Staying in Salta

Posted by on January 9, 2011

I’m relieved and happy to report that we really love the city of Salta and plan to stay for awhile. After dragging all our suitcases onto the wrong bus to Salta, I really don’t want to go anywhere else for awhile.

Here is my top ten list of what I love about Salta:

1. Beautiful City – there are colonial buildings, parks with palm trees and mountains in the distance.

2. Amazing apartment – I’m sure hardcore travelers/expats can live anywhere, but we’re not hardcore.  We need a nice place with the internet, a couch, and big bed.   We got so lucky with the apartment we’re renting. It has all those things and an amazing deck with a jacuzzi.

view from our apartment

3. Nice people – the people here are super friendly and patient with my lack of Spanish.   The cheek kiss is popular. I find myself cheek kissing 2-3 people a day. (not including Jeff).

4. Small city feel. There are 500,000 people here, but horse drawn carts still go down our street. This one unfortunately had a megaphone.

5. Empanadas (and other delicious foods)

Humita - tamale-like corn dish

6. Good cycling for Jeff -Jeff’s found a great group of guys to ride with.

7. Yerba Mate – we see the gourds everywhere and bags of it sold at the grocery stores. I bought some in tea bags to start.  Tastes good but leaves a nasty green ring in the cup.

8. Interesting cultural stuff – honestly, we haven’t done anything cultural yet.  But here’s a guy just hanging out in a full gaucho outfit talking to someone on a bike.  I’m sure he’s dressed up for a tourist activity, but you have to love the pants.

9. Wine – The town of Salta is in the province of Salta which is known for high altitude wine.  So far all the wine we’ve tried from this area has been good.  We’re hoping to do some trips out to the vineyards soon.

10. Three alfajores for a peso –  How can you not love a town where the bakery down the street sells 3 alfajores (two shortbread cookies with dulce de leche in between) for a peso, the equivalent of a quarter.  And, the nice older couple that own the store talk to me in Spanish every time I go in.

What I don’t like about Salta:

1. Rain – turns out January and February are the rainy season.  Seems like we left Seattle’s rainy winter to go to Salta’s rainy summer.  Ironic isn’t it?

2. Lack of Veggie Variety – this idea of eating what’s local is great until you actually are in a place where you can only get local vegetables.  I dream of  a produce aisle filled with vegetables shipped in from all over the world, carbon footprint be damned.

3. Lack of good coffee – there are lots of places to go out and get good coffee, very hard to buy good beans in the grocery stores.  Instant and robusto beans yes, Arabica not so much.

Luckily, the dislike list is short, and who knows, dislike #3 might just get us to switch to yerba mate full time.