Getting to Buenos Aires took a while! The journey from Portland took over two days. Once arrived I took a local train, in a sleepy and confused state, from downtown Buenos Aires to a residential area to go sort out the paper work for the rental of the motorbike I will take on this trip. Meanwhile, Benni went to the central bus station to buy the ticket for her bus to Cordoba. Here in Argentina we will head out to the north west region of Salta, in the Andes. We decided to reach San Miguel de Tucuman separately. I would ride the motorbike up alone, while Benni used coaches, which in Argentina are fancy-ish and are the preferred means of transport for long journeys. The reason being that between Buenos Aires and S.M. De Tucuman everything is flat and there and only straight motorways, for 1300km!
The next day I loaded our luggage on the Honda Transalp and started my journey to Cordoba, which took 11 boring hours on straight motorways all the way. Benni's journey was not much more exciting as her bus hardly ever stopped and even though the scenery never changed or got interesting, she got a chance to practice her Spanish. In the meantime I was talking to myself from within my helmet and cursing at the fact that I had to hunt down fuel stations which are hardly ever on the motorway! You have to get out and go find them in villages!
Cordoba was bigger than I imagined but had a nice centre of town and decent places to stay and eat. It was an easy decision to stay here an extra day and rest before taking on another long trip to reach Tucuman. We checked out some very good local eating spots,working class style, very cheap and good. They made us feel like we were eating at home. It is surprising how much Italian culture has been embraced by his country.
The next day we hit the road, once again divided and on two different routes. I on the good side had the chance to go through the Salinas Grandes, salt flats about 100km north of Cordoba. The Salinas were a few km away from the motorway and involved some sandy of offroading to reach. The sand piste were a bit of a maze but thanks to some directions gathered in my bad Spanish and my gps I got there. The salt flats are definitely flat!! They disappear in the distance where the white of the salt blends with the sky. I couldn't help it going flat out on the salt with the Transalp!! Riding on salt is very strange but extremely cool and fun! While I was having fun on salt Benni was "enjoying" movies on her fancy bus to Tucuman.
When we got to Tucuman the city was surrounded and covered by smoke coming from the fields. It seemed like everyone was burning something that evening! So much that it was impossible to see the mighty Andes from right underneath them and it made it quite hard and uncomfortable to ride the bike. I got there late and Benni surprised me with a great hotel room and sweets on my arrival, what a treat!! We went out for some Argentinian steaks and live music show, all excited about finally getting to see the spectacular Andes the next day and finally ride together on some great roads!!