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Message from the skies.
  • No KMZ (Google Earth) for this traveldiary.
I was totally confident that my feet are 45 in European size but only 48 gave the right dimensions in these new shoes. Strange.
d01_01 (2013-03-26 00:44:43) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_02 (2013-03-26 07:27:35) -- show location on Google Maps
Lift-off at 8am in the morning, the feeling is totally the same when you get onto the daily morning bus for commuting to the office.
d01_03 (2013-03-26 07:52:48) -- show location on Google Maps
Landing in San Salvador de Jujuy
The plane landed in Jujuy (how the saying goes, So far not a single plane stayed up there) and my luggage arrived too with the same plane.

Following the usual philanthropy, now I'll share an another wisdom about the Argentine public transportation:
  • book the ticket to the most possible front seats (the cockpit is the best).
  • at the moment when the sign of the seatbelt goes off, jump up from the seat, haste forward to leave the airplane among the first ones. Elbowing, shouldering are valid.
  • running to the luggage, hopefully you're still among the first ones, then run out to the parking lot in front of the airport.
What's this all about? The usual Let's tread down the other assholes, I want to be the first! virtue? Something like, but with higher motivations. Probably this depends on the schedule of the planes - mine was too early - but in the parking mall of the airport in Jujuy 1, aka one transfer bus awaits. It's right there exactly by the time of the arrival of the plane, how lil' nice, but the amount is only 1. This simply means, that generally you need to book the transfer via phone, beforehand (I didn't do it), then by the order of arrival, the driver fills the remaining empty seats.

This means, if you didn't push yourself forward on the plane, and fooled around at the airport to get out your backpack from the plastic bag, then the transfer minivan is already completely crowded, and the driver only apologizes - but helpfully he'll tell you that this is the only transfer, there's no more.

Thus, I recommend that before the arrival to Jujuy, organize the airport transfer. The even more other reason is, there ain't too many taxis or remises either, the hundred-something passengers grab those too very quickly. Then if the transfer goes away, so do the taxis and remis, the families are taken by their own cars, then the airport becomes empty, dead and just sleepily yawns and the only idea to save the day could be to ask the airport employees if they can help with some taxi-remis telephone numbers.
d01_04 (2013-03-26 10:39:09) -- show location on Google Maps
What finally didn't happen, because although only I and two ladies remained, they had their remis upon arrival. Is there a free seat? Sure, I'm interested.

The driver asked the ladies' destination. Tilcara For a second I had a brainstorm, because I myself had it as the destination of the day, but going directly from Jujuy to Tilcara by remis may not be the cheapest entertainment - so I replied the bus terminal of Jujuy.
d01_05 (2013-03-26 10:49:38) -- show location on Google Maps
We moved forward for some time, strangely too much time, and my internal traveller clock already ticked more than what I envisioned beforehand from the maps about the distance between the airport and San Salvador de Jujuy.

I was reading the Comfortzone Magazine on the passenger seat, and was about to say, Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore....

The ladies noticed something too (in their forties, Argentine friends, have been here many times) and we're asking the driver: Haven't we missed the road leading to the city?

The driver looked at us, Didn't you say that we go to Tilcara, to the bus terminal?? OOooo, nice try, probably really only a misunderstanding, but not. I Jujuy:terminal, ladies:Tilcara.

He stopped at the side, said okay, if I want it, we can turn back to Jujuy. I counted the money: theoretically the airport transfer to Jujuy costs 40 pesos and the bus from Jujuy to Tilcara 40 pesos again. My third of the remis price would be 150 pesos, thus I had two options: I pay the double of the ride or I start to go backwards on the route, wait for the bus in Jujuy and such things.

Since it fit into the budget, while we were already on the way, let's continue to Tilcara immediately.
d01_06 (2013-03-26 11:30:38) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_07 (2013-03-26 11:45:52) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_08 (2013-03-26 11:46:51) -- show location on Google Maps
In Volcán village.
d01_09 (2013-03-26 11:48:52) -- show location on Google Maps
The church of Tumbaya.

I ran into the week of Easter, thus Tumbaya and later Tilcara welcomed the visitors everywhere with this poster: the motivation was Our Lady of Copacabana what's from the Bolivian city, Copacabana and is the oldest Virgin Mary of the Americas. Mary got into Argentina when according to the historians, she appeared in front of a herder in the July of 1835 on these lands, on these mountains, thus they built the shrine of Punta Corral (I haven't found better translation than (End of the Corral shrine). Since then, in each year the followers go on pilgrimage with two pictures of Mary: they walk 22 kilometers in about 7 and 13 hours, from Tumbaya at 2034 meters up to the shrine at 3700 meters.
d01_10 (2013-03-26 12:06:41) -- show location on Google Maps
Tumbaya village.
d01_11 (2013-03-26 12:10:06) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_12 (2013-03-26 12:10:19) -- show location on Google Maps
On the road again.
d01_13 (2013-03-26 12:13:47) -- show location on Google Maps
Arrival to Tilcara
Finally after the sidestep to Tumbaya we arrived to Tilcara and I recommended that since we reached the town this nicely, let's go up to the hostel, thus carrying the backpack is needed only from there. I handed over the 150 pesos and we bid farewell to each other.

Checking in at the hostel, then I grabbed my photo gear and started to discover the city.

They say you can find an empanada lady on the main square, who I couldn't find: they say she makes good empanadas; I pass this information, hopefully others will have more luck.

The Church of Francis of Assisi and the Virgin of Rosario.
d01_14 (2013-03-26 14:22:51) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_15 (2013-03-26 14:24:20) -- show location on Google Maps
Suddenly I realized some Uzbek, Turkmenian or Kazah architecture but they are farther.
d01_16 (2013-03-26 14:24:52) -- show location on Google Maps
The Pukara of Tilcara
I strolled down to the south to the Pukara.

I learned two things at the entrance. The first, you ain't gonna just walk around there. But I made the game even with waving my smile-killer DNI.

Had to wait some time, until a group of people gathered together with the guide, but until then the garden of cactuses can be discovered.
d01_17 (2013-03-26 14:48:38) -- show location on Google Maps
The garden. Speaking of religions, one must realize this is a real Canaan, Shangri-La, Elysium, Heaven of the Cactuses.
d01_18 (2013-03-26 14:49:00) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_19 (2013-03-26 14:51:22) -- show location on Google Maps
Bell Stone. The musical story means that if you pick a rock and hit this 2.5 ton volcanic piece of stone, it will sound like a real bell.

It really does.
d01_20 (2013-03-26 14:54:13) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_21 (2013-03-26 14:55:24) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_22 (2013-03-26 14:59:40) -- show location on Google Maps
Although in the Hispanic way of the tongues pucará or pucara words are used, it must be clarified for the readers expecting linguistic accuracy, that originally in Aymara and Kechua languages pukara is the correct pronunciation. What's a pukara? A pukara was a military installment, typical in the cultures of The Andes before the Inca times. Alas, many of them have perished during the centuries of history, but the Pukara of Tilcara can still be seen.

Archaeologists have found evidences of human presence back to 10,000 years ago, still this pukara was built in the 12. century, by the Omaguaca tribe. The members of the tribe were skilled agronomists and were proficient in weaving-plaiting, pottery too. Further, they were good soldiers as well, and as a result, the location of this pukara was an important strategic military point, because it offered great position to organize and oversee the roads of the Humahuaca ravine.

My current travel discovered mainly this mountain pass, deep valley.
d01_23 (2013-03-26 15:10:04) -- show location on Google Maps
In its most glorious days, the pukara was laid out on about 15 hectares (61,000 square meters) and gave a home to more than 2,000 persons. Its inhabitants lived in square-shaped houses made of rocks, what had only low doorsteps and didn't have any windows in the favour of keeping the warm inside; during my short stay I can clearly say it is a very windy place, thus I expect the winter even colder.

Besides the living places, the pukara had corrals too for the livestock and sacrificed places as well for religious ceremonies or to bury the dead.
d01_24 (2013-03-26 15:20:14) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_25 (2013-03-26 15:27:52) -- show location on Google Maps
Cactus crocodilus
d01_26 (2013-03-26 15:31:58) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_27 (2013-03-26 15:32:56) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_28 (2013-03-26 15:36:04) -- show location on Google Maps
View to the western side of the Humahuaca valley.

In 1908, Juan Bautista Ambrosetti, the ethnographer of the University of Buenos Aires and his apprentice Salvador Debenedetti arrived to the spot and in the first 3 years of excavations they could bring more than 3,000 evidences to the surface.

From 1911, nearly about 2,000 square meter area was cleared and they rebuilt some buildings too.

From 1948 Eduardo Casanova took the rein of the excavations and by 1966 the place was opened for the visitors as an archaeological museum.

Explorations and excavations are still ongoing nowadays, they are controlled by the University of Buenos Aires.
d01_29 (2013-03-26 15:48:48) -- show location on Google Maps
A 360 degree panorama.

d01_30 (2013-03-26 15:51:31) -- show location on Google Maps
The interior of the houses.
d01_31 (2013-03-26 15:56:59) -- show location on Google Maps
Whether it was what it looks like?
d01_32 (2013-03-26 16:00:33) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_33 (2013-03-26 16:03:46) -- show location on Google Maps
Dear Diary!

I think the overcast weather wants to message me and my camera something.

d01_34 (2013-03-26 16:10:49) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_35 (2013-03-26 16:11:59) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_36 (2013-03-26 16:12:06) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_37 (2013-03-26 16:16:58) -- show location on Google Maps
In the cloudy weather and roaring winds, I walked back to the accommodation to charge the equipment with the need of electricity, then back to the center of the town...village to get some energy for myself as well.
d01_38 (2013-03-26 16:50:59) -- show location on Google Maps
On the way I accidentally found the bus terminal, thus I wanted to buy the ticket for the tomorrow travel, when my youthful heat was cooled down with the reply that I shouldn't think that much about the future: I can buy the ticket tomorrow, on the same day, not before. Okay.

I thought to have a little afternoon meal, so I entered a small shop and filled my bag with some cold meats, bakery stuff and cheese. I liked how the cashier did the calculations on a paper with a pencil; but of course it's possible too, that she didn't trust my Spanish knowledge.
d01_39 (2013-03-26 17:35:45) -- show location on Google Maps
The gentlemen and ladies of the local police march in the town. Football game? Oh, not at all, the pilgrims are coming.
d01_40 (2013-03-26 17:36:05) -- show location on Google Maps
Got back to the accommodation, eating in the common living room and meanwhile I oversaw The Things That Should Be Charged. I had some nap, and during like a real Central European would do, I was grumbling in myself: who the hell wriggles the key in the lock of the door for 30 minutes??? I was about to wake up, when it came out, that some people played pingpong in the garden.
d01_41 (2013-03-26 17:46:16) -- show location on Google Maps
Late strolls
Around 8pm again, some walk in the nighttime town. Tilcara could be misleading. You head to north on the Padilla street, it's like in the Castle of Budapest or the cobblestone streets of Prague, yellowish light illuminate the houses - but two corners away the town changes into a dusty little town.

The Belgrano street, what can be considered as the main street.
d01_42 (2013-03-26 20:47:30) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_43 (2013-03-26 20:50:18) -- show location on Google Maps
d01_44 (2013-03-26 20:57:09) -- show location on Google Maps
The butcher. One could direct a nice horror movie here.
d01_45 (2013-03-26 21:02:29) -- show location on Google Maps
Preccccioussss. Since I'm an experienced Argentine, thus I'm taking with a grain of salt those previous news like So cheap! But I indeed had to agree, seeing the menus of the region and North Argentina. The restaurants (barely illuminated wooden chairs and wooden tables in stone buildings) offer from 25 pesos full meals. A roast beef costs 55 pesos - in the capital these start from a minimum 70 pesos.

So, this region of the country indeed appears as cheap.

One more Quilmes went down and I returned to the accommodation. A brother and sister arrived later, not very talkative, so I fell asleep.
d01_46 (2013-03-26 21:05:32) -- show location on Google Maps