Tuesday, July 30, 2013


señales de transito en argentina

Linking Chilecito and Villa Union on Route 40 is one of the pleasures of traveling in La Rioja. As elsewhere in the Northwest, the north-south orientation of ridges and valleys makes west to east travel only possible by winding slopes invented by man. Where geography granted a chance, brave engineers who fought a duel with the law of gravity have drawn  impossible plans. Routes that where not supposed to exist are my favorite! The Argentine Northwest has plenty of this and the Cuesta de Miranda, as the gateway to the North, is a promising appetizer for those challengingRuta 40 from south to north. I thought about all this while the "Blogtrip La Rioja Team" left the Hotel Cañón del Talampaya in Villa Union, where we had spent the night and had breakfast. Before, we had sighted condors in the Quebrada del Condor and done the Talampaya bike tour ...


cuesta de miranda

                                                          Impresionante paisajes de la Sierra de Famatina

                                                                Los infaltables cardones

The distance from Villa Union to Chilecito taking the Cuesta de Miranda  is 105 km. At that mileage every foot is different and memorable. Changing light and perspective, the mountain becomes a carnival of vermilion, ocher and terracotta shades that dance around every bend. (And there are 80 curves). Below, the Miranda river twists between the canyon walls it has created. When Italian engineerVicente Bolalli  built it between 1918 and 1923, to open a passage between the Sierras de Famatina, he respected native building techniques such as embedding stones together. Although today is not obvious, the road overlaps a preexisting a Inca road, whose style was simulated by stonemasons of Croatian origin.

Many of the 105 km are paved, although it has been decided to keep a significant portion of gravel for adventure lovers. It occurred to me to ask our guide who was Miranda. And he could tackle successfully. He told us it was one of those guys who had rented mules and to move goods to Chile. A tiny village called Puerto Alegre marks the last place with water before moving to Villa Union. Apparently, it was where the travellers had fun, 100 years ago....  

cuesta de miranda

It was not the first time I was making the journey. In 2010, the road had been coming to Villa Union from San Juan. That time was not in a combination with heating, but in the Taunus George, a tannery worker, he was going destartalando on the road (the exhaust pipe, which was wired, unhooked and was barking like spoons as a kid we put a plastic cars F-1).

tatuajes para mujer

It strikes me that in life you have to be a bit like the Cuesta de Miranda, and go through all kinds of obstacles and illusions. We know that the most dangerous and heavier chains are the virtual ones. That's why I liked this tattoo one of the girls who joined us on the trip had. Says "Attraversiamo" (in Italian, overcame). Because even though it concerns life it matches well with this area of Route 40 negotiating the heart of Famatina.

“Vuelta al Pique circuit”

secretaria de turismo de la rioja

After taking a picture at one of the viewpoints of the Cuesta de Miranda, we proceeded to Sañogasta, where we find large plantations of walnuts and almonds. We immediately recognized the vines of Colovatti, one of Rioja Malbec masterclasses we tested yesterday, between goat and olives stuffed with pepper and carrot. There, we could have gone straight to Chilecito, but we took the diversion of "Vuelta al Pique", on land only suitable for 4x4 or high vehicles, passing through the village of Guanchín, home to just over 1000 people. This circuit is being promoted as alternative tourism site, with options for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The good thing about taking the Tour of Pique are two. You can visualize the dimension of the Sierra de Famatina, that being separated from Andean system is the highest continental mountains in the world (6,300 mts) and retains eternal snow-capped throughout the year. And the main thing, is an interesting way to get to the next surprise: Station No. 2 Chilecito Cable-lane.

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