in all colors of red. One night, I camped inside a natural amphitheatre which was a cool experience! The sound of my harmonica echoed through the night…

Camping in a natural amphitheatre

Quebrada de las Conchas

The next day, it rained for the first time in over 3 months! It was a weird feeling and I thought I was going to appreciate it for a change but I didn’t. Later the same day, I went to an Internet café in a small village to check some stuff, but only the local network was working. Instead, I ended up playing Counter Strike with a bunch of local guys – what a nostalgia! It must have been 10 years ago or something, haha! Quite surprisingly, I actually won. Sueco Loco – Argentinos, 1-0, YES!

When I got to Salta, I found the same hostel which I stayed at 4 years ago, but I couldn’t recall that there were so many hippies! The other guys arrived some days after me since they went via Cachi. As I mentioned in the last post, I was thinking about doing the “laguna route” into Bolivia. Jason had a contract starting in June so he went back to London, while the others, just like me, were very eager to do this route! I ended up staying 10 nights in Salta because we had to prepare and buy a lot of things and many shops were closed due to 25 de Mayo, a kind of indepence day here in Argentina.

25 de Mayo, Salta

Last dinner in Salta

I sent back a package with 2 kg of things that I did not use or found unnecessary. I probably threw away 1 kg as well, and the boots that I used for trekking at Cerro Olivares got a new and happy owner. I bought a great down jacket and down gloves (with Windstopper) from the local brand Ansilta to prepare for the cold altiplano, so it feels good to know that I will be able to sleep even if it gets down to -20 C at night.

We have been counting calories and trying to find the most energy-vs-weight-efficient food. I made a 4-kg mix of walnuts, almonds, cashewnuts, peanuts and raisins (around 20,000 calories!) just for snack. I’ll also bring quinoa, pasta, oats and tuna/sausages. We will carry a maximum of 9 days of food supply, and around 13 l of water on the longest parts.

Michele & Dominique are close to the end of their trip and decided in the last minute not to join, so now it’s me and Jenny that will continue together. This will definitely be the toughest part of my trip but I’m looking forward to it a lot! We are now in Purmamarca at 2,194 m, and will climb to 4,100 and then probably have a day off in Susques to rest and acclimatize. Then it’s 3 more days to the border at Paso de Jama (4,400 m) where we will enter Chile and have a 2-3 day ride until we reach the Bolivian border crossing at Laguna Verde. That’s the start of the laguna route, and further on we will then cross the world’s biggest salt flat Salar de Uyuni. I won’t have access to Internet for about 3 weeks from now, but if the connection is good I will make another post when I reach Uyuni.

Moonset

Adiós, Argentina!