Roads to the Northwest

Salta, Argentina — December 2011

A road leading to the horizon in one straight line. This is the most lasting impression of the first stretch of our journey from Buenos Aires to the border town of La Quiaca. Driving through monotonous landscapes for hours at a time, the only visual distraction came from red sheds flanking the roadside. These shrines to Gauchito Gil, something of a saint to the Argentinian people, are supposed to protect drivers from the dangers of the road. Judging from the number of overthrown and squashed cars we passed by, he does not always manage.

The view from the window of our Ford Taunus changed drastically on the second day of driving. Crossing the Valle Calchaquíes, we were surrounded by the Andes reflecting light in all imaginable colours.