Travelogue Argentina 2003
Salta – Part 1
February 14th, 2003
Last Sunday I left Iguazu, which was a little adventure again. For some reason the airline had sold me a ticket for a later flight to Buenos Aires than the one Priti took. So I was waiting alone for my shuttle to the airport and had to coup with wrong information from another shuttle-company who told me that my flight would not exist and a taxi driver who told me that the shuttle had broken down and that I therefore had to take a taxi to the airport. But this caused only a little confusion and finally my shuttle came, took me to the airport, the flight existed and we took of, though being a little late. This was problematic because I had only 40 minutes to change the plane in Buenos Aires and so I had a huge airport bus for me alone which took me to my connection flight. But as usually my luggage did not make it … no problem, I am used to it and it did only take twelve hours till it arrived at my hotel.
My first contact with the region, my first sight of the Andes when landing was the first “wow” in a loooooong row: Endless green, smooth hills and mountains. Salta is a nice little town with the most beautiful Parque Central I have seen so far. We found a wonderful little hotel [Residencia Elena, Buenos Aires 256] near the centre. The rooms are simple but nice and it has a wonderful plant-covered yard, in the night you can only hear crickets (and maybe the necessary fan).
The first day we did not do a lot. We had breakfast, went through the city and made up plans what to do. Soon it became clear, that we wanted to see three different canyons and went (Priti’s idea) to the excellent tourist office. It turned out that the best (and cheapest) possibility was to rent a car that enabled us to stop, enjoy and take pictures wherever and whenever we wanted. Some of the route we wanted to go can also be visited by the famous Tren a las nubes (Train to the clouds), but anyway due to the rain there is limited traffic in summer. We rented a VW Polo / Gol, though we knew that the road would be tough. But the agency told us that it would be possible and a 4×4 would have been too expensive for two persons.
The next morning we started while it was raining a little. As soon as we entered the Quebrada del Toro (“wow, wow, wow”) we were stunned by the landscape. Once again I have to tell you to wait for the photos; these pictures can not be described in words. Every few kilometres the panorama changes totally, one more impressing than the other. We saw dense forest, huge kakti, incredible formed hills, lonely graveyards, Pre-Inka-ruins and more. The rain and the clouds covered the first part of the trip with mystic atmosphere and the “road” with water.
We went very slowly, and would not have liked to go faster because it took us so much time to consume the views. Unfortunately the view did distract me a little and I hit a stone that broke the junction between the gear stick and the gears so that we had to continue in first gear for some kilometres. Near a police control we finally reached a telephone and called the rental company who promised to send a mechanic. We used the time for a little walk which brought us to a plane where red peppers were dried, whose colour gave the most beautiful contrast to the colours of the surrounding mountains. And it also gave us the chance to have a chat with the very helpful police men.