Happy goats

A happy goat!

A happy goat!

5 November – Day 106

Cafayate, Argentina
Distance: 0kms

Today was a ‘holiday day’ which involved reading our books in a café on the main square, hiring pushbikes to ride to some of the local wineries and a goats cheese factory, delicious gelato and lots of sunshine! It was great. The pushbiking didn’t quite turn out as we expected… after starting with a 4km slightly uphill (although note that even a slight incline over 4kms at midday in the blazing Argentinian sun is hard work!!!) ride to Piatelli Vinyards, we were told that there wasn’t a tour for another 30 minutes, and the next English tour was in an hour and a half. So we decided to return later, after we’d been to some of the other wineries in the area… only… they were all closed for a lunchbreak too!!! The end result was that we had a lovely ride around the area without any wine, and then after an icecream in town, jumped on Beamsky to do it all again.. this time with wine!

Piatelli was excellent… not only was the tour fantastic, the wines (especially the Malbec) were delicious… as were the little chocolates they provided to go with the reds. We also got to meet the American owner of the vineyard who just happened to be in the country, at the vineyard, while we were there.

Piatelli vineyard - such a beautiful spot... with a great Malbec!

Piatelli vineyard – such a beautiful spot… with a great Malbec!

We then went to a local goats cheese factory for a tour and some tasting… it was interesting although as it was all in Spanish, I only got about 45% of it and Adrian a somewhat less (because he stopped concentrating after the first couple of minutes and decided instead to just enjoy the surrounds!!). Interestingly, they play classical music to the goats while milking them to keep them calmer and happier – thus producing more and a better quality milk.

4 November – Day 105

Purmarca, Argentina to Cafayate, Argentina
Distance: 351kms

The route from Salta to Cafayata is apparently known as being one of the most spectacular roads anywhere, and it didn’t disappoint. Wow! We’ve seen some pretty spectacular scenery over the last couple of days – and the trip in general – however I think  yesterday and today have really taken the cake.  Huge rocks in an incredibly diverse range of colours… red, orange, grey, white and more… and textures… smooth, marbled, lined, gravelly etc etc. Today was definitely one of the most spectacular days on the bike. Nature is amazing.

More desert... still beautiful!

More desert… still beautiful!

We ended up in Cafayate, in the heart of Argentinian wine country. And we’re happy about that! We’ve been looking forward to Argentinian wines for a while now… and our first taste, with dinner, did not disappoint!

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Wow. Just wow.

Ice floes in the Atacama desert

Little soldiers of ice all lined up in the Atacama desert. There were patches with these ice dominoes all over the place. Amazing!

3 November – Day 104

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Purmarca, Argentina
Distance: 400kms

I know I keep saying this, but… today was truly one of the best days in the bike in terms of the natural scenery. From ice dominos lined up in identical rows on the hot red sand of the Atacama desert (seriously), to pink flamingos, to a lake made from solid snow white salt… the landscape was just so diverse… at every turn, I just kept scraping my chin off the bottom of my helmet; I couldn’t keep my mouth from dropping open in wondrous surprise.

The pictures don’t really do it justice, but I’ve uploaded a couple just so you can get the sense of it.

Today was also a border crossing day.. and it was good! Possibly the smoothest, most convenient, best structured border crossing we’ve done. It was seamless! Helpfully, the ‘check out’ and ‘check in’ counters were right next to each other, and the paperwork was easy. If only they’d all been this good!! Although… then I probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much.  Anyway  – we’re in Argentina!!

The ever-changing desert landscape

The ever-changing desert landscape

Pink flamingos in the desert

Pink flamingos in the desert

Lauren standing next to the BMW GSA on a solid salt lake

Salt lake near Salta