our friend Enrique

Finally reached Salta in the North of Argentina, a really beautiful and lively town with a gorgeous central Plaza and amazing churches and buildings. I arrived just after midday on Sunday to find Craig, my friend from Buenos Aires, waiting at the bus station for me! So we spent the rest of the day exploring the town and catching up on the past three weeks since I’d left him in Mendoza and then went to see Pirates of the Caribean 3 at the cinema. For once the film was acutally dubbed into Spanish but luckily there wasn’t really enough of a plot to require me to understand more than the basics.

Yesterday Craig decided that his 11 year old fear of horses had probably come to an end so we went out to one of the Estancias 40km south of Salta to go horse riding for the day and finish up with an asado. It turned out there was an English girl, Sam, working at the Estancia so the three of us and a gaucho guide set out across country. It was a lot of fun as we got to do some galloping aswell across the fields and the scenery was lovely. Craig did pretty well although he has been complaining all day today that his backside is rather sore!

We got back to have a huge asado with the owner Enrique, a whole table full of food. Enrique was thrilled that both of us spoke reasonably good Spanish although spent the first 20 minutes refusing to believe the two of us were just friends and said it was only a matter of time before we became a couple as men and women cannot be just friends. Apparently a very common belief in Argentina. Anyway, somehow we drank a lot of wine and Enrique just kept producing more bottles. By the time our car came to take us back into Salta, I was pretty hammered and trying to play a Peruvian flute and failing utterly. I fell fast asleep in the car all the way back to Craig’s amusement. We were still drunk when we got back to the hostel and spent most of the rest of the evening sobering up. I think we were in bed by about 10pm! Such an amusing day.

Today I made Craig and his sore bum do some serious walking in the Qubrada de San Lorenzo, a gentle gorge through the hills about 11km west of Salta. Again the landscape continues to surprise me. The whole area was lush, green, forested jungle, rocky mountain streams, condors and loads of bright green parrots chattering away. We sort of followed the path but ended up walking up the river bed before spending an hour climbing up one of the hills to see spectacular views of the valley in the distance and had a picnic lunch by a steep drop back down into the gorge.  We got back in time to take the cable car up to a view point over Salta called Cerro San Bernardo before walking leisurely back down the hill and into town. Definitely ready for a few beers and some good empanadas!

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