Days: 360-363 (20 June 2015 – 22 June 2015)
Total distance travelled: 80,323.76 kilometres (49,890.53 miles)
Yet another overnight bus, yet another early morning arrival in a new city.
Argentina to date has felt like one long bus ride, punctuated by incredible sights (I’ve a suspicion I may have just mirrored a comment from the previous post here).
Welcome to Salta.
This city in the country’s north-west immediately looked different.
It was another colonial gem, but it was in the people that things had changed.
Here, for the first time in Argentina, we could see signs of indigenous heritage, unlike the bulk of the country where at times, we could be in any European city/country.
Having found our pad after walking a few kilometres into the heart of town (from the bus station), we found ourselves wandering the streets, visiting churches, munching on dulce de leche filled treats, and poking our heads into the odd tour office.
We had it in our minds to visit the UNESCO listed Quebrada de Humahuaca.
Instead, we eventually walked away having booked tours to not only it, but also the Quebrada de Cafayate, two days worth of trips, with the Cafayate leg scheduled in first for the following morning.
With that sorted (both excursions to be covered in the following posts), we hovered around the Plaza 9 de Julio, the heart of the city.
On its lush, orange tree laden fringes (yes, this city square was chock full of fruit bearing citrus trees) sat a great collection of stunning colonial buildings, although if a light pastel pink isn’t to your tastes, then the Iglesia de Salta may not be either…
At least it looked much better on the inside!
We had a couple of nights here in town, and although one of these was in theory a national holiday, Día de la Bandera (National Flag Day), not much was really happening.
Sure, we’d been gifted with a couple of plastic flags whilst in Cordoba, all part of the build up to the event, but this, the actual day was our first experience with a seemingly nation wide manner in which the country deals with such holidays.
If it didn’t happen in this particular city (Belgrano, creator of the flag apparently did so in the city of Rosario, where they get into the day wholeheartedly by all accounts), then they enjoy the day off work or study, but that’s essentially it.
Still, the churches, tastefully lit with decent lighting budgets, looked far less pink in the dark…
We had one final day to kill after our aforementioned tours, time thanks to yet another, you guessed it, overnight bus.
The day was a grey, drizzly, even cold affair, but that didn’t stop is from the odd small excursion.
On the edges of the central plaza sat some municipal buildings, free to the public and wonderfully beautiful inside.
There was also the small matter of sustenance, and we’d been eyeing off a local version of the Argentine Pancho (Hot Dog) with guarded, almost tentative interest.
Eventually we figured, what the hell, let’s get this crap show on the road and ordered ourselves a couple of Panchos.
Nothing ordinary here however, for us only the best would suffice.
Two Super Panchos please!
These we smothered with ketchup, a garlic sauce, sweet corn, parmesan cheese, and the obligatory papa lluvia (as in potato rain, basically potato crisp sticks).
In truth, it wasn’t as horrible as it looks or sounded, but admittedly, there was probably little nutritional value included in the experience.
If not wholesome, at least an interesting farewell to Salta, and the north-west of Argentina…
* From Cordoba to Salta cost us $585.60 pesos per person, travelling with Andesmar (and overnight to save on accommodation).
* We booked a combined Cafayate/Humahuaca tour (over 2 days) with Turismo de la Posada for $570.00 pesos per person. www.turismolaposada.com