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Published: April 6th 2013
We arrived in Salta at around 6.30am after our last, crazily expensive, 18 hour bus journey in Argentina. Wooooooo! After a short taxi ride we got to the hostel and luckily there were some beds free in our dorm so we got to nap for a few more hours. When we got up, we got showered and headed into the main plaza for breakfast where there are lots of little cute plaza-side cafes. We also went to do some exploring of its beautiful colonial architecture and museums - on the way of course I got followed by yet another stray dog. This had become an all to common occurrence for me in Argentina and I'm hoping it won't be continuing in Bolivia.
After breakfast we managed to shrug off our stray dog and headed to the Museo de Arqueologica de Alta Montana to see the exhibition of three child mummies that were discovered at the top of the Llullailaco volcano, on the Chilean border. We learnt that the children had been of noble families and were sacrificed as the Inca people believed this would help prevent famine and disease in the community. A ceremony took place and the children were
given alcohol and coca leaves before being buried alive along with symbolic figurines wrapped in intricate fabric. Due to the freezing cold conditions on top of the volcano, the children's bodies along with the ornaments and textiles buried with them were almost perfectly preserved. We got to see one of the mummified children, a 6 year old girl nicknamed La niña del rayo (lightning girl). She'd apparently been struck lightning sometime after the burial and she had marks across her face. Her body was on display but kept in a temperature controlled perspex box. It was quite spooky seeing the body of someone who had died hundreds of years ago and still being able to make out her facial features.
The museum was all really interesting but at the same time quite sad to see that the lives of these three children had been taken away from them so early on due to some strange beliefs. We found out from interviews that the Incas believed that the children didn't die up in the mountains, but instead they joined their ancestors and watched over their villages from the mountaintops like angels. After the museum we then spent the rest of
the day trying to plan our route to Bolivia and buying bus tickets.
Later that night we went out for dinner with some guys from our hostel and indulged in our last Argentinian steak which didn't disappoint. The restaurant was called El Viejo Jack and had been recommended to us by the hostel. Me and Jon shared the Bife de Chorizo. It was huge, it looked like we had got the cows arse cheeks and the meat just melted in your mouth. We didn't think we would be able to eat it all again but I ate mine even quicker than Jon much to his disgust as he was struggling to finish his half. We had a great night drinking lots of red wine and having fun with our waiter who was showing us lots of tricks with his bow tie and kept offering us coca leaves telling us it would help our food go down. I think he was after a nice big tip!
On our second and last day in Salta, we were getting our bus to the Bolivian border La Quiaca at 12.00am that night. We had planned on taking the cable car up to
Cerro San Bernardo to see the views of Salta and the Lerma Valley in the afternoon but unfortunately it was super cloudy so we wouldn't of seen a great deal. Instead we ended up spending the day doing "travel admin" and I stalked the hostel dog, a super cute beagle called Luna. Travel admin involves writing blogs, internet banking, uploading photos, catching up on emails and letting our parents know we are alive and well.
Later on that evening we spent our time chilling out at the hostel with our new kiwi pal Devon waiting to get our bus and ate lots of Empanadas. We also spent quite a lot of time trying to fend off Luna who constantly tried to eat our food and hump Jon's leg - he was not impressed - I loved it!
We didn't end up doing a great deal in Salta as it was really just a place to get our stuff together and make our plans for Bolivia. We had 3 amazing weeks in Argentina though, experienced things we would never of thought of doing or seeing and met some incredible people along the way that I'm sure we will keep
in touch with and never forget. Off to Bolivia now though so let's see if it can compete with Argentina and the great times we've had already.
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