Our second-to-last week in Salta has been a mix weather-wise; from sweltering temperatures of 36 degrees or more, to cool rainy days that kept us inside. Plus we got a bit of culture, heading to the museum and to a food festival.

Monday 7/11 The sun was streaming through the window when I woke up, with a hot insistency that reminded me of summer camping — that feeling that you have two choices: either get up or suffocate. Plus a fly or something kept landing on various parts of my body, which was very annoying. When I reached up to brush it off, it stung me: not a fly, then. It turned out to be a hornet; Craig hurriedly looked up hornet-sting remedies on Google and I spent the next little while holding an ice pack to my finger. 

We spent the rest of the day working; Craig wanted to completely finish the travel-safety book by the end of the week and I was preparing videos to publish next year. 

In the evening Leigh and Noah went out to a concert and Lila and I made chicken empanadas; probably the closest to traditional that we’ve attempted, though I don’t think the salteños put eggplant in theirs.

MAAM Salta
The museum of high-altitude archeology

Tuesday 8/11 Craig and I decided to make one more attempt to visit the Museum of High-Altitude Archeology, with the hope that it’d be a case of third time lucky. First, though, we headed into the mall to visit the optometrist and buy a huge bottle of soft drink as protection against the sweltering heat; it was a long walk to the main plaza where the museum is situated. Luckily it was open, and even more luckily, air-conditioned.

It’s an interesting museum that houses the mummified remains of three children who were human sacrifices about 500 years ago. But although it was beautifully laid-out, the museum left us feeling quite confused, and we had to do a bit of research when we got home to understand what we had seen.

After the museum, we went to La Esquina for tasty milanesa sandwiches, then headed back into the centre to look for Aerolineas Argentinas — hoping to redeem airpoints for flights to Buenos Aires. We found the office, but it was closed for the siesta and wouldn’t reopen until 4.30. Instead, we visited the beautiful church of San Francisco — or at least looked at it; it was also closed.

The only other thing we wanted to do was add credit to our bus card, but this was easier said than done. After asking at several shops, we found one that usually could give us credit but couldn’t right at that moment; we had a coffee in the main square while we waited for their system to come back online. Of course, it didn’t, and we ended up walking back to the shop near the market where we’d originally bought the card. What a mission!

Church of San Francisco, Salta
Church of San Francisco

Wednesday 9/11 It was another sweltering day, so we spent a lot of it lazing around. Craig worked and I read my book and chatted with friends. 

Thursday 10/11 Thursday is usually a school day, but today was a public holiday so we slept in. The weather turned nasty and it rained most of the day, so we stayed at home and got some editing done.

Friday 11/11 When Craig headed downstairs to make coffee, he found his shoes lying in the middle of the floor — and not in the same state as he’d left them. Pipa the dog had given one of them a good chewing, rendering it unusable. She’d also gotten into the compost bin that Craig made last week. Needless to say, we were not impressed with her.

Salta food festival
Balcarce markets

In the afternoon I made dolmades and Noah cooked milanesas for lunch. After a slow day we ate dolmades for dinner and watched 500 Days of Summer before bed.

Saturday 12/11 After a morning of editing, we borrowed Leigh and Noah’s car to head into town to find Craig some replacement shoes. Luckily Timberland had some decent ones, and we managed to negotiate a minuscule discount when the machine wouldn’t let us pay by card — withdrawing money here is expensive!

In the evening Noah took Lila to a dance performance, and dropped us in the city so we could go to the International Food Festival. First, though, we walked into town along Balcarce Street, browsing the beautiful wares in the market along the way and joining the throngs of people in the pedestrian malls in the centre. Salta always seems to be at its busiest in the evening.

Linda creeping through the undergrowth
Linda creeping through the undergrowth

Back at the other end of Balcarce, peña restaurants were trying to draw in customers to see their “traditional” shows. We managed not to get pulled in and made it through the crowds at the end of the street to the food festival. There was a stage set up for dance performances, but we were more interested in the food. We started with Chilean empanadas paired with a pisco sour, then moved on to Peruvian potatoes, followed by an Argentinean chicken skewer and a Brazilian caipirinha. For dessert we had French cake then Italian cake with a glass of Argentinean wine. It was brilliant.

Sunday 13/11 Right behind Leigh and Noah’s place are some hills populated by cows and horses and a large forest stretching up into the mountains. The temperature was perfect for a walk, so we packed a bag and headed into the bush. However, after about half an hour we changed our mind, having gotten sick of being grabbed at by the prickly undergrowth — we turned around and walked into San Lorenzo town for ice cream.

When we got back, we were pleasantly hot and decided that it was time to try out the pool for the first time. The water level is finally about right and Leigh and Noah had added the right chemicals and tested the balance the day before, as well as taking out suicidal frogs when necessary.

The water was cool and clear and we only had to pull out two frogs during our swim — it was a great way to end a hot walk.

Craig jumping into the pool
First swim!

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