Today was my firt trip out to explore the regions around Salta. Firstly, when making breakfast, no matter how tired you may be, do not pour yoghurt onto your cereal. OK so it wasn’t that bad, but still, milk would have been fine. Oh the mistake is simple here too. Most places for breakfast, have jugs of yoghurt, but normally they are flavoured and not white.
Todays trip was along the road that follows the Quebrada (canyon/valley) de Humahuaca. The first part of the trip was largely quite boring, but we soon arrived at our first stop. The 7 coloured hill of Purmamarca, quite beautiful, but the photo stop was rather conveniently where the souvenir sellers were also, and not the best location for photos either. Fortunately, we travelled into the town of Purmamarca itself, for some site seeing and shopping should you want to buy anything. The towns up this way are very picturesque, with dirt of cobblestone roads and buildings that have been around for a long time now.
The next stop was a site of ruins and reconstructions called Pucara. It sat on top of a hill and was swarmed upon by Argentine school children. Our guide, Fernando, did his best to find shortcuts and avoid the hordes. Really though for an archeological site it wasn’t that exciting. Piles of stones in rectangles etc that were the foundations of buildings from before Spanish colonisation. There were also numerous Cordon cactus around, which incidentally is used as wood in this part of the world, once the cactus has died and then dries out naturally, the remains is a type of light but strong wood.
The bus finally moved on to the town of Humahuaca, all the time passing through beautiful scenery, of which I could or may of taken a hundred photos. Humahuaca, was a town I was going to spend a couple of nights in. Its a lovely town and all, but all too touristy now, and not much to do in the town itself. We had a local guide who spoke spanish only with an accent that was incredibly difficult to understand. As a result a few of us non spanish speakers (well those that were learning spanish anyway), left the guide and wandered around ourselves. I tried to find something other than a local craft shop, but failed.
We had lunch at Humahuaca. I had llama schnitzel, which tasted a bit like veal. For dessert I had goats cheese with a marmalade of something called Cayate. Both the cheese and marmalade were rather tasty. I’d eat both meals again, although the llama stew looked nicer than the schnitzel.
Back on the bus, we travelled back via the jungle route, just for a change in scenery. The bus came to a grinding halt. A huge tarantula was crossing the road! We stopped and those Australians (myself only) and a couple of other brave souls, got off to look and take photos. The guide picked it up in his hands also. I wish we had tarantulas in Australia.
The trip was a pretty good day. I even tried some ‘mate’ which is like a local tea, sucked through a metal straw, while on the bus.
It was a very long day and you might notice I didn’t post this entry until the next day. Spanish phrase of the day is simple “Llama no sabe a pollo, que sabe a ternera”, which means llama does not taste like chicken.