The sky was clear, bright and sunny when we arrived in Salta, conditions that we’ve come to take for granted. In fact, we can count the number of rainy days we’ve seen on our trip on a single hand. We left the bus station and walked through town scoping out hostels.

Salta is very beautiful, yet another impressive remnant of Spanish colonisation, from its beautiful terraces and verdant plazas to ornate (and occasionally tacky) churches.

Calina and I set out exploring the town, stopping at the Catedral Basilica de Salta. Calina always likes seeing the inside of churches while I always find them incredibly macabre; full of creepy statues of bloodied martyrs, deformed-looking baby Jesus’ or the dusty tombs of the deceased elite of centuries ago. It’s interesting how the insides contrast the outsides.

The cathedral reminded us of a frosted wedding cake:

While it was neat, we both preferred the deep red and gold hues of Iglesia San Francisco:

In Salta we also were able to check out El Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña; an interesting museum in Salta that hosts the remains of three Incan mummies that were discovered in 1999 on the summit of Mount Llullaillaco. These children, who were descendants of nobles, were sent on a year long pilgrimage from different parts of the Incan empire. At the end of their journey they met at Llullaillaco, were intoxicated with a corn-based alcohol and were sacrificed, left to freeze to death, in a symbolic gesture of unity within the vast Incan empire. In order to aid in their preservation, only one of the three children are displayed at a time, photography is not allowed, and the exhibit is kept cool, dark and dry. On the day we went ‘The Boy’ was being exhibited.

It was surreal to imagine the leathery, dark, contorted figure in front of us as a human being, that lived and breathed only 500 years ago. His hands were curled into little fists, his feet tucked together and you could see the individual strands of his thick dark hair. There is no more stimulating way of learning about an ancient civilization than experiencing archaeological remains first-hand and listening to the folklore of the local indigenous people.

We also walked through Salta’s lush plaza and saw Argentina’s oldest, most well-preserved Cabildo (Townhall). We got there just in time to watch the changing of the gaucho guards.

That night, Calina and I went out for drinks with a couple we met at our hostel. We were two Canadians and two French, speaking in Spanish, in an Irish pub, in Argentina. Oh how I love internationalism! We joked with them about the difference between France French and Quebec French, notably how “les gosses” refers to little boys in France; whereas in Quebec, it refers to the male anatomy responsible for making little boys. They also joked about the accent of blonde-brits, who exclaim “It’s amaaaazing!” with a sharp upward shift in pitch, smack in the middle of the sentence. Since that night, whenever Calina or I see an impressive sight (an almost daily occurence), we can’t help but shriek: It’s amaaaazing!