We make it to the first province capital
From Tilcara there were still quite a few narrow passages in the mountains, although it was not as enjoyable as in previous days as the traffic had increased a lot.
Slowly, the valley would open up and the dry landscape of the altiplano would swap to lush forests and green hills.
The National Road 9 then took us on an unexpected and nasty climb, with continuous truck traffic from the nearby mine, before an exhilarating downhill to the proper valley bottom where Jujuy city lies.
On the way we passed a village called Leon, where I wanted to take a picture as it has the same name as my hometown in Spain. Unfortunately, it must be one of the few villages in Argentina with no name sign. Oh, well…
We would not make it to the capital, so we stopped with about 30 km to go in Yala, a small village, with a nice and cheap camping.
There we met Eric and Yanina, two Argentinian cyclists that were doing the opposite way, going north. They will have a tough time as they will arrive in Bolivia in full winter, but I’m sure they will find a way. Funnily enough, months later, we would stay in the same Casa Ciclista in General Alvear (Mendoza) where they had spent most of the pandemic.
The last bit to Jujuy was quite uncomfortable with a big highway and too fast traffic.
Luckily we found a side road that would take us to the city on quieter streets. Jujuy itself has nothing special, other than a nicely done river margin with cycle lanes, parks and many trees.
The city has a nice size, and it lies in an area with moderate climate most of the year, so it would be a pleasant place to live.
We stayed another night, and we took the chance to get an Argentinian SIM card (it was hard anywhere else if you don’t have an Argentinian ID), replace some spokes in the trailer, and do a bit of shopping.
The next day we would cycle to Salta. There are two options, either following the RN9 through “la cornisa”, a tiny and hilly road in the mountains, or the flatter but busier 66 across General Güemes.
We took the first one, despite some negative advice from a guy in Tilcara, and we were happy with our choice.
We met an Argentinian cyclist going the other way, and after a hectic exit of Jujuy the road was quite nice all the way to the Cienaga dam, a place were many people from the city come here to chill on the weekends.
We went to a nice fish restaurant at the other side of the dam, recommended by Eric and Yanina, and had some nice Argentinian style “fish and chips”.
We camped in a nearby and empty camping, where I realized one of my panniers had burst open in one of the seams.
I transferred most of the load to the other panniers, put tape on this one to hold everything together, and made many pictures to make a warranty claim to the manufacturer. We’ll see what happens.
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Yujujuuuuuy. Hace tiempos q no veia Las letras gigantes. Son un clasico!