Tucuman, Cafayate and Salta: Enroute to Bolivia
Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
47Trip End Jul 29, 2008
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We arrived into a town called San Miguel de Tucuman (Tucuman) where it was raining and continued to do so for nearly the full 4 days we were there. The town was pretty standard, main plaza with gardens and lots of colonial buildings. We spent a bunch of time in town basically catching up on 5 weeks of entries and such (people reading this probably already know) and then strolling around the city and planning stuff to do in the city and in the north
The first day we looked around the city was a day which we planned on checking out the museums, the north is pretty laid back so not a lot of action packed adventures in Tucuman. We went to this folkloric museum which sucked balls, there was about 2 rooms with pan flutes and drums, naturally we only spent about 20min there. The second place was a lot better, it was the National Museum of Argentine History - the building was where Argentina declared its independence from Spain. So, naturally they had a bunch of cool old stuff, chests, doilies and then these 2 huge iron scenes which depicted the independence signing. The last place we went to had a really old sugar mill used in the area and there was the old machinery outside, but, the only problem was that the museum had nothing inside to describe the machines, so it was a big waste of time (Thanks Lonely Planet, what a great recommendation).
The two things that we wanted to do were to tour the area, which was very lush and green, and to visit the local ruins of a extinct tribe (Quilmes). The first excursion was to Valle de Yungas, which was pretty interesting - there were panoramic views of the valley and we also visited a Benedict Monk House (an old Jesuit Mission). Our driver made cracks about some of the monks there, saying that they must be very special individuals not talking to outsiders, retreating to nature and the mountains and only hanging around with men (basically was stating that they were gay). He actually spent a great deal of time asking us questions about gays in Canada etc too, a rather odd and unenlightening topic for a full day tour...
The next day we headed to a place called Cafayate which was amazing - small, quite, friendly and beautiful
We finished off our tour by having lunch with our tour-mates in Cafayate
That afternoon we visited 3 delicious and small bodegas (wineries), bought a couple of bottles of wine then drank that with some big Argentine beef for dinner complete with awesome live music. The next day we headed off for our trip of the Quebrada (basically a Gorge) with 4 other people in a 4X4. The Quebrada was incredible, it has numerous vibrant colours to it (red, green, blue) caused by mineral deposits and also different rock formations. The entire trip was about 90km return and we saw stupendous colours and wild rock shapes. Four shapes that stood out included a place called the Windows (Ventanas) which has hole-like shapes that looked like windows, a valley that had bright red colours and different coloured rock layers, one called the amphitheatre (Anfiteatro) which was like a huge, high amphitheatre and the final amazing formation was one called the Devilīs Throat (Garganta del Diablo) which had rocks forming at a 45 degree angle to the ground. This Quebrada was certianly a highlight of the North for us, very memorable scenery.
We left the next day for Salta, 180km in the north for a quick stop over and then planned to head to San Salvador de Jujuy, more north
Purmamarca was a really cool town, the hill of the seven colours really stands out from the other green hills around it, the red is from large amounts of iron, green from copper and yellow from sulphur. When we got up the next day our friends from BA had booked a tour of the nearby salt flats (Salinas Grande), so we went with them
When we got back to Purmamarca we ate lunch and then headed for a hike around the hill of the seven colours with our friends. A little ironic - we started the hike around 5:30pm walking along a path looking at the brilliant colours and wondering where this hill was located. It wasnīt until arond 7pm that we noticed the hill, last stop of the trail, but, by this time the sun was low and the hill wasnīt lit up. Naturally this is a big kick in the ass, but, Sarah and I were leaving the next day in the afternoon so we decided to get some more pics of the hill and send those off to our friends. Meeting them in Jujuy was such a nice stroke of luck as it really made our time in the north much more memorable - Purmamarca was great, the salt flats and the hill were beautiful, and we had just an awesome time together
After a brief stop in Humahuaca where the main attraction is seeing this Benedict Monk statue emerge from the church temple at 12pm (yes, we went and were embarassed to be with such a large crowd awaiting such a lame attraction..). Once he comes out, he lowers his cross in a blessing motion while simultaneously pointing at you to remind you, yes you, that you are just one great big sinner...or so we think. haha
We were finally on our way leaving our beloved Argentina after 2 amazing and beautiful months of exploring. We had no troubles at the Border and had one nice laugh as we passed the last piece of Argentine land marked with a giant sign exclaiming `The Malvinas are ours!` (The Faukland Islands)...hilarious is my only comment about that.
Hope you are all well. Lots of love, Us. xoxo