On the way out of town, we picked up our first hitch hiker. There was a middle aged lady waiting for a bus and it looked like she might have a long wait so we decided to give her a lift. It turned out that she was going to visit some family a half hour or so down the road towards Cafayate. Unfortunately, our Spanish was not as good as the night before, so our Spanish didn’t quite flow as well. Nevertheless, we had air-conditioning in the car so everyone relaxed and enjoyed the view. We were driving through the Calchaqui Valley, which is very scenic.After we dropped our passenger off, we stopped in Molinos. This little village is not to be missed as it is very pretty. We had some coffee at the beautifully restored Hacienda de Molinos which is now a very smart hotel.
The church was built in the 18th Century and is filled with icons and statues. It is well worth a visit. I have certainly never seen anything like it and certainly nothing like what we were about to see next.
Bob and I had seen shrines like this all over Argentina, but only from a bus. This was the first opportunity I have had to take a photo of one. This is the shrine of Gauchito Gil. Though not officially a ‘Saint’, he is very popular and shrines can be seen on roadsides nearly everywhere.
After leaving Molinos the landscape changed yet again.
See that sign where Bob is standing? You do NOT want to drive past that as we nearly did! This is the start of the Quebrada de las Flechas where you will get the best overall view of the valley before driving through it. There is a short path that will take you to the top of a hill where the view is stunning. Bearing in mind that there can be incidences with unattended vehicles, we took it in turns to have a look. Photos do not do the view justice. You have to be there to appreciate it. The rock formations are very tall and jagged and driving through them is pretty amazing.
And another view after we drove through the valley. It is always lovely to see a flowing river.
We came across another church that was pretty hard to miss.
We stopped in Animaná for a snack and to stretch our legs before driving the last leg to Cafayate.
The town was very quiet with a large square in the centre. We found a cafe where we got a drink and shared a few empanadas. We didn’t go into the church as we were a bit churched out. There are just so many one can look at in a day.
This drive was done totally on gravel roads, with many twists and turns. I think Bob put the car to the test this day. The road became paved just before we got into Cafayate. I will leave you with one last look of the amazing and changing landscape. If anything, the colors were incredible!