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Published: January 26th 2008
We arrived into Salta about 10pm at night after a long day on the bus. It was definitely a great drive though, great scenery, and driving down the last few mountains - literally through the clouds - was quite unique! After dumping our gear at the hotel we went for a wander down town to find some food before we crashed out. Wandering around the streets at 11pm, the streets were really busy, loads of activities going on, loads of people and families wandering around! It was a pretty cool place to be. We went to the Main plaza where there was lots of al fresco dining, a brilliantly lit church and loads of museums up above the restaurants. Salta definitely has a great vibe! Anna recommended a place for Saltenas, Salta's own famous version of the traditional 'empanada'. We headed off there and grabbed a whole box full from the restaurant and headed back to the hotel, munching on the most delicious Saltenas - yes, we were instantly addicted! They were soooo good!
The next morning we jumped on a tour to Cafayate, a famous wine region 3 hours from Salta. We stopped on the way for a few
photos of the huge canyons and amazingly coloured cliffs - we're talking mountains that look like someone has painted them with numerous shades of yellow, red, blue, green and brown! It's quite special! We also stopped at Garganta del Diablo, the "Devil's throat". We finally arrived at Cafayate and went to the first winery - Bodegas Nanni where we had a very brief tour followed by much longer sampling of various wines. This is one of the most famous vineyards in the area, having produced wine since 1900 and being fully organic. The wines here were largely really good! The second vineyard we went to was Domingo which is only 20 years old and had more wine (surprise!) and some good goat's cheese. After this we went to a great restaurant in the heart of quaint Cafayete, then wandered the cute streets of the town. Martin and Thomas found a foozball in the middle of the street near the main square and couldn't resist a few games. Unfortunately I think Martin lost 6-1. We left Cafayete about 2.30pm to head back to Salta. A few more stops were made for photos but by this time, after a long travelling day
the day before, not much sleep and then a really hot day sucking the energy out of us most of us were pretty sleepy on the way back to Salta! We woke up on entering town though and got our driver to drop us off at the Cable car in Salta where we joined a fairly long queue and then took a ride up to the summit of Cerro San Bernardo. There were great views from the top of Salta, which is much larger than we had expected before arriving the night before. The top of the mountain is covered in water fountains and view points and was really cool! About 8pm Thomas and Greta decided to walk back down the mountain and Kay, Emma, Martin and I proceeded to wait for the cable car down. We learned later that a dog from the top of the mountain, which had been following us around, followed Thomas and Greta all the way down the mountain, through the town and to the main plaza! They tried to hide and trick it several times to no avail! What is it with dogs following you in these countries??? :-) Kay, Emma, Martin and I
grabbed a taxi at the bottom and went to the Main plaza for dinner. We looked for alfresco dining in the main square, but most people appeared just to be drinking, so we realised 9pm was a bit early for food and found a fantastic restaurant just off the main square. We wandered in in our boardies and singlets and it turned out to be completely silver service (!!) but they didn't care in the least we were under-dressed so we quickly got over it and had a fantastic meal with amazing Argentian steaks! YUM! Had a great night, and couldn't believe it when we realised we'd managed to spend several hours at the restaurant and it was by now quite late!
The following day we were up early-ish for our flight through to Buenos Aires. The first thing that hit us on arrival in Buenos Aires just after midday was the humidity. We'd gone from a gorgeous dry heat to a sea-level-sticky-heat. We dropped our gear at the hotel and took to the streets to explore the local area. It was crazy to be in such a modern, fast paced city again after several weeks of desolate plains
or much smaller and slower paced villages! It was a bit overwhelming at first before we quickly got used to the city rat-race again! That night we went to an Argentian Tango Show (when in Argentina...). It started with a 1 hour tango lesson which was ok except for the elderly South African couple who insisted on banging into us with every single step we took.... we ended up spending the lesson running to the opposite side of the room everytime they moved ;-) Afterwards we had dinner and watched a dance show featuring 6 dancers, which also consisted of several skits and songs all in Spanish.... We'd been told the show included free alcoholic drinks (every type of drink you could imagine...!) This turned out to be house wine and beer.... disappointing for Kristi who is a spirit fiend, but Martin managed to enjoy the local beer and liven up the show ;-) After the show we tried to get a drink somewhere with the guys, being our last night in South America (!) Surprisingly, it took us ages to find somewhere still open but managed finally to find a drink and sat at some pavement tables which was
The next day was the day we flew home to Auckland, we could barely believe it and were both sad to be stopping travelling and excited to be going home! We said good-bye to Emma, Kay, Thomas and Greta in the morning, then with Nick spent the morning wandering the local area. We walked to the famous scene of Evita's "Don't cry for me Argentina" speech for compulsary photos and then wandered down to San Telmo where there is usually a lot of street tango dancers. There weren't any out this early, but we had a good look around the street markets that were opening up. Next up was another (Compulsary) stop at a Havaiana shop so Kristi could stock up on jandals for herself and a few gifts for family. At about this time Martin started to panic because he'd tried 299 new beers this year and there was no way he wanted to go home without hitting magical number 300! We walked from shop to shop but kept finding 'Quilmers' and couldn't find a new beer! As luck would have it we finally found one - and the beer 'Patagonia' became Martin's 300th new/different beer to
be tried on the trip. Not only this, but he rated it a hard-to-get 10 out of 10!!! Ironic since the only other 10 he's given a beer is Singha, which was the first beer he had on our trip way back 12 months ago in Bangkok!! Sitting out on the streets drinking this new found beer was a pretty perfect way to end our trip of a year. Before we knew it we realised the taxi would be waiting back at our hotel to take us to the airport - so there was a brisk walk back to the hotel where the taxi arrived a minute after us! Phew! We piled in our stuff, felt bad as we ran out of time to go and say farewell to Anna, and left for Buenos Aires airport.... our trip was unbelievably coming to an end! We had just 2 more flights, 24 hours of travel ahead of us, before we'd be back in sunny Auckland!
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