01.02.2013 - 01.02.2013
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Today Martin picked us up at 9am to head off for Cachi. It was only 165 km away but took us most of the day. We travelled along Route 40 but it was all dirt road and extremely narrow at times. We were lucky that it had not rained for a couple of days so we were able to get across the river beds as at times you cannot complete the journey.
We did not know what we were in for scenery wise but it was quite different to anything else we had seen. We travelled into the Calchaqui Valley, it is best known for its contrast of colours and unique geography. We drove through the Quebrada de las Flechas (broken arrows) which originated 15 to 20 million years ago. The wind and rain has eroded the formations into arrow tip shapes. Apparently they shot several scenes of the Star Wars planet Tatooine here.
There were also homes in the middle of nowhere, you wonder how they exist in that harsh environment.
There was even a cemetery in the middle of nowhere, but it had a beautiful backdrop. Because it is so dry there they can only use fabric flowers but it was lovely and colourful.
We stopped at Molinos for lunch. We went and ate in a little restaurant that the locals eat in. It was fairly basic but the meal was lovely. It was called Carne con Arroz, like a beef stew with rice. There was a lovely little church there and there was some type of religious ceremony going on for the gauchos (cowboys).
We also visited a conservation refuge for Vicunas. These animals belong to cameloid family and are like llamas and alpacas. They have such dainty little faces.
We continued our journey on to Cachi. It is found in the northern part of the Calchaqui Valley at the foot of the Nevado de Cachi (mountain with snow) at 2531 metres above sea level. It is a quaint little town with colonial type white buildings, adobe houses and paved streets. Cachi means salt in quechua language due to the fact that the natives mistook the top of “el nevado” with a salt mine. We drove up to the Cachi cemetery where you overlooked Cachi. Then from the cemetery you can also see "el nevado" which is at over 6000 metres.