This small town is a popular refuge for Tucumanos to escape the summer heat at 2.700 meters altitude. Besides that, the surrounding scenery is truly stunning.
Coming from Tucuman, the road first runs through the gorge of Rio de los Sosas. Its steep slopes are covered with the most amazing, most dense, greenest subtropical forest ever. As the road winds its way up the river disappears way down. It reminded us a lot of mountain roads in Bolivia. The slight drizzle and fog created an incredible atmosphere. Even people who find the word “mystic” cheesy would have agreed that this was the only proper word to describe this scenery!
Unfortunately, the fog got thicker and thicker and soon we only saw our very immediate surroundings. After we passed the hamlet of La Angostura, with its dike that creates the biggest artificial lake in Argentina, the scenery changed abruptly and completely. The dense forest had magically disappeared and was replaced by grassy hills with grazing cows, not a single tree.
We had planned to stay over night in Tafi del Valle and do a few short hikes, but all the nice and affordable hostels were booked. This and the fact that it had not stopped raining made us decide to move on to Amachia de Valle near the ruins at Quilmes. During this 50 kilometre drive on a windy mountain road, we were completely engulfed by fog. We could not see a thing and only guessed how scenic it might be.
Once the fog lifted, we arrived in another completely different setting. Now the area was dry with huge tall “Cardones” cactuses all over the place. People on horses are a common sight in this area, we even saw a real cowboy swinging a lasso while riding through this forest of cactuses.
We decided to stay over night at the next possible place, because Heidi was seriously suffering from not getting enough sleep during the last three nights: one night at the carnival, one night on the bus and one night talking to Spanish tourists till the wee hours took its toll!
In Amachio del Valle, a tiny village with only a few accommodations, we found a cabana behind the local gas station. Now if this sounds a bit unromantic, we truly enjoyed it! It was quiet, comfortable and a true bargain.
We bought cheese at the market, bread and a local red wine and celebrated or better mourned that we passed a magic mark that day: we have been travelling 178 days, half of our Year Off!