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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


Back in Argentina : Salta, the Andean charm

We are back in Argentina, the starting point of our trip a bit more than two months ago. At that time, we went to Buenos Aires and Iguazu falls. Now, our aim is to cross the country from north to south toward Ushuaia.

The north of Argentina, from Salta up to the Bolivian border has got an Andean flavour. From the reddish mountain and desert landscape to the cultural specificities. In the gastronomy as well, the pre-Columbian influence can be felt. Back in time, the area made part of the Inca empire and during the Spanish colonisation, it built strong commercial links with Potosi. Indeed, the north of Argentina, today the poorest part of the country, used to be the richest with its economy based on the production of mules and provisions to supply the mining city, where, due to altitude and climate, the local production could not cope with the needs.

An example of this Andean flavour : though the import and selling of coca leaves is forbidden in Argentina, authorities in the north do not seem to pay too much heed to the rule. Some grocery shops have got signs proposing this product and, even in the most elegant coffees in town, and at any time of the day, it is possible to see people pulling a few leaves from a little bag and putting them into their mouths.

Nevertheless do not get the wrong impression from my words : there are a few common points with the neighbouring country, but the area feels more like Argentina than Bolivia. Starting with paved roads and in rather good shape, there are coffee shops and restaurants everywhere and, with the exception of few local dishes, food is similar to what we found in Buenos Aires : pizza, pasta, parrilla and empanadas. On top of that, though some of the people have got an indigenous type, most of the population seems to be of European or Middle East descent, unlike the areas we visited in Bolivia. And, of course, you can hear the Argentinian accent all around you.

Salta is a charming city. The old town is well preserved and has got beautiful colonial buildings spread all over it. Everywhere there are shops, coffees and terraces. We stayed in a nice hostel where we could oversleep. It was the first time in a while that we did not have to suffer from the staff shouting to each other at 8 a.m, in front of our door. The Wifi was, as well, fast and reliable. All these details helped to enjoy the city even better.

One of the main attractions in Salta is the 'Tren the las Nubes' (Train of the Clouds, literally). Unfortunately, with the years it has stopped being a mean of transport to become a tourist attraction with prices close to those of a Paris-Madrid by Talgo. So we gave up the idea and, instead, we took the aerial cable car up to San Bernardo hill, where there are great views of the town. Maybe less impressive, but still very nice and much, much cheaper. The day before our departure, we went to watch a comedy play. It was hard to convince Karim, because he was not expecting to get everything. But he did understand well … I am proud of him !