Pa’l norte, part one: Salta capital

Salta's very pink cathedral

I had two weeks off this past January. I used them to take what was both the cheapest and the most exciting trip I’ve undertaken yet, to the northern Argentine provinces of Salta, Jujuy, and Tucumán. I started by meeting up with my friend Andrew in Salta’s eponymous capital city, where Andrew had been spending the year teaching English with a Fulbright grant. Fulbright teachers aren’t sent to Argentina’s biggest cities, and given the list of possible assignments, I’d say Andrew hit the jackpot.

Beautiful convent doors.

Salta’s a lovely colonial city, anchoring one of South America’s most beautiful highland regions. After a bit of time in Salta, I went north to Jujuy for five days in the Quebrada de Humahuaca–quite probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been–before heading back to Salta to join Andrew and his salteña girlfriend Suzy on a trip southward through Salta province into Tucumán.

A church tower near Andrew's place

I started my trip by catching Argentina’s equivalent of the Chinatown bus: one of the daily coaches operated by “toruism companies” that make the 20-hour trip at half the standard bus fare. I didn’t realize we’d only be stopping once between our 5pm departure and our arrival the next afternoon, or that it’d be at 7:30am the next morning. Needless to say, the roadside restaurant where I’d hoped to buy a cheese sandwich never appeared, so I wound up pulling the ham from my pre-packaged miga sandwhiches and eating miga with mayonnaise for dinner. But we made excellent time, I slept well, and I arrived in Salta excited to explore the city.

Salta capital is a delightful place to spend a few days wandering around; it’s full of old churches and colonial buildings and it has some nice parks, a great anthropology museum, and exceptional views from a nearby mountain overlook well worth the 1000-stair climb. I spent most of my time stumbling upon architectural gems, taking in the view from an eminently hikeable nearby hill, and hanging out with Andrew and his wonderful French housemates. I’ll spare you from further narration right now; when I post about the next part of my trip, which took me to the amazing Quebrada de Humahuaca, I’ll have much more to say. In the meantime, here are a few more Salta photos.

Andrew in front of yet another church

A bank in a great colonial building

The hills surrounding Salta on all sides, green only during the comparatively wet summer months

The view over the city from one of these hills

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