New province, similar landscapes
Already since Cafayate many travelers had recommended to stop in Andolucas, just 23 km from where we spent last night. It had a municipal free camping, there were some amazing canyons nearby, and basically most travelers and cycletourers would meet there.
So today would be a short and easy day. And therefore we started quite late. But it was ok. The route was mostly flat, going through a series of small villages very close to each other. Funny what access to water can do. After 2 days of nothingness, now there were 4 villages in 20 km.
The camping was at the end of a short and steep downhill, and sure enough, it was full of interesting people. Some were traveling by motorbike, and selling homemade candles. Others, in a small van, were traveling with two small girls while making jewelry out of the beautiful rocks they would find or buy along the way. There were also backpackers, other Argentinian cyclists, and so on.
Andrea immediately decided she would stay for at least another day. But first, she showed the kids how to do “dream-catchers”, and the kids were very proud of their creations. Susanne was tired so, without the panniers, Andrea and me took the bikes and went to visit the nearby ruins of Hualco. There was not much to see in terms of ruins, but the landscape where the Hualco culture decided to build their home was really amazing, with a canyon full of inviting pools to swim (unfortunately it was still too cold for us to try), and views to the open valley in front.
On the return to the camping we visited another nearby camping, La Olla. We got carried away and kept climbing up the stream, passing some sketchy bits that would be very tricky on the way down. Luckily we found an alternative path to return.
Simon and Thomas had already made friends with the girls from the other family and they watched a film together.
The next day we left Andrea, which was sad for the kids, and cycled towards Pituil.
The first 12 km were uphill, steeper than we thought, but we had to get out of the river valley. After that, another 10 km mostly flat.
The problem came afterwards. We had to turn south-west, and we then got a terrible front wind for the following 30 km to Pituil.
It was really an struggle, with dust coming into our face and eyes, and nothing in the landscape to divert our attention.
In the end we made it to an abandoned police control building, where we set up tent in one of the empty rooms inside, away from the wind. I went to the village, which was a further 2 km on a side road, to buy food for dinner and the next day. Pituil is famous for its dry nuts, raisins, and apricots, but most shops were closed so I couldn’t buy much apart from walnuts.
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