Salta is a nice, well preserved Colonial city. Salta comes from the Aymara word for ‘beautiful’. It is often called Salta Linda (Salta the beautiful).
Salta claims to be the birthplace of empanadas in Argentina, or at least is rumoured to have the best tasting ones! The region certainly has very tasty ones. We’ve sampled quite a few and they’ve all be really yummy. We like the carne (meat) and queso (cheese ) filled best.
The Museum of High Altitude Archaeology contains the mummies of three Inca children found at the Llullaillaco volcano on the border with Chile. The mummies have been perfectly preserved by icy conditions, high altitude and low oxygen. The children are believed to have been sacrificed as an offering to the gods in a fertility ceremony around 1490. The mummies are displayed one at a time and rotated every 6 months to keep them well preserved. Today the Lightning Girl was on display.
The 6-year-old girl was sacrificed during a Capacocha ceremony on Llullaillaco. She is called Niña del Rayo (Lightning Girl) because she was struck by lightning at some point after her interment. The lightning charred her outer clothes and burned parts of her body. The girl wears a wrap dress (acsu) with a belt and a cloak (lliclla) pinned together with a large needle (tupu). She wears moccasins made of llama leather.
The other two mummies not displayed are those of a 15-year-old female and a 7-year-old boy. She may have been one of the “chosen women” (acllakuna) who grew up secluded and virginal until sacrificed to the sun god Inti. He was likely the young sibling of an Inca chief or other important member of the tribe.
We had a nice lunch at Parker cafe, named for Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde fame.
Jose told us we might be able to see toucans in the small forested area of San Lorenzo just outside of Salta. We took a short drive out to see if we could find any. All we can say is that is was a nice drive by very nice homes. No toucans. Apparently they are nesting higher up in the forest on private land.
After relaxing on the terrace we walked back to the Basilica to get some night shots and have dinner at Dona Salta.
Tomorrow we fly to Mendoza.