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Mountains, Salt, Llamas, and Peñas (cont.)

Here is the remainder of my adventure to Salta and Jujuy! Sorry for the delay!

Day 4: Slept in! After lunch, we went to the Museo of Antropología (museum of anthropology) and saw some really old stuff, including flutes made by the Incans around 2500 B.C. There was also a lot of Incan pottery and hunting tools. After the museum, we caught a cab to go outside of the city to a huge artisan market. We had planned to spend an hour, maybe a couple of hours, at the market and then go to another museum. Four and a half hours later, we had only seen half of the market, and we decided to call it a day. This evening, we went to a peña, which is a restaurant/bar where Argentine folk music originated.  The one we went to was a little touristy, with scheduled shows and dancers, but nonetheless the music was still authentic and we had a great time. It was a special evening for me because I tried LLAMA empanadas! Aside from being quite a bit chewier than beef, I honestly couldn’t tell much of a difference, but I was still pretty excited to have had the opportunity to try llama.

Day 5: Woke up at the crack of dawn (again) for tour #2! This tour took us first to Purmamarca, a small town in the province of Jujuy, right under the famous “Cerro de los Siete Colores” (Hill of the Seven Colors). The view was amazing, the mountains were enormous, and the town was adorable. After lunch, we headed farther north for another 2 hours to the Salinas Grandes (salt flats). It was really interesting to learn how the salt flats were created (sorry, too long to try to explain in the blog!), and how they change color according to the season (at this time of the year, the salt desert turns from a bright white to a brown color due to dust and debris in combination with the rain/lack thereof). It was SO windy on the salt flats, I have never felt such a strong possibility of being blown away before! After we enjoyed the views and took some pictures, we headed back to Salta. On our way back, we saw several guanacos! It was really neat to see “wild llamas” hanging out in the mountains. Although we were exhausted from the 14-hour day in the van, we managed to work up enough energy to go out to a more authentic peña, as it was our last night in Salta. Unfortunately, Tuesday night was not a great choice, because there were only a couple of musicians that showed up to play, but we still enjoyed a nice evening out with the hostel owner’s son.

Day 6: Our last day in Salta! Before lunch, we went to the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña, which was extremely powerful. Here, we learned all about the sacrificing ceremonies of the Incans, and we viewed two mummies of sacrificed Incan children. Although the idea of sacrificing children made for a somber afternoon, it was incredible to learn about the Incan culture and see primary artifacts from hundreds of years ago. After lunch, we had just enough time to get all of our things ready to go and grab a taxi to the bus terminal. It was time to go “home” to Mendoza! On the bus ride home we had a “gourmet dinner” of stuffed chicken and wine (see below), and we watched a beautiful sunset in the province of Tucumán, a little south of Salta.

Our trip went surprisingly smooth, without any travel delays or “road bumps” along the way. Although planning for the trip was a bit stressful since neither of us had ever planned a trip by ourselves, let alone in a foreign country and in a foreign language, I was really proud of our trip planning when everything worked out so perfectly! Traveling to Salta was pretty much just a vacation for us (although we did learn a lot about the Incan and gaucho culture), but I have so much more confidence in myself now, and I know that if I have the will to do something during my remaining months in Argentina, I can figure out how to make it happen.

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