Welcome back to civilisation as we know it...
Trip Start Nov 29, 2008
38Trip End May 08, 2009
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Argentina is so different to anywhere else we've been, we actually felt the culture shock when we arrived. We stopped to stare at all the nice restaurants, paved roads with road signs, complete buildings and lack of chicken feet and dogs. It was all very exciting. Salta is a beautiful city in Northern Argentina with a fairytale pink Cathedral and lots of really nice buildings and squares and parks. It has a cafe culture similar to what you would find in Europe which we took full advantage of.
We arrived from Chile after a stunning journey through desert, mountains (we went up to 5000m) and crazy rock formations. At the border between Chile and Argentina we were all taken off the bus with our rucksacks and taken into an enormous warehouse where we put down our rucksacks and then we all had to line up against the wall...we felt a bit like it was a line up! Then they brought out the dog. It thoroughly sniffed all our bags (for fruit, vegetables and drugs) but luckily Louisa sneaked through her precious illegal Earl Grey Tea Bags. On the journey we also saw lots of mountain goats and Jill saw a rabid dog heading for some which wasn't cool. The first thing we did when we arrived was to find a pub and have our first proper pint of the trip...mmmm.
We spent lots of time in cafes people-watching and having nice midday drinks. One evening we went for steak and chose our restaurant by the plaza based on the young football team sat in that very restaurant. We are so shallow. And our steak was so delicious - Argentina is known for its steak and we can see why.
We also went to the Museum of the High Mountain which was about children who were sacrificed to the mountains during Inca times because they worshipped their god of Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and believed that they had to make sacrifices to her for good harvests etc. One of the strangest things was that the children who were sacrificed (these were the most beautiful children from the most prestigious families) believed it was a great honour to be chosen and were happy to be sacrificed because they would then go to be with their ancestors and watch over the earth. Before they were sacrificed they were taken to Cuzco (the spiritual centre of the Inca empire) and then they had to walk in a straight line back home, over mountains and through rivers. When they got home they were given alcoholic chicha and taken to the mountains where they were left in caves with lots of riches. It was really sad and quite shocking to read about it and what was more shocking was that the museum also displayed the bodies of 2 of the children of the mountain. The mummies were over 500 years old but perfectly preserved by the cold - they looked like they could wake up at any time. It was really quite harrowing but extremely interesting.
On a lighter note when we went to buy our bus tickets to Buenos Aires, we went with one company because there was a beautiful Sales Rep - he had the most amazing blue eyes so we couldn't say no. Luckily he gave us a much better discount than any other company so it was ok.
Loving Argentina with its beautiful friendly people, great food and laid-back and fun atmosphere.