Taking a Break in Salta, Argentina

I’m writing this from our bed-on-the-floor in a hostel in Sucré, Bolivia, waiting for the water tank to fill up so I can have a shower. Before we started this trip, I had big plans – I was going to stay up to date on my travels through the blog, practically in real time.

That didn’t happen. I’m happy to say that life got in the way of the internet, so today’s post is about Salta even though that was nearly two weeks ago. Because if nothing else, I’ll bring you these stories in chronological order.

Salta is in northwestern Argentina, and if you read my last post you’ll know that it takes 24 hours to get there from Puerto Iguazu. Suffice it to say, I was borderline thrilled when we arrived. The sun was shining, the air was fresh, and the Andes mountains finally made an appearance.

Cactus garden in Salta
And I met my first Argentinian cactus garden. I have a weird obsession with cacti.

Jared and I were so excited to be off the bus we were possibly a little bit deluded, because we decided to go for a run around town as soon as we’d checked into the hostel.

Not knowing the town, we went in the direction of a nearby mountain. This is when warning signals should have gone off in my head. They didn’t. I followed Jared up the steps, then eventually waved him ahead. I faux-jogged for a few minutes longer, which is about half a level up from walking. Eventually I gave up and trudged slowly up the endless switchbacks of stairs. There’s a reason people take the gondola to the top of the mountain.

But exercise is exercise, and it’s sorely needed as I appear to be eating my way through the continent. In Salta, my food of choice was empanadas. For lunch, we walked to the Patio de la Empanada, a collection of seven different stalls/restaurants in one building with open-air seating. The empanadas were, predictably, excellent. They should have been, since Salta is reknowned for having the best empanadas in Argentina.

Patio de la empanada, Salta
We actually came here twice. If it ain’t broken, right?
Patio de la Empanada, Salta
The waitresses all called us over, so we sat at the first table we came to.
Empanadas in Salta, Argentina
The main difference is that the empanadas in Salta come with salsa.
Tamale in Salta, Argentina
I also tried my first hot tamale, which was nothing like I expected.

Though, just between you and me, I can’t really tell the difference; they were pretty tasty everywhere.

The thing about Salta is that that there isn’t a whole lot to do there. It’s a substantial enough city to have choices of restaurants, cafés, plazas, and churches, but there’s no ‘big draw.’ There’s a high-altitude archeology museum which was pretty good because it had REAL CHILD MUMMIES (no photos allowed) but I wouldn’t go hours out of my way for it.

Church in Salta
I like this. A church with some pizazz.
Church in Salta
More pizazz.
Church in Salta
Not so much pizazz as…pink. But that’s okay, too.

That was all fine with me. We spent our three days in Salta chilling out. Eating strawberries in the courtyard at the hostel, going back up the mountain with a camera (walking this time), and generally enjoying the clear weather and lack of agenda.

Mountain in Salta, Argentina
Okay, so at 1454 meters it’s not that high, especially with stairs the whole way.
Gondola in Salta, Argentina
About 1.2 million people live in Salta, but it never felt crowded.
San Bernando, Salta
Looking pensive but really catching my breath.
strawberries in Salta
I’m Jared Holmes, and I approve of these strawberries.

And during long-term travel, it’s essential to have a place like Salta, where you can do nothing at all except recharge and get ready, especially when you’re about to head to Bolivia where things won’t be quite as easy.

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    1. SO good! This is the food I’ll miss when we leave the continent. The plan is to impress my family with my empanada-making skills at Christmas, but I’m not sure how it’ll go.

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