23:00 - Had quite a long day today. Slept terribly last night. Jolanda snored the whole night and the traffic felt it was in our room. For a small town it sure is busy! Early start (6:45 breakfast and 7:15 on the minibus). The weather was miserable...gray and rainy. We drove to Kafayate, about 200km south of Salta. Our guide for this trip was a local woman, Vanessa. She lived for 10 years in Italy when she was a child when her family decided to escape the regime at the time. She spoke excellent italian. On the way we saw some little brick altars surrounded with red hankerchiefs by the side of the road. Vanessa told us the story: many many years ago there was a gaucho called gauchito Gil. This gaucho was the equivalent if Robin Hood. A nasty sheriff despite the help Gil was receiving by the common people, caught him and decided to execute him. It was customary to avoid dieing by mistake, to insert the symbol of the saint death (death in these parts is a saint) under your skin (a tiny skeleton). Gil's dieing wish to the sheriff was that the symbol be removed so that his soul would be released from his body once he was dead. The sheriff did this for him using a knife and then cleaned the blood off with a piece of cloth that became red with the blood. At this point Gil told the sheriff that as a consequence of his kindness, his son that was very ill, would get better. The sheriff thought Gil was just trying to waste time as he knew he was going to be hung very shortly, so he ignored him and killed gauchito Gil. When he arrived home, he found that his son was better. He went back to where he had killed gauchito Gil and hung the blood stained cloth as a mark of respect and gratitude. From then on, gauchito Gil became the patron of travellers and those who believe in him salute him when they pass these little altars spread along the routes. Poor gauchito Jil! By the time we got to the first part of the Lerma valley, the weather improved and by lunchtime the sun was out :-). Kafayate is at the end of a beautiful drive through the valley with amazing rock formations and colours. Really breathtaking. It reminded me of the trip to Death Valley but here the views seem to go on forever (about 80km). Once in Kafayate we visited a couple if wineries and did winetasting. The area produces a lot of great wine. We had a faboulous lunch in the main square (some people actually didn't as they preferred taking a look at the markets). Me, Sally, Phil and Alison then decided to try the wine ice cream (it's an alcoholic sorbet). Nice for what it is but I still prefer my creams :-). We then drove back making a couple of stops to take pictures and for refreshments at a place that kept goats (cute). People in the valley are really isolated and survive on goats and artisan work that they sell to tourists. The biggest settlement (excluding Kafayate which is outside the end of the valleys) is a tiny village with 10 families and a primary school. It was a really tiring day and the main thing we brought back with us were the views. I don't think even the pictures do it justice. Really beautiful. When we got back to the hotel we split up again and some of us went for dinner with Sally in a typical Salta restaurant. We ate a funny looking stew of vegetable and meat. It wasn't at all bad and it was the first proper dinner not involving steak. I've just finished repacking as tomorrow morning we have a REALLY early start...The alarm is set at 5:15 :-(((. We take a bus to San Pedro de Atacama. 8 hours up and down mountain winding roads...