Cafayate…. the life saver in Salta
Cafayate (to be pronounced in Argentian Spanish as Cafaschate) was a kind of a time out from Salta which was supposed to be a place to be. Well it wasn’t really made for me. It started again not very welcoming – again i didn’t find any cash upon arrival so had to walk with all the luggage across the city to my hostel. It was not that far though.… because i could have also taken a taxi and tell him to take me there and stop at an ATM on the way. Anyway once arrived at the hostel it was not at all to my gusto.. or let’s say hoped to find. A 6 people dorm, mixed, not full but still 😦 a very tiny room with this ugly guy lying next to me, the old lady snoring… jeeze but well it was only 15 bucks per night, guess that’s what you can expect. So i needed to have a plan B as quickly as possible as i was supposed to stay in Salta for almost 1 week. Impossible to even imagine this… thus went online and with the help of trip advisor i found a nice Bodega in Cafayate. Then went to book a car and yes i was ready to hit the road. In fact i was quite excited to be driving a car again. It had been weeks / months that i did so. It felt really cool even though the car wasn’t at all. My Chevy ‘C’ which stands for classic and not cool!
Despite the fact of having a really boring car which in fact drove quite nicely and had a radio – yesssss how did this feel finally being able to sing very loudly in a car again. That must be the reason why some people cannot imagine to commute by public transport. Once i had left Salta behind, villages and farming land become scarse and soon vanished from the surface. This gave way for bizarr rock formations in ’50 shades of red’ as well as narrow canyons carved into the mountains – the quebrada de Cafayate.
i was totally taken aback by this amazing landscape which i didn’t expect to see at all, as i thought i am taking the less interesting way as not passing Cachi which takes supposedly 6 hours. Well the road which normally would take approx 3 hours took me quite some more time as without kidding sometimes stopped for pictures within less than 5 minutes. It was simply breathtaking – like a combination of Death Valley and Grand Canyon together.
Then finally arrived in Cafayate. Unfortunately my Navi was perfectly happy with having reached the major crossroad which the Bodega put as its address on their website. However at this crossroad there was the vineyard of El Esteco and not the hotel. Now i thought that the hotel must be within the vineyard, so i drove through the gate and started to cruise around the wines. But after 2 rounds i figured out that this must be wrong and i’d better get out of the vineyard and search harder, i.e. drive a bit closer into the village and here we go – only a few more meters and there it was Patio de Cafayate. Once i got closer i burst out laughing. The winery El Esteco is owned by Michel Torino whose most basic wine – which we had to degrade to the cooking wine shelf as we got terrible headache from it – can be purchased in Denner! I was shocked, i landed in the only winery in Argentina which wines we really disapproved from. Should the Salta curse continue?!
so after checking into my suite – yes i got an upgrade – i went on a tour of the headache winery. During this tour i learned that the wine being exported to Switzerland is the most basic wine they produce – the elementos. Ufffff what a relief to hear that because i was already concerned what i will be drinking for dinner, water? tea? surely no headache juice! The wine chosen was fantastic, a younger Malbec, fruity yet full bodied.. and i kept the cork, so that i didn’t have to drink the whole bottle but could take it with me back to Salta – it would be a great help to overcome the hostel sueblues.
the drive back was again the same as the way there and still i discovered new rock formations and had the 2nd chance to stop where i didn’t stop the day before.
oooops fin de la carretera….