Its about noon, more then 30 dregres, intense sun and a light wind, which will get stronger over the day. I’m sitting in a fancy bar next to the lake of Rodeo in Argentina, with an amazing landscape around me, the green water with the snowy andes in the background – I feel ready for Christmas surfing. Today and tomorrow I will spent the days here, away from the stress of the cities, where people try to get their last presents for family, friends and relatives, apart from cold temperatures (although this year seems to be the warmest ever due to global warming) and without any rain. I have some days off of cycling and I’m happy to practice some windsurfing!
Looking back, the time between Salta and here were full of ups and downs, and I’m not just referring to my paths on the road, but also to tasks, which had to be solved.
One thing which occupied me was that I was running out of money, because my credit card was not working at the ATMs nor was it possible to pay with my VISA. But as I got to know during my travel: There will always be a solution as long as you believe in it. And so there was. After over a day of trying to find a solution, I finally got the proposal to try a western union transfer. I registered in the internet, transfered money, received the money in the local post office, so that finally I could rent the surf equipment.
Some days before at the bus terminal in Tucuman, people tried to steel stuff from my bag at the handlebar, but I noticed early so that nothing was stolen and the thieves left.
The third bad thing that happend, was the transport of my bicycle: I bought a ticket and asked for a transport possibility of my bike. It was confirmed by the ticket seller but the bus driver declined, so that I was not allowed to take that bus. I changed my ticket, was told that this time my bike could go with the bus, but at 12:30 in the night there was again no space for my bike in the bus. So I spent hours of waiting in that bus terminal with the result that I had to find a hostel in the middle of the night. The next day I discussed with the people from the bus company andesmar, who were not willing to give me back my money! I was forced to wait until 5 oclock at the next day, when the shift of the guy started, who had sold me the ticket. Luckily he gave me back my money and I was able to find another company, where the bus driver was ok with the transport of my bicycle.
Very energy-sapping all the discussions, the waiting and hoping of a working transport. Traveling with the bus in Argentina is definitely not fun with a bike.
But travelling with the bike in the north of Argentina is definitely fun. From Salta I decided to take the road to Cafayate via Cachi, where I crossed a beautiful valley which went up 2200 meters to a pass where there is the entrance to the national park Los Cardones. I nearly ran over a snake, a kind of dear crossed my path and the mountains were primped in different colours and huge cactuses again.
The second day I met up with Arved, a german traveller on his motorbike, who I already had met in Salta. The last few kilometers up the hill he was pulling me up the mountain. We camped next to the laguna Brealito, had a swim in the lake while the last rays of the sun shine on the water, made a campfire and enjoyed the calmness of this place as well as the amazing ceiling with all its stars.
On that altitude at that season the climate is dry and hot, so that my throat needed some water every few kilometers. On top of the heath the road from Cachi to San Carlos was not paved and offered a lot of unpleasant washboard. When I was back on the tarmac, a sea of white butterflies welcomed me and before I arrived in Cafayate I visited a vineyard and bought a bottle of white wine, which I shared with Arved in a hostel in Cafayate.
From there we went to a canyon, close to the town, which we crossed half climbing half walking. Some goats showed us there climbing abilities, before we arrived at a first waterfall, where we jumped into the refreshing water!
I left Cafayate with the bus, due to several narrations that the part down to Mendoza is not that interesting and to have more time in Patagonia. The bus story is already told and I was very relieved when I was finally in the bus to San Juan.
I want to cross the Paso Aqua Negra, so I headed north to San José de Jachal. The path trough another beautiful valley to Rodeo was just a half day trip and so I arrived in the calm village about noon.
I got to now some nice people which whom I spent some time with. Slackline, soccer, reading, hanging around and the my issue with the money dominated my last few days!
Today 8 months of my travel have already passed! Time pass by very fast and this year was definitely the one I experienced a lot, met awesome people, saw beautiful places. But still I miss Germany sometimes, my family and my friends. Have some happy christmas days, enjoy the atmosphere, take your times to relax and reflect. I’m looking forward to see some of you next year!