A fairytale town hanging on the mountains

Trip Start Dec 30, 2004
Trip End Jan 23, 2005

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San Roque and Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church

Flag of Argentina  , Salta,
Thursday, January 13, 2005

On Wednesday, early in the morning we had to go and take the bus to Humahuaca if we wanted to go to Iruya. I woke up without any problems, but it was difficult to call the others who had stayed all night long in the peņa.
I was thinking about leaving on my own, because no one seemed to react. But happily I could wake them up and convinced them that if they wanted to get ton time to take the bus to Iruya, they'd need to wake up quickly.
So we left Sito’s and went quickly to Tilcara bus station, just in time to take the bus to Humahuaca.
On the trip we passed the tropic of Capricorn (there’s a monument beside the route, where I’d have liked to take pictures… but I couldn’t this time). So we arrived in Humahuaca.
There we just took our tickets to Iruya, by Empresa Mendoza (which was the only company that goes to Iruya) and departed some minutes after our arriving.
The trip lasted 3 hours for less than 100 kilometers, on a narrow gravel mountain road surrounded by colorful mountains. The view is amazing during the entire trip, but it’s such an exhausting trip.
When we arrived, we ran to find a place to stay quickly, because the bus was full and there weren’t too much guesthouses.
We found a place called Tacacho, some kind of hostel opposite to the main square.
What can I say about Iruya? It’s a tiny town situated in a paradise place surrounded by mountains (the town looks as if it was hanging on the side of one hill). Its streets are in 45 degrees of inclination. That makes it a very difficult place to transit (impossible in vehicles, because they are very narrow). Someone had told me before "people who hasn’t been to Iruya, hasn’t been to the NOA". I agree with him. Everyone should visit Iruya.
All we did was walking around the town; contemplate the amazing landscape and enjoying this beautiful place. We walked uphill to the cross, where there is a beautiful panoramic view of the valley and the town. After that we crossed the almost dry river to get to the other side, to have a typical view of the town and the mountains behind.
At night we prepared (well… Ariel did) some pizzas and calzones in the grill. There was also a small coplas festival in our hotel, and in the end there was a guitarreada (a guy playing guitar, and the rest singing with him) in the square, but it was suspended by the local police because there’s a local law that says that public spaces must be in silence after 10 pm).
We walked a bit on silent Iruya streets and night and watched the stars for a while, drinking some wine. The sky there looks amazing as there’s no pollution.
Early in the morning, Bruno went to walk the trail to San Isidro (a smaller close town in a mountain way), but the rest were so tired (or it was the wine…) that we couldn’t do it and kept on sleeping until later (now I’m sorry about not having gone to San Isidro).
When we woke up it started to rain. Rains are not common, but when it rains, it rains a lot, but for short periods of time. Then came Bruno back, completely wet. He dried himself and we went to catch the bus back to Humahuaca.
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