Sunday, November 7, 2010

Salta la Linda

Argentines call this northwestern city "Salta la Linda" (Salta the Beautiful), and over the course of the two weeks we spent in the region, Salta really grew on us - nice people, cheap and tasty food, and lots of fun things to do.

You literally cannot buy a beer in a smaller size.

The Architecture

Salta has some gorgeous churches, museums and other colonial buidings, especially centered around the main square, Plaza 9 de Julio.  We didn´t actually go inside many of them.  But we did walk around them repeatedly, one of us waiting for the perfect light for a photo, and the other of us whining that this was boring and we´ve taken this picture a thousand times and she was going to go get a coffee.

Salta by night

Salta by day

Cerro San Bernardo

To the east of the city (note: knowing this is vital to orienting yourself, because each map of Salta that we saw was oriented in a different direction, some to the north, some to the west, ARGH) lies Cerro San Bernardo, a huge hill reachable by gondola that boasts a lovely park at the top.  We also heard that you could reach the top by doing "a nice little hike," so we set out by foot.  The nice little hike turned out to be 1100 steps, plus an uphill road portion, in the blazing hot sun.  At least we were carrying water -- there were some other hikers doing it with a 2 liter of coke.  Once we'd finally staggered into the park, sweaty and thirsty and sunburned, we walked around for a little bit and then took the gondola back down.  Every time thereafter that we told a local person that we walked up and took the gondola down, they told us we were loco and that we were supposed to do it the other way around.

We thought we near at the top, but we soon discovered we had about 300 more steps to go.  It was a sad moment.

It's too bad Dave can speak, but can't really read, Spanish..

Yeah, not your typical hiking outfits (sequins, polo tee).  It was laundry day.


Salta has lots of museums, but we´re on vacation from all that boring stuff so we only went to one:  the Museo de Arqueologia de Alta MontaƱa (MAAM).  In 1999, archeologists discovered an ancient Incan ceremonial site, where, after walking to Cusco (yes, Peru - that's like a 50 hour bus ride!) and back, specially selected children were sacrificed to the gods high in the Andes mountains.  Because of the high altitude and cold, dry weather conditions, the children (and the items they were buried with) were perfectly preserved for over 500 years and are now on display at MAAM.  It was totally crazy.  We weren't allowed to take photos, so click here to see some.

The Food

This deserves a post of it's own.  But here's a teaser....

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