i’d read up on Salta, but nothing could have prepared me for this town. nestled in the foothills of the Andes, Salta is probably best known as a jumping off point for places further beyond. however, the old city center, with the main attractions stretching along Caseros and the Plaza 9 de Julio, is heart-tuggingly preserved and restored to its colonial splendor. on the other hand, it’s bustling with locals. there is a disconnect in my brain that says if something seems like it’s out of a storybook, it is removed from reality. Salta, however, jarringly disproves that, with its liveliness amidst the beauty. i guess they don’t call it “Salta la Linda” (Salta the Beautiful) for nothing!
i’ve noticed the people here are really nice, too. while i found Porteños (Buenos Aires-ians) to be pleasant, there is a certain warmth here. i hope i’m not jaded in thinking that it might partially be because tourism plays such a large role in the economy around these parts, but i’m not about to look a gift horse (err, llama? see below) in the mouth.
sidebar: accommodation i normally don’t talk about where i’m staying on this blog since i’m more focused on what’s outside, but i actually did a booking dot yeah!!! (i did book it through them) when i checked in late last night after my delayed flight. for less than $65 a night i have a full on newly-renovated condominium on Caseros with 1.5 baths, a balcony, a large living room, kitchen, and a walk-in closet so large it has a door on either end and a radiator inside. i don’t know how to explain it, but it’s that extra hallway bathroom that makes me feel like i’m living large! the studio and the one-bedroom were the same price, so i figured i might as well go big or go home. the man who checked me in asked me several times if i was traveling alone, since he couldn’t believe i was to have this whole place to myself.
Iglesia de San Francisco
Catedral Basilíca de Salta
sidebar: llama for lunch? i was walking around the Plaza 9 de Julio this morning and saw a sign outside a restaurant that said “lomo de llama” and i wasn’t sure if they meant like “flame-broiled meat” — llama can also mean flame — or actual llama. turns out, it was indeed llama. (as it turns out, llama meat is quite popular around here.) if you don’t mind gamy meat, i say try it! if you can handle lamb, you can handle llama. maybe it’s because i’m a queso fan, but…yum! yes, i was the only one eating a real meal at 9:30 AM, but it was worth it. don’t forget, in Argentinian Spanish it’s pronounced “zshama”. next up, local empanadas (which i have heard from many sources are supposed to be the best)!