On Sunday the 18th of march I was at the border nice and early. After an hour of queuing I had my exit stamp for Bolivia. Thirty minutes later I was officially in Argentina (for the 1st time since 1994).
The centre of La Quiaca (3400m) was 1km away and it made for a nice Sunday morning stroll. Two hundred metres down the road was a big blue sign stating that the Falkland islands were in that Argentinian, they just can't let it go can they!
Reaching the centre of town I got a room with a shared bath for 3 times the price of yesterday's room...I definitively wasn't in Bolivia any more. However comparing the two border towns it was easy to see which country was more prosperous.
After grabbing lunch I did what I do best....have a siesta!
In the evening as it was a Sunday, most places were closed. I managed to grab some local cheese and ham and so I enjoyed a quite night in in front of the tv.
The next morning I was off down the road for a few hours to the village of Humahuaca (2900m). Humahuaca has a postcard pretty centre of town of narrow cobbled streets and plaster covered adobe buildings. As pretty as it was, I found it to be dull, I mean really dull. However I spent two nights there, relaxing and chilling out in the hostel courtyard...good times!
On the morning of Wednesday I got the bus to Tilcara (2400m) and it was “the best bus ride ever”. Not because of the comfortable seats or the decent amount of leg room but because it was only 46 minutes long...a proper day's travelling
The walk from the bus station to the centre of Tilcara was about 800m and after a little look around I got a very “rustic room” in a great little place metres from the main square. From the outside it looked really scabby but once you got past the reception and into the 1st of two little courtyards it was really nice.
This village has a much better vibe than Humahuaca, it's not as pretty but it was more vibrant. I hanged out here for 4 nights, I’m not in a rush. On one of the days I went to the nearby ruin of Pucara (or fortress). It is about a 1000 year old settlement on top of a small hill near the river, giving excellent views of the gorgeous countryside. Several buildings had been completely restored and for some reason in the middle of the site the “archaeologists” built a pyramid....???? I did however enjoy the cacti.
On the Sunday I got the midday bus to the town of San Salvador de Jujuy (1900m) a few hours down the road, the views out of the window were lovely.
Arriving at the bus station in Jujuy it was a 10 minute walk into the centre of town. Failing to find a hostel/hotel I used the guide book...I know, shocking!!
I liked Jujuy! It's a little town with a lot of history and some seriously good coffee!
After two nights it was time for another long journey!
The city of Salta (1200m) was a long two hour drive downhill along tarmacked roads (am I being sarcastic?). I had booked a room online (out of the 30 or so hostels only 5 had single rooms) and it was about 3 blocks from the main square. The place was quiet and tranquil (with cable and wifi obviously) and as I found out on the 1st night my room had such a comfortable bed. I had booked the room for 6 nights as I had been travelling way to fast in Argentina...4 places in 9 days, come on!!
The main tourist thingy in Salta is the “train to the clouds”. The train leaves Salta at 7am and then ascends over 3000m into the clouds along a myriad of switchbacks, bridges and viaducts before returning to Salta at about midnight. 17 hours on a train you can't smoke in....like I’m ever going to get on board that!!
Thankfully Salta has other touristy things to offer the tourist, so I did those instead!