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Salta, Cafayate and the canyons and gorges!

ARGENTINA | Saturday, 21 February 2009 | Views [888] | Comments [1]

Morning walk in the canyon outside Punamarca

Morning walk in the canyon outside Punamarca

Salta and the canyons:  Just returned from a trip to the canyons and mountains of the area.  It really was lovely.  We are going to post photos soon…promise!  We spent the first day in Salta, a nice small city with what seemed billions of people walking the streets.  We have found that in Argentina, unlike Peru, the people really do take Siesta between the hours of about 1 until 5 or so.  Then the cities and towns come alive with swarms of people.  I believe that it is a social obligation to show yourselves on the streets every evening except Sunday.  Anyway…we got into Salta and checked into our lovely hotel which did have internet access but we didn’t have time to use it much.  We then met our guide, Guadalupe, who walked with us downtown to show us the square, a really nice church and other important buildings.  The streets were, of course, packed shoulder to shoulder with people.  After a bit of a walk we stopped at a restaurant for empanadas and tamales.  It was pretty good…I now know that there are much better to be found but I was happy in my ignorance! 

Day two had us leaving around 9 for Calchaquíes Valleys and the small quaint town of Cafayate.   It was a really pretty long drive but we did stop to “make pictures” and stretch our legs.  Parts of it reminded me, not the canyons, of Petaluma / Napa area.  There were a lots of vineyards and eucalyptus trees in the valleys.  The streams running off of the hills were great!  We stayed two nights at a small organic winery with pretty darn good wine.  I bought a bottle upon arrival and continued to drink it for the entire stay.  Day three had us in the area trying different winery’s and checking our the small town of Cafayate. 

Day 4: a LONG day of driving…we drove and then drove some more.  I thought of opening the door and just getting out but that would have put a damper on the vacation so I opted to keep my mouth shut and be a good sport.  That night I tried more wine…it really does help.  A lot of the drive was interesting but after you see the same scenery for hours on end it gets old…oh well…enough complaining!  I believe we did the same thing on day 5 (it’s a blur) but I endured and ended up having a good time.  I think it was Day 6, another day of driving, that we ran into our first day of Carnival.  The small towns really celebrate it!  We lost our guide in one of the towns, Tilcara, for several hours  but finally found our driver.  It was packed with celebrators sprayed every passerby with a silly string type of soap and then covered you with Talcum powder.  It didn’t matter how old or young you were.  I’m sure it would have been loads more fun if we would have been as wasted as most of the others around us.

Prior to getting dowsed, we had a cooking class on how to make empanadas…I think I’ve got it down, and Llama stew.  Yum!  What does Llama taste like…just like one of the buggers smell.  The empanadas were stuffed with quinoa and goat cheese (which…yes, tastes like goats smell.  We also got to see an old settlement where the Indians lived prior to the Spanish coming in and taking over.

These are the towns and areas we hit: Salta, Jujuy, Purmamarca, Humahuaca, Cachi, Obispo gorge and Cafayate…plus others I can’t remember and not in that order!

Hope everyone is doing well!  Cheers! 




1) Sorry you had to nurse just one bottle of wine for too long, Anita. Was there a shortage or is Atlantis tightening the purse strings?!?
2) I'm with you on goat anything as unpalatable. Feta is mainly sheep or, in many cases, cow leche and I gobble feta.
3) Llama meat sounds like something the buzzards should feast on.
4) Quinoa I love!
5) Stay safe...talking UK soon. Excited.

  Stephen the Elder Feb 24, 2009 3:30 PM



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