Although I’d only been sick for eight hours or so, it took me a while to fully recover. So bidding Sasha farewell, I spent a couple days doing very little in Salta. I wandered to a couple museums, studied a bit of Spanish, and wrote about Buenos Aires and the Superclasico. I had a few meals in my hostel, where I tossed plans back and forth with a new collection of friends. As soon as I was healthy, four of us went on a beautiful one day road trip through a cactus filled national park to a remote town called Cachi.
Among the new friends were Frank, a German, and Patrick, the first American I’ve really connected with on this trip. Frank was headed to Chile, and Patrick and I made a plan for a quick trip to nearby Cafayate, Argentina's white wine capital. As with nearly every stop on this trip, I hadn’t planned to go there, but the glowing reviews had piled high enough that I couldn’t skip it. The detour was worth the time before we even made it to town; the three hour bus ride there was spectacular.
During our two days in Cafayate we explored the town and wineries on rented bikes, relaxed at a surprisingly nice hostel, and went on a long hike/scramble through a beautiful canyon. It was nice getting to know Patrick - the more time we spent together, and the bigger our plans got, the more important his friendship came to seem.
We got back to Salta and were surprised to find Frank at the hostel. He’d missed his bus out of town, which, in hindsight, was great news. He finally left Salta a few hours after our return, but his delay put us on similar schedules and allowed us to reconnect later. Patrick and I were headed the same way the next morning. But first, we had one last night in Argentina...