As previously mentioned, I’ve been in Salta for a practical week and not really given it the full tourist treatment but it looks a good place for that. It has a lovely old colonial square in the middle and the place is very lively. The two lovely flats I’ve stayed both have nice views over the city which reveal the lovely mountains on three sides. And what’s not to like about a little a roof-top pool? All for less than £25 a night.
Battling a touch of the mid-trip blues I decided that a run out on Bumble towards the mountains might be the antidote. Of course, it’s just what the doctor ordered. I’ve read about a lovely little place outside Salta that is nestled in the colourful Andes. The first stretch of road is a delightful narrow strip of tarmac that winds its way along the ridges and curves of lush green forest. The perfect way to scrub in the chicken-strips of my new rear tyre. Then a long drop down the other side to an open plain on a road that hugs the river before climbing and climbing between grand, majestic mountains on both sides, with shades of Glen Coe. And it is a climb. My sat nav tells me it’s 1800m… then 2000, then 2300 before I reach the turn off for Purmamarca.
Flat low roof buildings of earthen bricks, mud and wood feature heavily, as does cutesy but not too commercial Andean handicrafts. This place is definitely more Bolivia and Peru than downtown Buenos Ares. Andes with added Wild West and Jawa. Cartoon style three armed cactuses are everywhere and the closed (but open for a quick craft beer for you sir) Boot-Hill style bar complete with squeaking gate breaking the near silence of the dominating multi-coloured peaks. The stroll up the hill for the photo op leaves me slightly more breathless than it ought to, reminding me that things works slightly differently at 2500m. It’s a very interesting, touristy but still cute, place and well worth the visit.
I trundle back the quicker but flat and boring way to Salta somewhat revived and inspired for the climb onto the Bolivian Altiplano to come. I’m likely to be out of phone signal/internet/sat-nav/civilisation for the next week or so as I tackle Bolivia. If I never see any of you again, it’s been emotional 😉