Red wine, steak, shopping.....and sunshine!

Trip Start Jun 16, 2007
Trip End Nov 13, 2007

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday 11th August 2007  - Tuesday 14th August 2007

Absolutely love Salta!  Think we have arrived in heaven!

The sun is shining and our woolly hats can be removed for the first time in nearly 2 months!  The city is beautiful, lots of lovely plazas, colonial buildings and pavement cafes and restaurants.   Strange to be back in a modern city, with road worthy cars, rules on the road, and indoor bathrooms, but easy to get used to again!
01 Main Plaza in centre of Salta03 Salta Cathedral
We are treating our time in Salta much like a well needed city break, and it is a perfect holiday destination. 

The shops are great, and as Claire´s trousers have now fully disintegrated from the adventures of the last 2 months, it was the prefect excuse for a spot of shopping!  This however proved more difficult than first thought as every Argentinian girl is extremely skinny with a waist of 5 inches!!  We had been warned about the difficulty of buying jeans in Argentina but as they ate so much steak we had found this hard to believe!  However, despite feeling seriously obese, the shop staff were amazing!  Service unbelievable as they patiently handed me more and more jeans to try!  Felt like I was in the film Pretty Woman! And I found a pair to fit! A total outfit for less than 30 quid, and a fun way to spend the afternoon!  (Sa & Lin - missed you lots!)

Claire was very happy to finally own a pair of jeans, a dressy black top and high heels (but 2 months without is a worthy achievement!) and so we headed out to sample the nightlife of Salta.  Our hostel was perfectly close to bars and restaurants, and we had a great night out!  Ate 2 delicious steaks in a ´parilla´ restaurant packed with locals and live traditional music.  Even with 2 bottles of wine, the meal still only totaled 16 quid!!  We could get used to this. We then headed to a bar to watch a live band and realised our body clocks needed to change for Argentina - the band came on at 1am, and as we left about 3am, the clubs were only just opening!! We must be getting old!!
04 Crazy local band
The next day was Sunday and we spent it in the city park where everyone seems to head. The park was full of people and a bizarre old fashioned style funfair, with toffee apples and hoopla's. The ´mini train´for kids was a ride on lawnmower with carriages attached! After watching the Argentinian kids playing football in the park, we are doubtful that England will ever win a world cup again!    We also took a trip on the cable car up a hill overlooking the city.
05 Sunday in the local park07 View of Salta
After 3 days of steak and wine, we decided we should finally venture out of the city and see some of the surrounding area.  Still in holiday mode, and taking advantage of the exchange rate, we booked onto our first '1st class' tour into the nearby valley.  This was on the so called 'oxybus', a luxury minibus with a pressurised cabin and fresh oxygen pumped in!  This is what we have needed for the last 2 months, and now we are only at  1,500m!  Tour very laid back and treated like royalty!  Saw stunning scenery as we drove through the Quebrada de Cafayate in the Aconquija mountains along the wine route!  Of course the tour we booked included a visit to an organic vineyard in Cafayate where we sampled the vino!  Another great day! 
09 The to blend in with local traffic!10 Driving through the valley12 A drop of wine...
Although very reluctant to leave Salta, we are nearly at the 2 month mark of our trip, and need to get moving.  We therefore booked a bus to Mendoza in central Argentina and got our hats back at the ready as there are reports of snow in this region!  We are hoping that this bus will be better than the last from Chile to Salta - although we had been relieved to see a great bus we were then absolutely dismayed at the dvd collection that we were subjected to (no escaping as these movies are played on all 6 screens at full blast) .  We suffered 6 hours back to back of Grease, a Japanese sword fighting film (counted 50 decapitations in first 10 mins), followed by Micheal Jackson´s Greatest Hits.  Torture.  (Mark - thought of you and what you would have said to the driver!!)

More soon from Mendoza............

lots of love x
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