Friday, December 14, 2007

Salta - Campo Alegre Lake

We were still in the beautiful city of Salta staying in our new home away from home, the family operated Las Rejas B&B. By the time we left, we were considered more part of the furniture than part of the family...

One day we decided to book a tour with the owner´s son Fran. He took us to the beautiful Campo Alegre Lake to go canoeing but we got a little more than we bargained for. Not only was the weather freakishly perfect, we were literally the only people there!

We effortlessly canoed from one side of the lake to the other. I barely had enough time to learn my right from left when we had slid into the lake´s premium parking spot.

When we got off the canoe, we noticed strange pink gelatinous looking formations all over the rocks. Fran pointed out that this was actually snail caviar. Unfortunately though the snails themselves were not pink...

Fran, an esteemed member of Friends of the Mountains (or some such group) was in a privileged position of being able to lead us up a hill, any hill of our choosing, which did not have a marked route. We were clearly satisfied at mounting this virginal hill.

We climbed back down the hill and hopped into our awaiting canoes. A rather quiet Jez was examining his foot and warning me that it best I don´t ask any questions. He tried in vain to scrape something off but it was proving rather difficult. Fran piped up with, "it´s only leeches" which naturally got me wondering if I too had picked some up. When I looked underneath my feet and saw them crawling around, I panicked in a way only a woman would understand.

We had picked them up from walking barefoot in the mud. I vowed I would never, under any circumstances do that again! Jez on the other hand, didn´t learn his lesson and managed to pick up a new set of leeches later on. Fortunately, they are not the same blood-sucking, impossible-to-remove leeches we know and hate in Oz. We learnt that to remove these ones, the following method must be employed:
1. Let the skin dry; 2. Dried out leeches die instantly; 3. Flick them off. Not as much fun as setting them alight, or as Jez can testify squashing them to death with your butt, but effective nonetheless.

We canoed out to an idyllic swimming spot to cool off. We dived into the water and waded around blissfully soaking up our private paradise. As it so happened, our private paradise wasn´t so private after all. When we hopped back into our canoes, we saw a field full of horses, sheep, goats and ducks. We got out of our canoes to befriend them but they weren´t that excited about our presence.

Perhaps it was the sight of all that moo and baa but we were ready for lunch and Fran had picked out the perfect restaurant...only it wasn´t that simple. We would need to cycle there. This is where I would learn the subtle art of gear changing Click here to read further about my downhill bike riding fiasco.

We were a little flushed from the ride but delighted to be in yet another seemingly undiscovered beautiful sanctuary. Lunch was fresh fish, icy cold lemonade and helados artesanales (home-made ice cream). Salta had not seen the last of the JeTZ as later we would return to recover from our travels to Boliviar...

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