Welcome to Argentina! And that’s certainly how we felt as soon as we reached the country from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. The 10h bus ride through the desert, over and across the Andes, was lifted directly from a National Geographic documentary – mesmerising. Once in Salta, in Northern Argentina, we made our way to our hostel about 20min out of town (knew it had a pool so were very looking forward). Here we were warmly welcomed by Martin, our lovely hostel manager, and an empty hostel (luckily, as it had been booked out by a swarm of 70 students who were luckily away for the night). Annalie, Hannah, Jen and myself spent the evening with Martin playing games and sharing life stories. Turns out Martin is also gay but his coming out story is nowhere as rosey as ours; now in his early 30s he was forced to move into the very hostel he’s now managing because his dad kicked him out of his family home for having a boyfriend. Sadly, it’s still a thorny subject in the household.
After a lovely if bizarre first evening in this huge empty location, we set off in the morning on the lookout for another hostel with no kids and closer to town. It was on this bus journey that we were welcomed by another local. As Annalie and I happily sat in our adjacent seats taking in the rustic country views, a woman in front of us suddenly stood up, turned around, and with a big toothless smile kissed us twice on the cheeks whilst wishing us a good day. 😨 We’re trying to take this as a friendly welcome to the city rather than creepy encounter with a witch…
Our new hostel was bang in the middle of town, a lovely and European looking city where very quickly we felt at home. Day 1 and 3 were spent exploring Salta, doing some chores, and importantly also marked by our first encounter of Argentinean steak at an amazing restaurant called Viejo Jack’s, whilst day 2 was memorably spent in the countryside horseriding with gauchos and eating more gorgeous beef.
Day 2 began with a filling breakfast in a beautiful farm house, after which we were each given a horse for the morning walk. Jen fell in love with her Milambo very quickly (perhaps a bit too much), Annalie’s horse was a cutie but also a fatty as he kept going off track to find food, Hannah kept hers at bay because she’s scared of horses, and mine was just a bit slow.
We were immersed in nature with the sun on our shoulders and a friendly pal to guide us through the landscape, all in all pretty idyllic. The highlights were two: we learned how to gallop (and loved it!) and on our return to the ranch were delighted with the best BBQ. Steak, chorizo, chimichurri, crunchy roast potatoes, salads, roast pumpkin, breads etc etc, we were treated with a smorgasbord of authentic homemade delicacies which filled us till the next morning. Fantastic.
Our last evening was spent enjoying more food at a local restaurant/peña in Salta. Alongside delicious empanadas and a weird dish of corn based cake, the vibe here is what makes this place unique, with an ambience fueled by the very clientele who play their instryments, sing folk music and create their very own self-curated entertainment.
Our first stop in this country has been excellent and the cuisine in particular was something we were very looking forward to which hasn’t disappointed. The empanadas, the meat, the dulce de leche, the ice cream – all has been mouthwatering and it feels good to not have to worry about the freshness of food (only have our wallets to worry about!).
From Salta we’re now headed to Mendoza where we’ll be eating more delicious meat accompanied by more delicious wine.
Ciao for now! X