The Spendours of Salta, Argentina

February 14, 2016 Worldwide Travel

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Salta is the colonial hot spot of the north of Argentina and deservedly popular as a base for tourists exploring the enthralling scenery of the region.  It’s an easy city to navigate, with lively shopping streets, inviting bars and cafes and  lovely, leafy squares.

The Trundler travelled by bus to Salta from Cordoba. You can make this journey all in one 14 hour ride and the buses, with their wide reclining seats are extremely comfortable. The Trundler, however, chose to break the trip into two sections of around seven hours each, and spent the night in Santiago del Estero, a friendly although not particularly picturesque spot, where the people are famous for  enjoying rest and relaxation rather than work. Or at least that’s what it says in the guidebook. It was a pleasant stopover and a good place for salami sandwiches.

As the bus entered the province of Salta, the scenery grew more more wild and undulating with low tree clad mountains and lush farmland.

Salta itself lived up to its reputation as a delightful city. The Trundler stayed at the elegant Hotel del Virrey on Febrero 20,  a calm, historic hotel with wooden floors, pretty antique furnishings and a delicious breakfast featuring scrambled eggs and fresh media luna.  It was a ten minute walk away from Balcarce,  home of the best bars and cafes, a vibrant Sunday evening market and venues offering performances of La Pena, the traditional Argentinian folk music.

A little further along Febrero 20  was Pajcha, Museo de Arte Etnico Americano,  a fascinating museum with two floors of Latin American art, jewellery, archeological finds and textiles, all part of an impressive private collection.  The guide was brimming over with contagious enthusiasm and the display of Bolivian clothes was particularly dazzling

Also intriguing was the Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montana on Mitre, which provided an insight into Inca culture which is perhaps harder to understand – the ritual of child sacrifice. This was well explained, if not quite justified,  so looking at the mummified child on display wasn’t quite as upsetting as it might have been.

For the best view of Salta, climb the trail from the Guemes Monument near Parque San Martin  to the top of Cerro  San Bernardo. Fuel your trek with a parcel of heavenly empanadas, on sale from a stream of vendors on the way.

It’s a fairly easy walk to the top, but definitely worth getting the cable car down so you can admire the splendours of Salta as you slowly glide through the sky.

Salta has a few snazzy restaurants and plenty of local cafes, serving huge plates of basic, traditional food. The Trundler ate the biggest piece of steak she had seen in her life in one of these friendly joints and despite initial reservations she found it quite delicious She decided against trying the amazing folk dancing she had seen earlier. It was time for another Grido mango ice-cream followed by an idle afternoon lazing in the Plaza 9 de Julio.

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