Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cafayate, so much to do!

July 18, 2009

We had big plans for Saturday, but as travelling often goes, we only completed a fraction. After breakfast we headed to Tambo, a goat cheese farm, where we got a great tour of the farm and a huge block of cheese for 10 pesos ($3). The creamery partners with a organic winery, and uses the goat droppings to fertilize the soil, while feeding the goats leftovers from the wine making process.

Lunch was planned for the House of Empanadas, where aside from basic empanadas de carne, all combinations crossed to the rarely-seen-in-Argentina realm of exotic. There were Turkish empandas with tomatoes, olives, and goat cheese; Greek with leeks and a mixture of veggies, Arabic with seasoned beef; and a vegetarian option which seemed to contain at least a dozen different veggies including squash, corn, carrots, and potatoes. They were a lot of fun (normally empanadas come with chicken OR spinach OR onions (and cheese) OR corn, etc.), and all handmade. I also got my first taste of the Salta brand cerveza. Tammy assessed it up quite succinctly: Miller Light.

We'd booked a trek through the Quebrada de Cafayate (Cafayate Gorge) for the afternoon. The area was beautiful with bright, bright red rock formations, blue sky, and challenging angles our guide encouraged us to scale for rewarding views.

We hiked trails, scaled rock formations, and crossed icy rivers barefoot to see the best the valley had to offer. Our guide, Walter seemed to know the area quite well, and entertained us with family stories and local legends as we tooled around the valley in his tiny, white car. However, he was sold as an English-speaking guide to the British couple who went with us and it quickly became apparent who would be doing the English translations on the trip. His English was incredibly rough when he attempted it, but generally he asked us to translate the trip.

We arrived back at the hostel, exhausted, and decided to revive with some sugar at the much-
talked-about Heladeria Miranda, where their claim-to-fame is wine-flavored sorbets. Tammy had the mild torrontés, the white grape for which the region is known, while I had the very alcoholic tasting cabernet sauvignon.

We planned to catch up a bit on our journals before dinner, but Tammy had left hers at the hostel so we jumped straight from ice cream to dinner (we're on vacation!) at Carretera de Don Olegario, where we split a salad, a bottle of wine (a local Malbec from the Bodega Nanni, an organic winery), and had our own plates of raviolis for less than $10 each.

However, after our long day and wine, we were zonked and opted for our earliest bedtime to date--midnight...on a Saturday!

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