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Solo Claire

Salta - Purmamarca

ARGENTINA | Friday, 16 January 2009 | Views [774]

Spent a few days in Salta but didn't really do much there apart from suffer from severe diarrhoea which I reckon was from brushing my teeth using the tap water as I hadn't eaten anything that would have given me it. There is a cable car that goes up a hill overlooking the city so I went up that and viewed the city. They have done it up nicely there with lots of greenery and some artificial waterfalls. There is a Christ the Redeemer statue there, an altar and some grottos. I looked into doing the 'train to the clouds' trip but it costs us$140 for foreigners for what is essentially a train ride with lunch. Decided instead to do a roadtrip with one of the many tourist agencies there but instead of returning to Salta I was going to stay in Purmamarca. There were two Argentinian history teachers and a Dutch girl in the jeep with me who all had decided to stay in Purmamarca too. The road follows the train tracks for much of the journey to San Antonio de los Cobras anyway but it was better than the train as we were able to stop the car as often as we wanted for photos. We stopped at Tastil where there are ruins. We were told that these were second only to Machu Picchu in importance in South America but I'm not sure if that is because of their age (over 600 years old) or size (more than 2000 inhabitants). They were at the top of a mountain which is situated in between other ranges so that they could see the approach of anyone coming but it must have been a lot of work to bring all the stones for the walls of the houses there. What surprised me was that there was no one looking after the ruins - we could have ran amok there and destroyed walls that have stood for centuries. The houses all seemed to be interconnected and consisted of small rooms.  We stopped for lunch in San Antonio de los Cobras and then headed down one of the steepest, windiest roads I have ever seen. We descended more than 2000m in 15 minutes. There were huge lorries driving in both directions and our driver had a habit of driving on the wrong side of the road or in the middle going around bends so it wasn't that pleasant a journey. We stopped at a Salt plain where there were houses made of salt and people digging up the salt. Not very nice to see how table salt starts. Then we headed onto Purmamarca where the mountains of the seven colours are. We stayed together a small bit out of town in a shoddy hospedaje. The Argentinians were meeting friends here and three of them were basically doing the same trip as me up to the Bolivian border so we decided to travel together for the next few days. 

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