Another month’s worth of photographs that didn’t seem to fit elsewhere in our scattershot narrative. For past months, click here.

 


 

anfiteatro-872
Linking Cafayate and Salta, RN68 runs through the Quebrada de las Conchas, and its southern stretch makes for a spectacular ride. Various pull-ins direct tourists to features that are both impressive and (more importantly, we suspect) accessible; one such feature is the Anfiteatro, a tall natural hollow blessed with a stupendous acoustic. To the visible bemusement of the other visitors, Ruth decided to test it by giving a rambling, rubato account of ‘Molly Malone’.
RN9 (north of Cafayate), SA, Argentina
4 January 2014

 


 

alemania-1280
Riding north through Argentina, we were rarely far from a disused train track. After the railways were privatised in the 1990s, they were neglected by their new owners to the point of dereliction, and the broken rails and crumbling station houses are sad reminders of their former glories. Alemanía (opinions vary as to the origins of its name) once thrived in a small-town way; but since the trains stopped running here just over four decades ago, it’s been deserted by all but a handful of residents. The station remains, though, and it’s something of a beauty.
Alemanía, SA, Argentina
4 January 2014

 


 

lavina1-1024
lavina2-1024

The village of La Viña sits roughly halfway between Cafayate and Salta, about 20km north of Alemanía. On the outskirts, a solitary, quietly passionate man named Sergio has built a modest hospedaje and restaurant, the walls of which are dedicated to his interests: poetry, traditional music, art and especially history. The operation is named after Don Martín Miguel de Güemes, a hero of the Argentine War of Independence in the 19th century. We felt privileged to have received a history lesson from Sergio, and found the whole place rather moving.
La Viña, SA, Argentina
4 January 2014

 


 

jesus-893
Jesus Christ!
Coronel Moldes, SA, Argentina
5 January 2014

 


 

casona-1024
Walking into La Casona del Molino on the outskirts of Salta feels like stepping back in time, but we never did manage to place the era into which we’d been transported. There must be half a dozen rooms to this informal restaurant, plus a vast central courtyard; each night, each of them fills with musicians, who gather around tables and sing songs drawn from the local tradition.
Salta, SA, Argentina
7 January 2014

 


 

tilcara1-1024
tilcara2-1024

Saturday morning in Tilcara, a touristy village that was overwhelmed with backpackers when we visited, delivered a curious combination of sombre commemoration (‘The Last Post’ played on pan-pipes) and jolly celebration. This not-terribly-complicated dance – grab a hand and run – fell into the latter category.
Tilcara, SA, Argentina
11 January 2014

 


 

tropico-906
We’ve now crossed the Tropic of Capricorn on five occasions during this trip, and will be crossing it for a sixth and final time when we head north from Antofagasta in the next day or two.
Huacalera, JY, Argentina
11 January 2014

 


 

humastatue-1280
Rising high above the small town of Humahuaca, this statue is a monument to Argentine independence. At least, that’s what we were told. We couldn’t help thinking it looks more like our friend Alex unleashing another arrow-straight strike at the ten-pin bowling alley in Finsbury Park.
Humahuaca, JY, Argentina
12 January 2014

 


 

llama1-1024
llama2-1024

Signs at the northern end of RN9 in Argentina, near the Bolivian border, warn road users of the presence of llamas. Those we saw, though, seemed interested only in taking a bath.
RN9 (north of Humahuaca), JY, Argentina
13 January 2014

 


 

ralph-1280
About 25km north of the undistinguished north Argentine town of Abra Pampa, we were passed in the opposite direction by a man riding a recumbent bicycle. We were blazing downhill at the time, Ruth perturbed by the presence of a storm on the horizon, and were so surprised that we didn’t stop. Happily, the man caught us up as we entered the town. His name, he told us, is Ralph Cummings and he’s the director of the local hospital. He built the bike himself and has put 70,000km on it. When asked where he was from, he replied, ‘Here!’, despite speaking idiomatic English that suggested he was raised with it as a first language. Fascinating chap.
Abra Pampa, JY, Argentina
13 January 2014

 


 

boliviaqueue-1280
Idling away a few days in the border town of La Quiaca, we decided to step over the frontera into Bolivia for lunch. Just short of the border, we found this scene, chaotic at first glance but actually very regimented. Everybody wearing a red bib is getting ready to wheel goods into Bolivia, everything from grain to nappies. The complexity, order and good manners of the queueing system would put Britain to shame.
La Quiaca, JY, Argentina
16 January 2014

 


 

cheesefest1-1024
cheesefest2-1024

Towards the end of a 100-mile ride south from the Bolivian border to Humahuaca, Will chanced upon the area’s annual Festival of Cheese & Goats, with music, dancing, grilled meat and beer but, as far as he could see, a distinct absence of both goats and cheese. About an hour after this photograph was taken, a Biblical storm drenched everyone and everything in sight.
Chorrillos, JY, Argentina
17 January 2014

 


 

claudio-1280
Ruth’s journey over the Paso de Jama was as much about the extreme kindness of the people who helped her as the extreme landscapes she crossed. Sebastián in Purmamarca, who cooked up fortifying pasta and pumpkin sauce; the Pullman coach drivers, who picked up Ruth in Jama even though their bus was full and then sat her up front with them in the cab; and Cláudio and Daniel, pictured above, who gave her a 115km ride in their pick-up truck en route to their day’s work at a lithium mine. Vayan con dios, todos.
Susques, JY, Argentina
24 January 2014

 


 

long-1170
Some of the few signs of human activity visible to Will as he rode the Paso de Jama were the occasional cairns by the roadside. None of them seemed to signify anything, and most stood in splendid isolation. Had Richard Long been here before?
Paso de Jama, II, Chile
27 January 2014

 


 

windturbine-1280
We both love wind turbines. We think they’re machines of rare beauty and grace, and the ballets they create on plains and horizons lift our hearts. However, you can be sure that where there are wind turbines, there is wind; and wind, for the cyclist, can be the worst thing in the world if it isn’t heading in the same direction as you are. After a long afternoon pedalling furiously downhill into a relentless headwind, struggling to break 10kmh, Will arrived in Calama from San Pedro de Atacama a broken and exhausted man. So much so, in fact, that he broke his trip-long habit and cracked – rather than slog through two more days and more than 200km of the same abject, west-winded misery, we took the bus to Antofagasta.
near Calama, II, Chile
30 January 2014

 


 

from Antofagasta, II, Chile