This past week I had the opportunity to take a trip with my study abroad program to the cities of Salta and Jujuy, Argentina. These five days were PACKED with activities, adventures, and friends. There's a lot I could write about, but I think more of a picture post would be better capture this incredible trip!
Here is a little view of the first city we hit, Salta. Immediately this city reminded me of my sweet Savannah, GA! From the palm trees to the cobblestone streets to the large fountains gracing each square - very Savannah. We took a short tour around the main square and then a gondola ride to an overlook point on a mountain. The overlook point introduced me to just how large this city is, not the small town I thought it was. After the overlook we went to the MAAM, a museum that speaks the hard truth of Incan culture, specifically the live burial of thousands of children as a sacrifice. We then finished off out time with dinner at La Casona del Molino and a nice stay at Hotel Salta.
The next day we took a short four hour bus ride to Tilcara where we ate lunch at Los Puestos and checked into our sweet little hotel, Patio Alto. We took time today to visit Pucará de Tilcara (the Incan ruins), shop at the local market, and then eat dinner at La Picadita.
Friday was the day everyone was waiting for: walking with llamas!! We got to sleep in a little bit and then headed out to meet the llamas which we then got to walk all around the town! I named mine Mr. Meseeks. I hope you're reading this, boys of Davis 603. If you ever want to make a group of twenty year olds happy, just give them llamas.
After the "Caravana de Llamas" we lunched at the dreamy Solar del Tropico in Huacalera. This sweet bed and breakfast is nestled in lush gardens and owned by a talented local artist. We ate the yummiest home cooked lunch and got to hear about the owner's work and inspiration. We then headed off to an easy hike, La Gargantuan del Diablo. We finished off the day with another yummy meal at Arumi.
The next day we headed out to the crown jewel, las Salinas Grandes. By going with my program we were granted special access to the flats and were able to drive out into the heart of it. It was incredible. I'm a big fan of feeling small, and usually that feeling comes from mountains or the ocean, but these salt flats gave me a different perspective. They made me feel small, yes, but they reminded me how vast this world is and how vast this love our Creator has for us. What a sweet reminder. After taking countless pictures we then got to eat lunch right on the salt flats and meet a salt miner who works on the flats. I'm a huge fan of stories, and this man had just that. He told us the incredible amounts of work and intricacy that go in to mining his 99% pure salt and the little return he gets for it - 250 pesos (roughly $15 US dollars) per 3 tons of salt. He told us folklore about the fresh water springs that break surface on the salt flats and why they are so sacred. It was humbling
We then journeyed on to the town of Purmamarca where we hiked in the "Paseo de Los Colorados." These mountains are shaded in seven different colors and some of the most beautiful I have ever gotten to walk upon! Living the dream. We then finished our time shopping for llama sweaters at the local market and eating merienda (Argentina tea-time) in the town square.
Our last day we spent in Humahuaca with the Hornaditas family who led us on a hike to see ancient Incan petroglyphics carved onto the sides of the mountains nearby. We then went and baked bread and ate lunch with the family. This family was so warm and inviting and I met the loveliest little, Carolína, who made me giggle hard and played a mean pan flute. Fun fact: you can actually stay and volunteer with this family through wwoof.com.
For our last stop we continued into Humahuaca to meet with the head of the local community center and shared merienda at La Casa del Tantanakuy while listening to traditional Andes music and dance. Let me just say, they had the absolute best banana and quinoa bread!
And as all good things have to end, from there we departed for the airport and flew back to Buenos Aires. The end.