Where are we?

Argentina!! :)

Our last might spent in Bolivia got interrupted by the Policia around 10pm.  After we had spend the afternoon by the river we moved to a site off the road that other IOverlanders had stayed at. It was probably around 4pm when we parked. Dwayne then did some work on Vanna - needed to replace the brakes on the driver’s side, passenger side is still ok.  After having supper and watching one of the new movies we bought that day we hit the sack. Shortly afterwards headlights shine into the back window. Policia come to the side of the van and Dwayne gets dressed and opens the door and talks to the policia who tell us we have to move. Need to go to Tupiza.  And they left. 

Pigs came to visit us :) 

No you can't come in!!

Dwayne building up some muscle 😂

Got a shot of the goats eating the berries in the argan trees
So we had to get everything moved to make the 10 minute drive back to Tupiza. Guessing someone must have complained about us to the police because where we were parked no one could see us from the road. There were only a couple of houses nearby.  So we move stuff and head into town. First time we’ve been kicked out of a parking spot! I check IOverlander and shows we should be able to park near the train station. Damn there goes our quiet night!  We arrive at the train station and park - lots of lights shining down on us and still a few people in the park just infront of the station where were are parked.  They actually stayed there talking loudly until probably after midnight. Then at 3:30 a few guys sat right on the bench beside our van (there are lots of benches here) and start talking. After awhile they leave, think they were waiting for a ride since they all had small backpacks with them, because I don’t think buses are running at this time of night. So our sleep was interrupted a few times. Once we got up we moved over to the site by the river to have our coffee and breakfast in peace :) 

Then it’s time to get moving and drive to Villazón (90km away) to get to the border crossing.  We get to the crossing - as usual it’s a little mixed up. Seems we get stamped into Argentina but we don’t need to get stamped out of Bolivia. Thats a first. Then we cancel our Bolivian temp import permit and get a new one for Argentina.  Once we got that we waited to have customs check Vanna - the customs guy looked in - spoke English so asked us a few questions, gave back the permit and that was it. Off we go into Argentina 😁 

Of course the first city looks no different then what we have been seeing for the last almost 4 months - just another dirty border city. But we find an ATM and take out 4000 Ar peso ($60C) and the charge is $10.50US!!  So not taking anymore out of the machine, hopefully we’ll figure out which ATM will not charge us to take out money! When we get to Salta we’ll have time to check out the ATMs. Right now we have enough plus the tank is full of gas, used the last of our Bolivianos (except 30Bol).  Then went to a kiosk to buy a SIM card. Claro is here so thought I would buy that one.  She told me the price in Ar pesos but asked if she took Bolivianos and she said the cost was 10Bol.  I asked if she could help set it up and she would, so I put in the SIM card but shows No Service. I shut the phone off and turn it on, no change. She looked at my phone to try and figure it out, but couldn’t. I then put the SIM into Dwayne’s phone, still no service. Then switched the language to Spanish so maybe the girl could figure it out. Nope.  Well guess that was a waste of 10Bol, must be a defective SIM but of course I can’t get my money back. I’ll get that fixed once in Salta. We drive around looking for a grocery store but everything is closed up! The town seems dead!  Oh well we’ll get groceries somewhere along the road.

We now driving out in the Altiplano again, with llamas, alpacas around us. Highway is nice and smooth. Mountains in the distance. We stop in a little town to get some more water and continue on. I look at my phone and see I now have service! Guess Claro has none or very little service in the border town. Now I have to register the phone once I have a strong signal. 

Wow these are beautiful mountains once we are in Argentina

The opposite direction - still altiplano
The highway is great!

Even some of the gas stations look North American

We can always tell where the policia stations are because all the wrecked vehicles are parked out front!

Our first little town in Argentina to get some water 
We soon leave the altiplano and start thru the mountains and they look really cool. But first a police check stop. The young guy comes up and asks where we are from - Canada, then in English he say Why are you here? We’re tourists! and smile. He smiles and asks for our passports and then says to go - with a smile. First check stop that the policia spoke English :)  

Today we are only going about 150kms to what sounds like a nice quiet spot off the highway near a canyon :)  We still see adobe houses since most of the people living in this area of Argentina are the native Quechua - which are also in Bolivia and north. But we are seeing more European type cars on the road instead of Chinese or Japanese cars like we have been seeing. 

We get to the parking spot for the night right next to a nice red canyon. We see lots of people returning from the hike to thru the canyon, we’ll do that hike to tomorrow. We then realized we lost another hour - we now on Toronto time.  Another overland drives by and parks close to the the entrance to the hike.  They are from France.  I make something different for dinner Chicken Milano, pretty tasty and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine that we bought in a small store on the way here. Bought a litre box for 65AP about $1.50!! LOL!!! Next time I’ll really splurge and buy a bottle, but those are usually to big to put in our fridge and also only 750ml 😂

Nice area for spending the night

When we wake up in the morning it’s nice a sunny. Had a great quiet sleep but unfortunately the sky was cloudy so never got to see any stars. After breakfast we head out for our hike. Suppose to be 2km one way. On the way we stopped and talked to the French couple. They are about our age and are now heading towards Uruguay to park their camper until July so they can fly back to France for a visit. They have already travelled to Ushuaia in December and said it was very cold. Hope that when we get there by Dwayne’s birthday (end of Feb) it won’t be so cold! He’s lucky he always gets to enjoy having his birthday in different countries! I always get to spend mine (June) in either Alberta or BC LOL!!!

After talking with the French couple for about 15 mins we head out for our hike. We’re not hiking up high but we are still at 9500’ so still tough just walking uphill a little! But the view is great. The French couple had said the hike was magnificent!  As it turns out we followed the maps.me trail and it took us to the base of the mountains, but there was no canyon. As we walked back we see some people walking back from another direction so we head there. Now we actually find where the river flows (during the rainy season, it’s dry now) The walk thru here is great. Reminds us of other red mountain trails we’ve taken back in Arizona and Utah 😅 (yes Sue I hear Greg in the back of my head but don't tell him! 😂)  But there are not bus loads of people being dropped off here! We are the only ones walking thru here. Guess it continues for quite aways but I’m pooped so we head back. We get back just after 12 and have hiked 6km. Time to get back on the road and head to Salta. 

Oh so this is where we were suppose to go!

Odd looking plants growing on these rocks

We travel thru the mountains and see more great views. Once thru the mountains we end up taking what I thought was the main highway to Salta but instead it’s an older road. Looks like the roads in Holland where we weren’t sure if we were driving on a bicycle path or a road! It’s very narrow, Vanna doesn’t even fit in the lane :) The road is in good shape other then when a car comes from the other direction each vehicle had to drop a wheel off the pavement to be able to pass!  The road is very windy but it’s so nice driving thru all these trees.  

Dressed up gauchos??

They even have bicycle paths here!

Love this road

But it is a little narrow!

As we get closer to Salta it is almost 4pm so instead of driving in and finding a place to park in the city, we’ll look for something outside in the country.  The first place we stopped at looked like a great place, had to pay but it had nice shelters for the tables. But the guy at the gate told us it was not for overnight parking :( So we continue on and then find a place along the river. We drive thru a gravel business to get to it but hopefully we can stay here tonight and not get told to move!  

Our parking spot along the river

Across the river are some nice houses

Salta in the background

Families having fun in the river, even though it's not very clear

Some are enjoying fishing and family time

We got thru the night and now look forward to seeing Salta, plus get groceries and get some laundry done and get my cell phone working!!

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