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Argentina: Patagonia in Winter

June 2006

Quebrada de Calchaqui


Experience with a shoe cleaner at the Plaza Principal: It was the turn of Edy's hiking boots. After the leather had been repolished with sandpaper and the soles painted with silicon, the guy presented us with his price of 8 pesos. Well, you can't really blame him, for we hadn't fixed a price beforehand. We gave him an 8 pesos bill, and - for a short while - even believed him, that he had only gone to get change. It goes without saying that he never came back. - The next day, when we came back to the plaza, Edy all of a sudden rushed off and got hold of a guy, holding him by his collar. It was the shoe cleaner, who had disappeared the day before. We demanded 5 pesos change or we would call the policía! There were great amounts of change in his pocket, and he gave us our amount quite quickly.

Kawi excursion through San Lorenzo

We were in a neighbourhood of detached houses. All of a sudden, a dog came chasing out of a driveway, charging us. Edy put his foot down hard. We were relieved and thought we had got off unscathed, when there was another dog running behind us. Full speed and feet high up we managed to escape once again. In the meantime, we have learned to drive slowly when approaching dogs and only put our feet down hard when they behave aggressive. We have always been the winners in short-distance races so far, without taking any damage.

Great campsite at Piedra del Molino (3300 meters) with a great view of the Cuesta del Obispo. Condors were circling above us, relaxing, calm and quiet. It goes without saying that the next morning we had breakfast in the open, under a bright blue sky. Unfortunately, the tour guides stopped with their guest on the natural terrace right next to us. Instead of taking pictures of the landscape, the tourists took pictures of Robusto. And we held a Q&A session for them...

Before Molinos, we had to cross a bridge, Brigitte did not feel good about. She therefore followed Robusto on foot. On the other side of the bridge, and only on that side, we came upon a sign with a weight restriction of 15 tons. Thus, there was no risk for us to cross this bridge with 18 tons, distributed over 3 axes and enough speed.

Laguna Brealito

At the Laguna Brealito, where we spent a few days, the small track continued on the right side. Upon asking, we were told that this track leads through the mountains also to Molinos. We drove the 25 km with the Kawi and now we know, why this track is not on any map. But it was beautiful!

Taxis in Argentina

The further north we got in Argentina, the cheaper the taxi rides became. The base rate here in Salta is 50 Rappen (40 US cents). This rate rises by steps of 4 Rappen (ca. 3 US cents). Thus, a drive of over 15 minutes in the city costs CHF 1.50 to max. CFH 2.00 (ca. USD 1.25 to 1.70).

Vegi shopping at the stalls on wheels, either pulled by mules or on a small truck, depending on the region, was every time an enjoyment for us: For today we bought 1 kg of beans, 1,5 kg tomatoes and 1 kg carrots - 3 pesos was all we payed. Converted into Swiss Francs this corresponds to CHF 1.50 (USD 1.25), and that for freshly harvested vegetables.


A city, too loud and too anonymous to many, but for us a welcome opportunity to get many things done or investigated.

The so-called camping at the public swimming pool is a meeting point for travellers. Since it is winter, there are only those travellers here, that are in South America all year round. Some of them have been travelling for 10 years.

The swimming pool, dimensions 150 x 250 m, is currently empty, but when it is filled in summer (which takes some 10 days), it is sheer pandemonium. However, during that season - it will be December - we will be in Patagonia and will have the wind blowing around our ears.

Many years ago we admired a Unicat vehicle and envied its owners for the travelling opportunities that it offered them. What a surprise to see the two globetrotters park right next to us! We were greatly impressed by Richard's and Cathrin's 13-year travelling experience.

In Salta we found a very special shop, a mix of Globus, Delicatessa and the "Spanische Weinhalle". Hundreds of different wines were stored along the walls, stacked up to a height of several meters. Whole bacons are hanging from the ceiling at 6 meters. The shelves on one of the walls are filled with liquors from the entire world. Cheese, dried fruit and an excellent sausage department complete the product range. In the huge hall, where there is also a large, old bar, one can enjoy all these delicacies while comfortably sitting in old "art nouveau" style chairs. For us, it was rather unusual having to pay the same price for 3 cervelats (a Swiss sausage type) and 1 kg of fillet steak - both cost CHF 5 (USD 4).

We have been on the road in Argentina for 90 days now and have moved house (or rather "truck") 21 times. Not that we did not like our campsites, no, it was our curiosity that led us to move on average every fourth day. All in all, we covered a distance of 3300 km.

Robusto proves its worth, Amigo is happy about no longer having to be on a leash and wearing a muzzle, and we are doing very well.

Edy and Brigitte