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!

A four avocado day!!

Avocado burrito

Breakfast!

22 August – Day 31

Mazatlan, Mexico to Sayulita, Mexico
Distance: 396kms

Last night we experienced a monsoon storm of the kind I’ve not seen for quite a while. Torrential rain – I’m talking rain so heavy, so steady, buffeted by wind so strong, it was impossible to tell where the water was coming from; like being inside a spa bath with the jets on full and the water raging around us. Thunder so loud it didn’t just fill our ears, but also our minds; each raging, stomping thwak drowning us in sharp bursts of sound so loud that thinking was impossible. Lightening like strobe lights at the biggest Mexican disco you could possibly imagine. The electricity went out. The street flooded. And still the storm raged. We watched, for a while – until the lone, foolhardy traveller who had camped on the beach ceased struggling in the wind and in the sea of water now surrounding, him from the sky, and sought refuge in a lifeguard’s hut.

In the morning, Adrian hurried down to check the bike was ok. Beamsky was fine! Although we’d again parked inside the hotel, in this case ‘inside’ meant through the lobby to the open, roofless atrium in the centre of the building. The bike seat was oozing water, but the bike was fine.

The café we’d picked out for brekky was closed due to storm damage – the stormwater pipes in the old town couldn’t cope and overflowed, and the restaurant was flooded; not from the sky, but literally from the ground up. The owner recommended a nearby restaurant, so off we went – only to see him there a short time thereafter. He did a similar trip to ours a few years ago, so we had a bit of a chat with him about the route etc. He made an interesting observation that – so far at least – is proving correct: in every country, locals will tell you to be careful of the people/places in the next country, but that their country is fine. For example in the US, people couldn’t believe that we were actually riding through Mexico, and more than one person checked to confirm that we were taking a gun with us for protection (ah – no).

As we head further south, there’s a price to pay for a leisurely brekky and it’s not measured in pesos…  the later start means a long hot sweaty ride on the bike through the middle of the day. And we paid dearly today; it was the most humid it’s been so far. After 5.5 hours on the bike and $20 in tolls, we made it to our yoga retreat (!!) in Sayulita, on Mexico’s coast. Yup, you read that right – a yoga retreat, where they offer classes twice daily – yay!

It’s the low season here; so low that several hotels and restaurants aren’t even open. That said, there still seems to be a throng of people about… so I’m glad we’re not here in the middle of peak tourist season.

Adrian crashed out about 6pm – a bit dehydrated from being on the bike in the heat of the day I think; plus he had some mean hayfever – and so I took myself off for dinner; my third avocado-focussed meal today! I would have eaten the equivalent of at least four avocadoes today… they were a, if not the, key ingredient in every meal I’ve had, plus I feasted on a massive bowl of guacamole as a snack. So good!

Also good is the fact we’re staying here for three nights… our first three-night stop on the trip so far.