It seemed as if somebody threw some buckets of colours over the mountains in the north of Argentina. Amazing face of the world, unbelivable composition. After some relaxing days in San Pedro de Atacama I found my way to country number 8 on my way down south in Latino America. A lonesome region on high altitude, a dry desert, lagunes and salt lakes, decorated with vicuñas, wild donkeys and Llamas. But this time I could lift my eyes and observe my surroundings more than on the Lagune route in the south of Bolivia, cause this time the road was paved and so my joints and my affected but we’re happy to recover a bit more.
From San Pedro I hitchhiked the 2000 meter uphill until the point I came from Bolivia, a truck from Paraguay gave me a lift and so I found my bike inbetween cars, which are transported from Iquique at the coast of Chile to Paraguay. Heaps of these trucks drive this 2000 kilometers way several times a month.
So I was on 4600 meters of altitude again to start my way through the desert on the so called ruta del desierto. The wind was already there but this time it was pushing me into the land. Due to the advanced day I searched a shelter after a few kilometers in this impressive landscape, which appeared to be like in the mars or moon. Next to a lagune with some ducks a found a small wall which served as a shelter. The night was bitter cold, so that my water in the bottles were totally frozen and I also felt a bit cold for the first time on my travel.
On day 2 the landscape presented me rock constellation, more lagunes and after I arrived the highest point of Paso Jama on over 4800m it started to go down. Finally I arrived Argentina and although officers at the border worked slowly like rusty trains, everything went without any problems. Looking on a map I realized that I had wrong distance kilometers in my mind and so I augmented the daily kilometers to reach Purmamarca within 4 days. At the Laguna Ana I found an old bus behind a small hill. I felt like in „into the wild“ and also the interior was not as comfortable as in movie I decided to camp inside this rusty vehicle.
The first little village I arrived was Susques. A calm place were I could by some fruits and chocolate to get some power for the next kilometres. I went up some hundred meters before I went down a beautiful valley with cactuses and weird rock formations. It felt like in the wild west. Some kilometers further the valley opened for the great plain with the Salinas Grandes. But before I entered it, I set up my tent next to an abandoned house. From there I could observe a rising thunderstorm, which arose to an enormous spectacle during the night, the beautiful ceiling full of stars with a play of lightnings at the horizon in the distance.
Through the plain to the Salinas Grandes and up another 700 meters to the top of the last big mountain, I had my first lunch in Argentina: A small empanada de queso, humanitas and for dessert goat cheese with cane honey. The last ascent was quite tiring but the way down on the other side a real pleasure. The next valley was amazing. First of all the canyon and more cactuses. And at the end, the colourful mountains round me. Blue, red, white, orange, black, I couldn’t stop to marvel.
Finally I arrived Purmamarca. The evening I spent with a guy from Buenas Aires, we had some beer, shared a pizza before we had a red wine from Mendoza with some cheese back in the hostal. The next morning I had a walk inside thesencolourful mountains.
When I went down to San Salvador de Jujuy, the landscape changed a lot. More and more plants transformed the natur into a green forest, it became more humid and more clouds covered the ceiling.