Part 12: Catamarca to Tafi del Valle, Argentina


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The Trip

We spent the night at a yoga retreat near Catamarca, but we don't do yoga.  Sadly, they expressly prohibited consumption of meat and alcohol.  Somehow, we both survived.  Their meal was quite tasty, so color me surprised.  But, breakfast was another deal all together.  On the list of "prohibited substances" was coffee.  Color me sleepy.  We left the facility soon thereafter, returning to the real world.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The area around Catamarca was lowland and somewhat arid.  As we headed over the next range of mountains, the vegetation grew dense.

We pulled over at the crest of the mountains and got a great view of the valley beyond.

At the pull-out I spotted this small bush with striped fruit about the size of golf balls.  Note the thorns protecting the fruit.

We knew that we were days away from our eventual destination of Salta so we decided to "slow the roll".  We passed a road-side parrilla and we stopped for lunch.  They had beef ribs, chicken, chorrizo and tripe.  We chose the chicken and beef ribs (costilla).  This was the best meal that we have had recently and surely the most tasty.  When we finished lunch, we continued on toward Tafi del Valle, in the nearby mountains.  Tafi is a popular resort town.

The road to Tafi was super steep, narrow and very curvy.  Within a few minutes we were into hard-core jungle.  At a pull-out, we got a view nice view of the jungle river below.

The canyon walls were very steep and totally covered with dense jungle.

We were traveling on a Sunday and the weekenders at Tafi were coming down from the mountain.  We were expecting the traffic, but not the traffic hazards.  The cattle in the roadway totally ignored the presence of cars and did not respond at all to my horn.  I was fearful about getting too close and getting my rental car kicked or gored in the process (and yes, I have had vehicles gored before).  The cattle eventually got out of the roadway allowing us to pass.

A few miles down the road put us above tree line.

We rolled into the Tafi area and spotted this tourist trap.  The statues of the Incas got plenty of attention, the first step in the pottery sales process.

Tafi was high enough that it was in the clouds.

To our surprise, Tafi was having a feria (a fair).  There were tons of folks and tons of car.  Our path took us right through the center of the action.

It was getting late in the day and we had seen some road signs for the El Mirador de Tafi, so we decided to stay the night.  It was a nice place, likely the nicest in town.

 We dumped our stuff in our room and then headed out to the feria for a look.  We passed a number of caballeros in native dress.

This young fellow had his mount right outside the hotel.

This pair were in full native garb with their dog in tow.

I believe this breed of horse is a Paso Peruvian.

More folks in native garb.

This pair brought the colt along to get it accustomed to traffic and people.

Like other ferias, it was a "see and be seen" event.

It was raining lightly but we decided to check out the vendor area.  There was plenty of stuff for sale at the various stalls, but it was all the same stuff.

This gal was an exception; she was an herbalist.  Or a bruja (a female shaman, AKA witch).  Her sign states that she can make amulets that can give you luck, money, work, better business or love.  The box on top was labeled "evil eye".

She had something for every malady: diabetes, high blood pressure, impotence, digestive issues, colitis, sinusitis, etc.

The vendor area was a warren of passageways, but all selling the same items: clothes, shoes, tee shirts, etc.

This cabellero brought his puppy.

Street meat, Andean style.

Papas fritas (fried potatoes) are a common side dish.

This was a very scenic segment of our trip.  We were surprised by the feria in Tafi, but we did not look on-line for pending events.

Tomorrow, we head to Cafayate on yet another leg of our trip to Salta.

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