On March 15th we hopped back into our trusty rental car and said goodbye to Cafayate. The drive brought us back through Salta, into the northwest province of Jujuy, to the small desert town of Tilcara.
The road from Salta to Jujuy (the province of Jujuy’s capital) is the most winding, narrowest road I’ve ever driven. Most of the turns are one lane only. When there are two lanes, the total width of the road is 6 meters. Luckily we never encountered oncoming trucks.
Tilcara stands out among the many other small villages that dot the Quebrada de Humahuaca in northwest Argentina. Like the others, it features a dramatic landscape, indigenous population, traditional food and handicrafts. But as a bonus (at least for us), a handful of very nice and affordable boutique hotels have moved in to take advantage of the warm and dry desert weather. As my 30th birthday was approaching, we splurged a little and stayed at the marvelous Vientonorte.
The draw of Tilcara and the surrounding area includes the landscape and local villages. Each day we explored new markets, local landmarks and beautiful natural scenery.
I had a wonderful 30th birthday. Rachel conspired with the hotel to arrange for a surprise cake. Although she asked for a small one, the good people at Vientonorte determined that we needed a huge, double-layered cake with dulce de leche in the middle, topped with melted dark chocolate and sided with peanut butter icing. No complaints. We spent the afternoon by the pool, I got to speak with family in Wyoming (they thoughtfully threw a dinner party in my absent honor) and we went out to a nice dinner at night. Not a bad start to what Rachel’s referring to as my fourth decade.