I visited Salta with Etienne from Switzerland and Valerie from Germany, and enjoy it we did. Salta is a pretty, very atmospheric town, with a completely different vibe of that other big city i visited in Argentina, Buenos Aires. The European appeal is completely gone here. A very lively town, full of small shops, pretty churches and plaza, and a population of indigenas and mestizos, Salta offers yet again a different look at this country. We only spent two days here, i intend to come back for another day.
On our first afternoon, we went eating in the indoor market, the first floor of which holds tens of small restaurants, where people without money go to (we did not spot a single tourist, bueno). I had a very tasty humita (corn leaves filled with a paste of pumpkin, corn and some undefined other things), accompanied by fresh papas fritas. Huge portions! After that, we visited the museum of archeology, displaying the remains of a girl sacrificed by the incas on the top of a volcan. The cold and low amount of oxygen conserved her body and that of two other children perfectly, it's a very weird encounter with a 500 year old human being (well, was-ing). Also on display were artefacts buried with the children, all accompanied by very good explanations of the items and inca life. It's impressive how their society was organised and managed, and which role these sacrifices played, both politically and religiously.
Nearly freezing ourselves, we went looking for winter clothes. I got myself a new scarf (sadly, i lost my trusty previous friend scarf on a bus) and a lama hat, items i'm already very much in love with. In the market, we hunted down vegetables and goat cheese, which we turned into tasty impro-burritos afterwards. Spicy lentil stew, guacamole, salad and goat cheese do make for a perfect meal - and the local dark beer fit the dish perfectly.
The next day, we explored town a bit more, visiting the churches (looking better on the outside) and a market, before venturing into a pool game in a shabby hall full of old smoking boys. This was fun. And yet again, food was magic (i do realise food takes a maybe obsessive importance in my life). We made milanesas de berenjena a la napolitana, schnitzels of aubergine with mozzarella, tomato, oregano and garlic on top. Later on , we ventured into the Salteña nightlife, in which you apparently have the choice between 'musica electronica, pero no hay chicas alla' and 'pop, latino y cumbia, con muchas chicas'. Hungry for non-crappy, danceable music, we chose the first option, and went to Inferno Grande, a fine small club with decent margaritas, quite good music and nice people. Before those showed up though, we went to a peña, where live folklore music had the crowd dancing. I got dragged on the dancefloor by a girl from Cordoba, who took a very admirable effort in teaching me the dance - the effort proved succesful in the end. It was a very atmospheric experience that had me laughing continuously.
The next morning came way too early, but the itinerary schedule was set, and off we were, into the Quebrada de Humahuaca.
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