Argentina - Tucumán and Salta
April 5, 2006
It dawns and I wake up on the bus, with no idea where we are. I open a map and find out that we are just leaving a spa resort of Termas de Río Hondo. We have already passed Santiago del Estero. What can be done - at least I slept well. In about an hour, we arrive at (San Miguel de) Tucumán, the capital of Tucumán province. I walk to the city - first to exchange money, then to look at a train station where a regular train (once a week) should depart for Buenos Aires around 10 am. I would like to try it just for one stop (no further as I have no time). After arrival at the station, they tell me that the train left about half an hour ago - in Resistencia, I had no possibility to verify the time of departure on Satelite Ferroviario. It is a pity, but anyway it would have been just a few miles ride with a complicated return. I go back to the city, visit an ethnographic museum, take a few pictures of historical buldings and get on a bus towards Salta. The trip takes about four hours. The view of mountains (beginning of the Andes) in the North and West is a pleasant change.
In the terminal of Salta, I get immediately contacted by promoters of a 15 ARS hotel - no problem where to spend night. I am however interested, if I will be able to take a tourist train tomorrow towards a Chilean border. According to a guidebook, the trip is called Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds) and leaves on selected days at 7:00 am from Salta. At the train station, I meet Mr Stauffer, a rail enthusiast who opened a museum in a former waiting room. He tells me that Tren a las Nubes was suspended in 2005. Only freight trains operate on the route nowadays, but I cannot take them either because the track cannot be passed due to a landslide. In short, I came at a wrong time again. We can only look at pictures from luckier visitors, such as Traveltango, Argentina.it or Viajeros.com. Line scheme is published on Portal de Salta.
I come back to the city, visit museum MAAM with a unique exhibition featuring three mummified bodies of sacrificed childred from precolumbian era, see two beautifully decorated churches and go back to the hotel. I chat a little with other guests (among others, an Australian showed me Southern Cross in the sky, others were in Chile and planned a trip to Bolivia - if only I had as much time as they did ...) and the day is over.
© Jan Peula, 2006