Monday, 31 March 2014

Taking it slowly in Salta

David has a cold.  As a result we are taking it slowly in Salta - probably not a bad thing. We often make the mistake of spending too much time on excursions away from the place we are staying in and never seeing the immediate neighbourhood.


There are lots of excusions from Salta. One of the most famous is the The Train to the Clouds a 16 hour round trip into the Andes to a high point of 4,220 metres. The line traverses tunnels and viaducts as well as zigzagging up what is said to be spectacular mountain scenery. Even in perfect health David would never take the Train to the Clouds. For one thing we both get affected by altitude. The train also has a reputation for mass-market tourism  - too many people, too-high prices and far too exhausting a day. We considered driving the first part of the route, for much of the way the railway and the road run side by side, but decided instead to spend a few days enjoying the ambience of the Estancia and exploring the city of Salta in an unhurried, slow-food kind of way.

Like many towns in Argentina, Salta was once very prosperous and that prosperity is reflected in a heritage of magnificent buildings. Many of them are clustered around the central square. On the northern side of the square the Cathedral has a beautiful blue-tiled dome. We have seen this design now so many times that we realise it must be a typical Argentine style. The interior is peaceful and ornate.

Across from the Church we discover the Museo Historico del Norte. The exhibits are explained only in Spanish but we can understand enough. The real gem of the museum is the building itself with it's long 'hacienda style' verandas. On the eastern side of the square we wander in to the Museo de Arqueologia or maybe it was the building next door - I'm not really sure. The guard on the desk was typically welcoming and invited us in to have a look around - another beautiful building.

We have lunch at McDonalds. - I know, this is a traveller no-no but just for once we want lunch to be quick - with a tradition of long afternoon siestas the Argentines take forever over lunch.  We study the menu - in Spanish - and work out what we should order - in Spanish. The young girl at the cash register- responds in perfect English - I wonder why I bother learning Spanish at all.

Salta Cathedral

Salta Cathedral

Salta's central square

I've got no idea - somewhere on the central square.

This is really clever - renovations underway but a screen print showing the finished product.








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