If you find a place you like just stay…

25 Jul

Now after Salta it was time to head off to the furthest Norths of Argentina and the first stop was Tilcara.

It is always funny when you arrive somewhere in the middle of the night and Tilcara was no exception to this…..now Tilcara seems to be a small, quiet place and anyone who I’ve spoken to is surprised when I tell them that when I arrived here the town was absolutely jumping with life.  The music was pumping, there was a disco going on and the locals were having a rare time drinking beer and doing other fun stuff in the street.

Now arriving late is not always a good idea when you don’t have any accommodation sorted…so after a walk around town found a hostel which advertised a “24 hour reception” but needless to say this was closed so pitched the tent in the garden of the hostel and decided to pay up the next day…my sleepless night in the tent was on this occasion caused by the loud music as opposed to the bitter cold…result!

Tilcara is famous for the amazing Inca ruins and next day I headed off to these…they are amazing though the bumf they give you when you go in tells you that unfortunately some of them were reconstructed in the days when they thought reconstruction of ruins was the way ahead!!!

Here is Tilcara…

Me at Tilcara

Me at Tilcara

Tilcara

Tilcara

Local lady in Tilcara

Local lady in Tilcara

After Tilcara it was off to Purmamarca and here was when I really wished I had my brother Si, the geologist with me.  The rock formations in this area are truly spectacular and it would be great to know more about how they are formed…

Look at the colours…wow wow wow….

Purmamarca

Purmamarca

From Purmamarca I headed to Humahuaca where I caught a bus to Iruya.  Now 47 kilometres in a bus does not seem really very far…but this journey took 3 hours such was the road..twisty, turny. deep drops on either side..at one point the police arrived to help the bus get over a river! This is travel in North Argentina for you…Iruya was a truly magical place.  Set in the middle of a valley surrounded by cliffs with the most wonderful colours it is like the place that time forgot.  Although it was also the place where time had forgot how to get change for money..no one and I mean no one would give you change….actually quite good news for my bank balance as really curtailed my spending!

Not being put off by a blog I read on the internet by a guy who did a trek to San Isidro the next morning I headed off….this guy said that the guides who did this trek turned the signs round so you couldn’t do it on your own and needed to use a guide…started off with great aplomb as always…now if in doubt walk straight ahead is my usual tactic and this is what I did on this occasion…so 2 hours straight ahead only to meet some local kids who told me that San Isidro was actually in the opposite direction…oops…still wasn’t put off and headed back, crossing about 100 rivers en route and went to the beautiful little town of San Isidro…another place that time forgot..

And here is the route there….

On the way to San Isidro

On the way to San Isidro

Now that evening after a walk around town and watching the local kids play football I was sitting in the main thoroughfare of Iruya when an old woman came to chat to me…she offered me her own concoction of teas for every ailment known to man…”can you sleep” “how is your digestion” “are you happy”..you name it she had a tea for it….after that she asked where I was off to next…I said probably San Salvador de Jujuy…she asked if I liked Iruya and I said “yes”…she said then “why are you going somewhere else, if you like somewhere stay”….good advice indeed though the trouble with travelling if you never know if you will like the next place more than the last…..

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