Cactuses, mountains and llama meat
Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
20Trip End Ongoing
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Our plan was already to be in Bolivia in this time but we kept finding little mountain villages and hearing more recommendations so couldn't drag ourselves away that fast!
First we got side-tracked in Tilcara, a small village of around 5600 people, at about 2500 m high in the Andes.
Part of the reason we ended up spending three nights here was the wonderful hostel we found. Beautiful modern wooden cabanas hidden away in the greenery of the mountains, the Malka hostel must be one of the nicest hostels in the country. It has the feel of a Buddhist retreat. When going to have breakfast in the cafe it took us quite a while to stop sighing at the dramatic mountain views and even to notice food.
But ironically we weren't able to spend enough time in this beautiful home as there were too many trekking opportunities to the near-by areas that could not be missed
The biggest attraction of Tilcara is Pucara- the reconstructed ruins of pre-inca cultures, dating back to about 10 000 years. This was a stunning scenery the likes we have not seen- huge cactuses around the prehistoric ruins to the back-drop of fine mountain views. We went mad on taking photo after photo!
The same day we also took a bus to the neighbouring village of Purmamarca- the attraction of this place is the Cerro de Siete Colores- hill of the seven colours. It was freezing cold and the wind wanted to blow us off the viewing platform here, but we went back home filled with unforgettable views that day.
The other trip we took was to the Gargantua del Diablo- devils throat, which was a long hike of about 10 km up and down to a canyon with a water-fall. Such a tiring day- we found that we had perhaps taken to trekking a little too hard and fast...We got sun-burnt, dehydrated, our limbs ached... it was funny how a few days of mountain climbing could leave young and relatively fit people so destroyed! We were beat but very happy!!
Also have to mention that the culture of this area is another major attraction. Everywhere strange images and art with devils and night-marescapes, carvings of horny demon heads- scary but extremely interesting! In the evenings we were in the pena which is a tavern/restaurant with local live music, very traditional instruments the likes of which we had never seen. As llamas are the main animals of this region we decided to try the llama milanesa- llama steak pounded and fried in flour- very tasty! Another treat was locro- a hearty stew of corn, meat and vegetables, usually beans, onions and pumpkin. A very welcome meal especially as the night-time in these heights can get quite cold!
All in all- a near-perfect part of the trip!