Well, we survived the 20 hour bus trip back! Actually it wasn't as tedious as I feared it might be. It was basically an afternoon and a night. I snoozed a lot of the way and as we were in lie-flat Cama Suite I was able to get some solid sleep during the night. The bus was also very quiet so lovely and peaceful.
It was a great excursion and although I am happy to be back in Buenos Aires, I could have carried on going. I am glad to be able to do laundry and unpack. Washing my jeans will be a particular treat. I only took one pair... I was travelling light.
While we were in Salta we did a two day excursion. In reality I think one day would have been enough, it get's very samey after a while and although the mountains are spectacular one does become quite blasé about them when they are all you see for two solid days. The first day was particularly special because it ended with a visit to the Salina Grandes. I have never been to a salt pan before and found it to be spectacular and very impressive. It took ages to get there though, as the route the tour took involved a 2 hour drive down a VERY bumpy dirt track.
That night we stayed in the tiny little village of Purmamarca. We had the option of going back to Salta but since the next day's tour was swinging by Purmamarca anyway it made sense to stay there, we also got to sleep in until 9. We'd made friends with a lovely couple from England (Stu and Lu) who were also staying so we went out for dinner with them. Depsite the size of the little village we were able to have a decent meal. I ate llama steaks by mistake. Seriously... three of us ordered the lamb... but they only had enough for two portions so cooked the Lomo too. When we realised what was happening I offered to have the lomo instead, thinking it was bife de Lomo. It was only the next day when we were looking at real live llamas in one of the endless small villages that we visited that Stu asked me what it tasted like. Yum.
The next day's tour was less exciting. To be honest village after village gets as tedious as mountain after mountain. Also the group we were with were kind of annoying. The tour guide useless and a particularly enthusiastic Belgian man was getting on everyone's nerves. It was a relief when we pulled back into Salta at 8 o'clock. The highlight of the day being crossing the Tropic of Capricorn.
After a quick shower and a change we met Lu and Stu again in their hotel. They were finishing off a round the world trip and were treating themselves to a stay in one of only two 5 star hotels in Salta. So after some champagne in their room we all went out for dinner and had a great time indeed!
All in all it was a great trip across northern Argentina. I was particularly impressed with Cordoba and Salta. Both cities I would return to in a flash. It was also interesting to see the higher concentration of native people, compared to the overwhelming immigrant populations in Buenos Aires. After starting in Montevideo and Punta del Este, we certainly have covered a lot of distance and seem stark contrasts between the chi chi boutiques of Punta del Este to poor ladies selling woolen llamas in Humuaca for 5 pesos.
Pics coming soon.