Three weeks ago northern Argentina was a white stain on the map for us, we did not know that there was even something west of Paraguay in Argentina. Thanks to our friend Maja from Buenos Aires, who recommended us to go there, we have discovered an amazing region and what was really nice about it, we went there with no expectations. Our first stop in this part of the country and our return to nature was Tafi del Valle.
The road up to Tafi del Valle was a long constant upward climb full of switchbacks and cliffs. It followed a river from above. The bus driver would often honk before he went around the corner becasue the turn was too sharp to see around it, and the road too narrow to avoid the traffic that wasn’t seen. I don’t remember how we decided to stop in Tafi del Valle, but I know that we were not expecting the clean, tourist welcoming mountain town that we found. The main street was full of stands and stores with local crafts. They had a beautiful things made of clay, knitted clothes, local cheeses and honey.
We went for a good long hike down a dirt road and around a man made reservoir to the neighboring town El Mollar to check out an open air museum featuring stone carvings done by the previous inhabitants of the land many years ago. The walk was nice but the museum was pretty anticlimactic. We caught the bus back instead of enduring the ten kilometers walk back.
We made a friend with a big dog at our campsite. On the first night we fed him with pieces of our asado (Argentinian traditional charcoal barbecue). The dog must have liked it because after that he was walking with us everywhere. It was a really well behaved dog, every time we entered a store or another building he would waited for us outside. Last day, before moving on, we hiked up a nearby hill which gave us a view of Tafi del Valle, the adjacent town, and the surrounding mountains. The entire way up the dog was following us. We assumed that it was a pretty old dog and at the top he was barely able to breath and his muscles were shaking. We tried to give him some water, but he was too tired to drink. There was a little trail to another hill, but we decided to skip it, worrying that our new buddy would follow us there too.