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Published: December 12th 2009
We arrived to Argentina in good spirits, even after watching a woman juggle two different young children who both managed to cry at different times and after a short road blockade. A climb over the mountains and some nice scenery down the valleys before arriving evening in Salta, the temperature was lovely and we had a wander around town to the with Rorie and Emer to the main plaza and really surprised how modern Argentina really was. We had to change hostels first thing next morning as the doubles they had told us were available suddenly weren't. No surprise, but we decided to look around and found a really nice hostal in a great location even if the staff were a bit crazy.
We enjoyed our stay very much, we had hot weather, a little more humid than they were accustimed to I was told but it was very nice. Salta was a really lively place, there were 24 hour cafe restaurants and a busy street for nightlife, it was modern and clean. The Argentinian people are very different, much lighter skinned and even many more people with fairer hair than anywhere else in South America. A real European feel about
the place, we ate out a couple of times at nice restaurants to get our first taste of the famous Argentinian steak. I tried the parrillada which is like a mixed grill, the meats (beef, pork, chicken) were delicious, but I have to say their black pudding is not as nice as it is in Ireland, I hate kidney so that barley got a look in, but I managed to put down the tripe although I don't know about next time. The Argentinian wines are just as famous so we have been downing them happily with dinners, although their beer Quilmes is probably the nicest I have had in South America so it is always a big decision, although with the heat the Quilmes has been winning out.
We went up the teleferico with Rorie and Emer to take in the view of Salta, it wasn't a spectacular view but gave a good overall picture of the place and you could really see the heat. After our lovely meal we hit the nightlife of Belcarce street (unusual for us these days) and managed to stay our till 2.30am. We had a good night, I have vague memories but Rorie tells
me that Debs rendition of 'Don´t cry for me Argentina' in the cab and on the way home was a real ear soother. Thank god my memory was impaired!
Anyway we had decided to break the budget and do the Train to the Clouds, meant to be one of the best land journeys in the world. We were up early to the sounds of our hostel revellers returning home from the night before at about 6am, and were on the train early. Now the trip itself was very long, but they do look after you. The scenery may have not been as amnazing as we expected (although looking back at the photos now it does look amazing) but it was a great trip, I think the feat of the engineering is part of what makes it so fascinating. Starting in Salta at 1100m it makes its way up to 4200m, with switchbacks, loops and viaducts to help you get there. The food was kind of average but as the sun went down the entertainment came out to keep us happy, we all enjoyed ourselves, the great folkloria music, a bit of Kareoke and a good time had by all. A
really nice trip, a little long perhaps but something we will always look back on. On leaving Salta we said goodbye to our good friends Rorie and Emer who we had met since arriving in Bolivia, it has been great to have their company and look forward to seeing them in Dublin and as I write this a few days since then I am happy to let you know they are now engaged, only a couple of days since we left them. Congratulations.
We leave Salta very, very happy. A nice surprise, for a relatively small north westerly town of Argentina this place has a lot going for it, it excites us and we can't wait to see more of Argentina.
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