Tag Archives: Salta

Salta’s cathedral, the holy water comes with a warning

Salta’s cathedral is absolutely beautiful.  During the day it’s cotton candy pink.   At night it’s lit up in a golden yellow.

The inside of the church is just as beautiful with an amazing altar and statues.   But, my favorite part of the cathedral is this sign over the holy water.

Translation:

The blessed water is a sacred thing.

Do not put it on the floor.

Do not use it as a remedy.

Do not use it for bad things such as quackery or witchcraft.

This does not please God.

Giving Salta our 2 weeks notice

At the beginning of all our trips, we have visions of going to one town and settling down.  The plan is always to “move” to one city or town for six months.

But, then wander lust sets in.  How can we stay in just one town when there are so many other towns/cities/countries nearby.

We pull out maps and decide to travel around the entire continent.   We can do it if we do one town a day for the next four months.   Then we remember, we have 5 pieces of luggage, a bicycle and Jeff has a business to run.   We can’t just backpack around Boliva.   But, we can go to Chile. We can take a side trip to Boliva. We could move to Uruguay. We can take a side trip to Peru.  We can move to Ecuador. We can take a side trip to Columbia. Or, we can go south and see more of Argentina.  Or we can stay in Salta longer.

The possibilities are endless which  can be paralyzing.      I can only sit in front of a Lonely Planet guide, Expedia, Trip Advisor and 1,00o travel blogs for so long. At some point we have to just do it, pick a place and buy the tickets.

We’re decided to leave for Chile in 2 weeks. We’re really excited, but now I’m starting to look at Salta through new eyes. Things that I see every day are taking on that new meaning now that I know know my  time with them is limited.

We’ve never ever regretted leaving one place in order to go to another one.    The only thing that happens is our list of places to return to one day grows longer.

The camera, which I haven’t pulled out for awhile is now back in my hands. The “Top 10 things to see in Salta” is back on my computer screen.   We’ve only done 5 of the ten.   The road trips we’ve been thinking about are actually being planned, the museum’s we’ve never gone to are on tomorrow’s itinerary.

I’m assuming they still have beef in Chile, so I’m not going to cram the rest of eating the cow in.  Besides, we’ll be back in Argentina at the end of the trip.

I am going to be spending a LOT of time with dulce de leche.  They might have it in Chile, but I don’t to risk not eating it if they don’t.

Eating an entire cow (not in one sitting) part 9 – Rib cap and queperi?

One of the great things about our Salta apartment is that it comes with a parilla (Argentinian barbecue grill).   And, one of the great things about Jeff is he’s willing to be an asador (barbecuer).

The Argentinian grill looks sort of like a built in shelf under a chimney.   The giant rack comes with a crank, so you can adjust the height of the grill over the burning wood.

We’ve tried it several times.  For the first one, I started slicing veggies and salting the meat around 8:00pm.    It took slightly longer to light and cook the meat than intended. We sat down to dinner at 1:00am.

But, since that first attempt, Jeff has gotten quite adept with the grill.    Several things are different about our asadors (the name for the actual barbecue as well)  versus the traditional ones.    1. Number of people attending – traditional asadors have lots of people. Since we don’t know many people here, the largest one we had was attended by three people, Jeff, me and our friend Stephanie.

our first dinner guest

2. Order and kinds of meats – traditionally there is a specific order which starts with organs, then sausage, then meat.   The order in our asadors is  sausage, meat, chicken, veggies, usually more veggies than sausage, no organs at all.

3. The cook knows what he’s cooking.    Our method of obtaining the meat  is to go to our local butcher.   We always prepare ahead of time with a list of nicely translated words for cuts of beef.  But, we either loose the piece of paper, or get confused when the butcher starts talking fast.
I then say “parilla” several times and point to the case of meat.     The very nice and patient butcher cuts me several different cuts of meats.    We bring them home and look them up on google.   This last time we came home with what turns out to be  flank steak,  rib cap and something that was delicious, but no idea what cut of beef it was.   So, until I can find a definition for queperi or learn to pronounce it in a way that people can actually understand me,  the queperi portion of the cow will go uncolored.

what is queperi?

Tilcara – Taking a break from cow…to eat llama

Normally, we would never go anywhere that was over 3 hours away on a day trip.  That would be like going from Seattle to Salem, OR or Chicago to Cedar Rapids, IA and back in a day. But, Argentina is large and it takes  longer to get everywhere on a bus.

We made sure to get on the correct bus this time. I asked every single driver at the station, multiple times.  Poor Jeff was had to pretend he didn’t know me.

We were the only ones doing a day trip, everyone else were college aged Argentinian backpackers. We could tell because besides backpacks, they all had mate gourdes, thermos, and guitars.

They showed the movie Happy Madison dubbed in Spanish.  You don’t really need to know Spanish or be 21 to enjoy the movie, but it helps.

some of us enjoyed the movie more than others

Once we got to the town it worth a 4 hour bus ride and Adam Sandler.

Tilcara is an amazing little town nestled in the mountains in the middle of the desert.  The backpackers and tourists seemed to outnumber the locals by about 10 to 1, but it didn’t matter.  Even in this tiny town we had entire streets almost to ourselves.

For lunch we went to a restaurant that served “regional specialties.”     After having so much beef it was a nice change to see llama (pronounced jama) on the menu.

We had the choice of several  llama dishes, we went with the llama casserole.

Just having some veggies and not just a hunk of meat on a plate was nice.  The llama was tender and flavorful, tasted nothing like chicken.

I think llama might have once been a local dish, but no one other than tourists and gourmet foodies are eating it now. It’s probably similar to rabbit. You can get rabbit in fancy restaurants in the US, but very very few people in the US are sitting down to rabbit sloppy joes or rabbit tacos at home.  Traditional or not, it was super good food on a super long but fun day trip.

Eating an entire cow (not in one sitting) part 8 – T Bone and Short Ribs

There really isn’t much to report on the eating of a T Bone steak called – beef de costilla and short ribs called tira de asado. Both were delicious.

The thing I found most interesting the atmosphere in the parilla.  We went to a restaurant called El Viejo Jack. Not only is it highly recommended in guide books and on Trip Advisor, it’s also recommended by locals.

The restaurant itself was your basic local parilla with the most glaring fluoresent lights ever.   We’ve noticed this is pretty typical of local parillas.

could it have been any brighter?

It was funny to eat a delicious steak, drink a bottle of really good malbac, and have great attentive service all while feeling like we were in a doctor’s examining room.

It was in sharp contrast to a restaurant we had gone to the night before.

Jose Balcarse was also highly recommended by guidebooks.  It was also really good, but I don’t think there were any locals in the restaurant. Even the waitress, who spoke fluent English was from Uruguay.

this photo is directly off their website

One thing it did really well, besides the food was the ambiance.  The low lighting and exposed brick walls reminded me of restaurants back home.   The food at both places were amazing. One seemed really authentic, local and inexpensive.  The other – gourmet  and  touristy, but you didn’t feel like you were at the DMV.

You can really see the contrast in the below videos.

Video at parilla.

video at gourmet tourist restaurant.