Puna - Day 9
Picked up from the Sheraton and delivered to the Iguazu airport for our flight to Salta. Two hour flight north and west and arrived at about 2:00; met in Salta by Adolfo who will be our driver and guide for the next 6 days as we work our way across the Puna.
Had heard lots of good things about Salta; old and well-preserved colonial city; clean and filled with interesting architecture; and the best empanadas in Argentina. Sadly none of these claims survived the reality. We found a large, sprawling and slightly down at heel city of 600,000, half the population of Salta province, all congregated in one location. The city centre retained its colonial buildings but the air was dusty, and there was an undercurrent of shabby as if the city had grown too quickly and now was poking its knees and elbows through patchy bits of worn clothing.
Bloomers, our B&B for the night was pleasant but not overwhelming and fitted well into its surroundings. Settled our things and went for a walk in the central plaza and explored the neighbourhood. Of course everything was shut up tight notwithstanding that it was Saturday afternoon; it was about 4:00 and still siesta time. Found a handicraft market that we had been told about, many stalls and storefronts in an old colonial building and across the road in a rabbit-warren, all filled with locally made bits and pieces for the tourist trade. We were looking for weaving and textiles but found little to excite interest so after an hour of digging and scouting, we returned to Bloomers to rest before dinner.
Dinner pleasant enough but in keeping with our overall sense of the city, nothing jarringly unpleasant, just slightly underwhelming. Tomorrow our Puna adventure begins so early bed since we are being picked up by Adolfo at 8.