Salta was so beautiful and had a very European in feel. I liked it. It also probably helped that the sun was shining. We were able to see in street cafés, drinking wine and people watching. The food was amazing here and the best of the trip so far. I think I am going to like Argentina.
To catch the bus here I had been told to go to a street in San Pedro. There would be no bus stop, I had to just work out where it would stop - very helpful. Luckily for me when I got there, people had already started to gather and there backpacks in piles. I met Andy and |Emma and chatted to them whilst we waited the increasingly late bus. They had gone super cama and I was envious. This is a seat which literally reclines to a flat bed. I had an executive cama - a extra wide seat but does not recline fully and the seat in front of you reclines over your legs. They are OK but it really is difficult to get a good night's sleep. We arrived quite late into Salta and I grabbed a cab to the hostel. The hostel were greata nd even ordered food in for me. I had my first taste of Empanadas - an Argentinian speciality. Just imagine a dried out cornish pasty. Not the greatest but at least it was food.
The next day I met Marianne for a coffee. I nearly missed her altogether. I hadn't realised that Argentina was 1 hour ahead of Chile. I was hanging at the hostel, taking my time when I saw the clock and thought it must be wrong. It was - I had 10 minutes to get to the rendezvous point! I didn't even have time for a shower, I threw clothes on and ran out of the door. My hair which is now getting a bit longer was having a riot and I looked like a mad scientist!!! Better to look eccentric and be there than miss her. We had our coffee and decided it might b e a god idea for me to have a shower and do something about the hair.
In the afternoon we went horse riding with Gauchos. We were taken out to a ranch in the countryside. It was so beautiful here and really peaceful. We had a Argentinian BBQ which basically means lots of meat. I felt like I had eaten half a cow by the end of it. It was superb, the meat in Argentina is amazing. Having filled our bellies we were ready. I ended up in the calmest,, slowest horse ever. It was a real pain. He didn't actually seem to want to move, happiest when taking in the view and holding everyone up!! We went up into the mountains, across creeks, through tightly knitted forest and out into openings with sensational views across the valley. At the end we were supposed to gallop but my horse didn't want to. He needed a rocket up his bum. On the speed scale I would say that me and him were polar opposites. At the end, Mate tea and homemade bread was waiting for us. It was a lovely afternoon. The guy who owned the ranch drove us back into town. He was a real chance. My and Marianne had to squash into the front, which meant I was quite close to the gear stick. I tried to keep clear but he didn't seem to mind as every time he changed gear he had a good grope of the leg - urghhhh! I was thankful not to be dropped off last especially when I found out he had actually tried to snog the last girl. I probably would have kneed him in the balls and would have found myself in even deeper trouble. As it was he gave me a card and said if I needed anything and he meant anything then I had to call him. I don't think so!
Met Jane Bruccoleri in Salta - seen her more in South America than I do in the UK in one year. It is so lovely to meet family when you are so far from home. We went to a Museum in the middle of town. The Incas sacrificed children in very special ceremonies. They would drug them and take them high up on the mountains and would leave them there. I would imagine they would die of hypothermia. I hope for their sakes that they never awoke from their drugged state and therefore felt no pain. In the seventies, they found 3 such children and their remains are in this Museum. It was an amazing exhibition and we actually got to see one of the children. Due to the sub zero temperatures they have been perfectly preserved. It was strange as the child looked like she was a sleep and would awake any minute. More than 500 years old but looked alive. It was very sad.
I did a self guided walk round the city. It is not too large and it was so nice to meander around. There are some beautiful buildings. The city has a lovely vibe to it. Also went up the Teleferica (cable car to me and you)/ This took you high above the city to give you a birds eye view. It was very peaceful up there with water features creating a much needed breeze and calming sounds in the background. We chilled here for quite a bit before deciding to walk down the many steps to the bottom.
I really liked it here and there is actually so much to around here. I would definitely come back and explore in more depth. For now I have to move on as there is only 4 weeks left of this amazing journey.