Checking out Salta

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, March 17, 2013

We spent four days in Salta, which is a fairly large city in Northern Argentina. It is popular with tourists, for the big plaza, which is surrounded by colonial buildings and fancy restaurants with outdoor dining. There are numerous churches, cobbled streets and green parks, which gives the city are likeable feel and gives you a desire to want to wander around and explore. Unfortunately the weather was quite poor throughout our stay and always seemed to be threatening to rain.

We did however use the opportunity to get lots of chores completed, including cleaning and fixing the bikes, researching the route, looking up flights and opportunities for after the trip, doing laundry and restocking our food supplies. I also took on the task of eating as much food as I could get my hands on. The hostel was the first one to have a fully equipped kitchen for our use in a long time. We made the most of it and made elaborate dinners every night, including a big roasted beef dinner, with lots of roasted vegetables. It was definitely what we needed after our hard stint to get through Bolivia.

We spent some time walking around the central area, taking photos of the churches and the main square. We also spent some time in a museum, which was dedicated to the high-altitude archaeology in the area. During the Inca time it was believed that if the lives of high-born children were offered to the gods, the fertility of the land and people would continue. The high peaks of the mountains were considered sacred and the selected children were taken there (after certain ceremonies had taken place, and after they had been fed lots of alcohol) then they were entombed beside small figures and textiles, presumably never to awaken. Three such children were found in 1999 near a 6739m volcano close to Salta. The cold, low pressure and lack of oxygen and bacteria helped to preserve the bodies almost perfectly, and they were now on display in the museum. Kory and I walked around the museum with morbid fascination and viewed the little 6 year old girl with disbelief at how well she had been preserved. She had been sacrificed around 800 years previously but still looked like a little girl sitting behind the glass display case. She was displayed in the same position that they had found her in, sitting, hugging her knees, which were bent up to her chest. She was dressed and covered in an elaborately woven blanket and her features were perfectly preserved. It was eerily creepy, and desperately sad that she had her life ended so early. It was a “tourist attraction” that neither of us will forget for a long time.

Other activities included taking the bikes to have a new brake cable, which involved going to a tiny shop, which was filled with junk and bike parts. The guy barely spoke a word to us but quickly and expertly sorted us out for 3 dollars. We also spoke to our families for the first time in about six weeks and both delighted in finally being able to speak to them again. We also chatted to another cyclist who was staying at the hostel with us, he was heading north, so we all happily whiled away the time looking over maps and discussing potential routes.

It was a great four days off but it went too fast and before we know it we are packing up and heading off again. The end of our trip is in sight and it is with mixed feelings that we head towards Buenos Aires.
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Karen on

Amazing architecture!

Natalie on

That children museum is the creepiest thing I have heard of in a long time!!

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