« Cafayete | Main | Wine and bikes in Maipu »
Sunday
Jun192011

Taffe del Valle

It suddenly hit us. We'd been in Argentina a long time, we had to get to Columbia by July, we had better start heading North.

It says a lot about Argentina that we couldn't bring ourselves to just get a bus to the border, there was so much to see. Northern Argentina, we had heard was very different. The wealth of Buenos Aries and Mendoza was no where to be seen, life was simpler up here. The landscape changed dramatically as we headed up high into the mountains. It was beautiful.
We decided to head to the small town of Taffe de Valle and straight into a Western Movie.


Taffe, sounding like it should be a Welsh Village did it's best to remind us of one with rolling hills and green as far as the eye could see.
Indigenous people were the majority as opposed to being few and far between in the big cities of Mendoza and Buenos Aries. Low clouds rolled over hills towards you like blanket coming to tuck the village in. It was stunning.

Min and I were on our own again. Matt had decided to stay on in Mendoza. He'd enrolled on a Spanish course for a week, a genius move. We had parted ways in view to meeting up again in Northern Argentina.

We lucked upon as old estancia to stay in, for a couple of days pretending the year was 1890 and we owned the place.
Dinner was served in the dining room at 8 sharp, by our butler of course (well not really, just some dude called Frank) after which we would then retire to our quarters, filled with original furniture and linen that felt like it could have been the same that the marquis had died in.
Still it was cosy and we were the king and queen of our Mansion.  

Our dining room

When in Rome... (Steal the owners hat and make it look like you're a cowboy)The Estancia owner's family memorabiliaMe and mirror

The town was quiet. We liked it, it was nice to be on own for some time and to meander about the town doing nothing but drinking Mate (Argentinian tea) and browsing for gloves and thick socks. Min seems to have developed an obsession for thick socks. Thick socks and leg warmers. She should write a blog on leg warmers.

It was bloomin cold up here. I now regretted the decision to give away my gloves to Rabson, the Malawian teacher who was now pretty toasty back in Malawi. Maybe Min had a point about the leg warmers. I hate it when she's right.

After much leg-warming we decided to hire bikes. From Tafi we had heard of a 40km downhill cycle past the lake, beautiful countryside and watering holes for swimming.



Now you'd think that non existent brakes and the road being closed would have put a downer on the day but not at all.
We had cycled for an hour or so before encountering a fierce looking policewoman and a queue of traffic behind a rope cordon. The road was closed. Our limited Spanish meant that we didn't quite catch the reasons behind it's closure but when a woman with a gun says no, you tend to be happy with that as a reason in itself.

We turned back and found another road to head down, somewhat disappointed our plans had been after some time the beauty of the countryside faded and we realised that actually the way we'd taken wasn't very nice at all. Thoroughly grumpy and confused, we were amazed to discover that after only 10 minutes, the road was now open, there was no sign of policewoman or traffic. Was she a ghost?
 
We'd packed a lunch, bought from the oldest man alive on the high street. Local goats cheese, Chorizo and fresh bread and sat by the road at what we thought to be a beautiful spot overlooking a stream. The mysterious road block, it turned out, had followed us and soon our romantic picnic had become viewing pleasure for several workmen on a truck, a bus load of Argie tourists and a family squeezed into a car designed for half their number.

After the jam passed, we managed to get our fix of quiet countryside. Wild horses drank water from a stream in front of us, huge birds flew overhead.

Wild horses drinking from Stream (Sounds like a Susan Boyle remix)

Don't drink and drive

The real beauty of this trip however, was knowing that after heading downhill for 40km we could get a bus to take us up to the top again. We'd simply hail any bus on it's way up, stow the bikes underneath and cruise back up to Tafi. After a hairy half an hour or so with no bus in sight and the prospect of an interesting evening of cycling back up the hill, we were mighty relieved to see a bus come over the hill.

So it hadn't gone quite to plan but with scenery like this who can complain. 

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>