Continuing heading north, we move on to a different town another 12 hours away on the bus. This place is similar to Cordoba, but on a smaller scale. We arrive at midnight, the bus is late and the taxi driver doesn't know where he's going, but at the Airbnb apartment Vicky is waiting for us. We have a room in her very modern apartment that has good views out to the mountains. However, Steve doesn't notice much of this, as his eyes are fixed on the amazing scenery in the apartment where there are a number of bikini shots of Vicky. In fact, all of the framed photos are of her. A little bit vain pethaps?
Salta is a small town and we walk around looking at churches and plaza's and go into the Museum De Arqueologia Del Alta Montana that exhibits, amongst the usual ceramic pots and early weapons, a perfectly perserved body of a six year-old boy scarificed 500 years ago.
The Inca's believed that it was a huge honour to sacrifice their children as an offering to the Sun God and in 1999 three mummified children were found at the 6,739 metre summit of Volcan LLullaillaco. There was a13 year old maiden, a six year old boy and girl thought to have been there for 500 years. The high level of preservation is due to the freezing temperatures at this altitude. They were found adorned in ceramonial clothes, jewellery and head-dresses and in a slumped seated position. Tests on their hair and cocoa leaves found in their mouths found is evidence that they were given mind altering substances, including cocoa and chicha (alcohol made from maize) on their journey up the mountain. Maybe that helped them accept their grim fate, but they were unconcious by the time they were carried to the top. It is believed they actually died from hypothermia, but just to be sure, they each took a blow to the head with a blunt instrument. (Blinkin kids today don't know how lucky they are!)
Coming back to present day, it was quite chilling seeing such a well preserved mummified child on display in their temperature controlled icy chamber.
We also took the cable car up to the top of the hill to look out over Salta. The cable car moved very slowly over some deep drops and we were thankful to get out at the top. Naturally, Eighties pop hits were pumping out at an open-air gym that had been set up there amongst the tourist walkways! Humming along, we appreciated the generous views afforded at the summit. Salta itself is very flat, but surrounded by large mountains in the distance.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink in town and we headed off to an area that was recommended by Bikini Vicky, but found it a little touristy. After a couple of drinks, we decided to head back to a local parilla restaurant, where we shared a parilla mix. We have no idea what this consisted of, but the rubbery tubes may have been intestines, the squishy soft bits could have been some kind of offal, a couple of bits of steak and some sweetbreads maybe? We have no idea and even the chimmichurri sauce didn't help. Luckily though, we had a bottle of Malbec to take away the offending tastes!