Barren Dry Heat

(but harvest nonetheless…)

We also cycle together the following days. Those two Pauls have plenty to talk about. We camp at the only calf-deep stream for miles around after two ladies recommended that spot to us. When we asked for water at their house earlier, they invited us into the shade, poured us ice-cold water and treated us to apricots, grapes and figs from their own garden. The ladies told us that the ‘river’ that runs through the valley has been dry for at least five years. It rarely rains there, at most occasionally in winter. When we cycle away from them we are given a large bag of apricots and we take a picture together. They go big on the hospitality of the Chileans! And we must honestly say that since we left the Carretera Austral, we have been able to taste it more and more often. A little later at the stream a woman brings us armfuls of grapes. The thickest and sweetest I’ve ever tasted. A young man just brings us a bottle of peach juice. We haven’t even spoken to these people and even after their donation they wordlessly get into the car and drive away while we wave goodbye and shout after them with ‘MUCHO GRACIAS’ and ‘MUY AMABLE’ (very nice!!).

The next day we only have two things to do: descend and find a campsite. We zoom down and accept the (too) high price for a pleasant campsite with a swimming pool. The price suddenly becomes a lot more reasonable when I discover that there is a fig tree in our field that is full of deliciously sweet ripe figs! These figs on a slice of brown bread baked by Paul with butter, walnuts from a greengrocer and goat’s cheese bought along the road are a luxurious feast for me. We laze by the pool and celebrate our ‘half-year travel anniversary’ with dinner in a delicious vegetarian restaurant on the square! We had no idea this town was so touristy. But it turns out, as someone tells us, the “astronomy capital of the world.” Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration? But it is true that there are several observatories in the area because it is one of the places in the world where the starry sky can be seen best. Both of us interested in the universe, we use this opportunity to also do a ‘stargazing tour’. Not to a real observatory, but with a small organization to a telescope outside the city. There we receive an explanation about various celestial bodies and can view them through the telescope. All in all it is a nice outing, although, except for the moon, the stars remain mainly ‘bright points of light’ through this telescope.

Nice right?
More about that in the next blog…

For now, a very warm greeting from San José de Jáchal.

2 thoughts on “Barren Dry Heat”

  1. Jeannet Folkerts

    What an amazing trip and love all the photos! Stay safe, so nice to follow-up you both!
    Groetjes, Jeannet

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