I know spending only 24 hours in a city seems pretty short but surprisingly I was able to cover the highlights pretty well. Granted, it did involve walking 16 miles so it was definitely a busy day but worth it! I arrived in Salta in the morning after taking a 21 hour bus ride from Mendoza (yes it was as terrible as it sounds). I dropped my stuff at the hostel and immediately went to the main square, Plaza 9 de Julio. I went into the Cathedral Basilica de Salta, which is free, and enjoyed hearing a part of the mass that was going on. It was also my first chance to experience a Catholic service in Argentinian.
After, I went and sat in the square to people watch. An older gentleman, probably around 80 or so, asked if he could sit next to me and I said yes. We then started talking in Spanish, despite my lack of language skills, and I learned that his father fought in World War I in Germany and that he has an older sister that is an architect in Costa Rica. He spent most of his life living in a town north of Buenos Aires but moved several years ago to Salta. I always love meeting people in my travels and hearing their stories and this was no different!
One quick side note: It has amazed me in my short time here how the Argentinian people have continued to have a conversation with me despite my Spanish speaking shortcomings. I can see now why everyone says they are such a nice and accepting culture. I definitely encourage anyone traveling here to try and speak Spanish because they will definitely work with you 🙂
After the gentleman and I parted ways, I walked to the Iglesia San Francisco which is a brightly colored, beautiful church. I then went to lunch at the Patio de la Empanada which was a group of 9 different empanada stands and you could select which one you wanted to eat at. Overall, I thought the food was good but the women were definitely a little aggressive in terms of asking you to come eat at their stand.
After lunch, I decided to venture up to the top of a hill outside Salta to get a better view of the city. The walk it nicknamed the 1,000 steps because the entire climb is up stone stairs that start behind the Monumento General Martin Miguel de Guemes. I guess you can also take the cable car if needed but what’s the fun in that?? The view from the top was amazing and it was definitely worth it!
The Museo de Arqueologia de Alta Montana (Museum of High Mountain Archeology) was next on the agenda. Money saving tip: It’s only $40 pesos with a student I.D. card and they don’t check it closely. It is $140 pesos otherwise. In the museum, you learn about the culture of the Incas and their belief that the mountains were gods. At the summit of one of the mountains near Salta they actually discovered the bodies of 3 children, all under the age of 15, that were sacrificed to please the gods. In the Incan culture, this was not considered wrong because the children were being reunited with their god. Overall, I thought the museum was very interesting and the mummies of the children were in great condition because they were preserved in the cold weather. I know this seems rather morbid but it is definitely worth visiting. I would also recommend going in the afternoon because the lines in the morning were crazy long!
For dinner, I went to the Mercado Municipal San Miguel. It had a couple of sit down dining options but was also a vegetable and meat market for the locals which was neat to see. This is a great money saving option for dinner if you are traveling on a budget like me. More travel updates to come soon because I am exploring the northwest part of Argentina for the next couple of weeks until I start teaching!