A few miles north of Cafayate on 9th March I passed the 5000 miles cycled mark. Woohoo! If you've not sponsored me already, that´s got to be worth a few bob for Oxfam on my Justgiving page. I celebrated with a packet of fruit pastilles!
The cycle north from Cafayate took me through the spectacular desert rock formations of Quebrada de Las Conchas. Then, after weeks of cycling through semi-arid desert, it was a real treat to pop out the other end into Valle de Lerma with its lush farmland and wooded hills. There were all sorts of novelties along here - freshly-mown grass verges, green fields with grazing cattle, acres of ripening crops and people messing about in boats on the reservoir, Embalse Cabra Corral. Slightly less welcome was the heavier traffic after so long on the one-car-an-hour Ruta 40.
Valle de Lerma delivered me to the beautiful, old city of Salta. I ambled through the colonnades of the colonial buildings that border the main plaza, sipped cappuccino under the arches and got a sore neck gazing up at the San Francisco Church. I was glad of the opportunity for a lazy day as it's all uphill from here. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be cycling up to heights of 3500 metres, onto the Altiplano and the border with Bolivia. Blimey!
Some more pics on Flickr and a map below.
Click on map to enlarge
Message for Zelda - how brilliant to hear from you. Unless I have to file for bankcruptcy, I am planning to come back to NZ. Pop me an email some time at firstname.lastname@example.org.