17.01.2011 - 20.01.2011 24 °C
The bus from Chile to Northern Argentina turned into a bit of a reunion with random travellers I had met in Bolivia. In San Pedro, I had already surprisingly bumped into a couple who I had last seen in Galapagos Islands about six weeks and several countries earlier! That was a bit weird I must admit, however here taking buses through Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, I was well and truly on the beaten backpackers track. I think I knew half the bus hehe!! I am glad this journey turned into a bit of a social affair though as it turned into an epic ride, impressive scenery but WTH that bloody border crossing took FOREVER. What we were waiting for I don’t know! Oh wait here we go, the mobile bag scanner where there is no-one there checking all the bags through anyway so absolutely no point to it! Great.
In all 13 hours or so we did not stop once to get any provisions so I was starving and grumpy when we finally arrived to Salta bus station and the ‘baggage handler’ who asked for money received the brunt of my frustrations! Anyway, Salta was a beautiful place, spring-like weather due to the slight altitude, beautiful manicured plaza in the centre surrounded by European-style architecture. The atmosphere was quite European too, very much full of locals sitting out in the plaza drinking coffee. The streets are pretty and clean and it immediately felt much safer than anywhere else I had been in South America. With 90% or so of the population from direct European descent maybe it was just much easier to blend in with the crowd here in Argentina. The landscapes around here, particularly the surrounding mountains, reminded me a bit of New Zealand, maybe more the North Island. My first impressions of Argentina were good, and when I sat down with Jurgen and Sandra with Empanadas (traditional snack a bit like a small Cornish pasty) followed by a huge steak accompanied by a huge glass of local red wine, I was in my element.