May 22, 2012
The trip today epitomizes the advantages of independent travel.
I awake at sunrise. From the hotel window in Purmamarca (pop 510) I take photos of the surrounding mountains. After breakfast I stroll around the streets and up the hills. I stop for a chat with a lovely schoolteacher.
I drive north in the direction of the border with Bolivia. Still in Argentina, I stop in the Quechua town of Humahuaca (pop 7985). I wander around the town. I visit the outdoor market. I buy socks and a hat.
At noon, in the square opposite the Iglesia Candelaria (1641), in the midst of the crowds who have poured off the tour buses, I watch for the patron saint, San Francisco Solano, who makes his daily appearance high up on the clock tower of the church. After the tourists have departed, and back at the market, a vendor sells a freshly baked soft and spicy, juicy chicken empanada. A Quechua lady sells a slice of a moist home-made vanilla layer cake – the best ever!
At the Argentina-Bolivia frontier, I take a coffee at a truckers’ café. (I didn’t cross the border, but travelers I have met give Bolivia rave reviews.)
On the road back to Purmamarca, I stop and shoot the mountains. When I see wild animals or domestic herds grazing in the hills or beside a river, I stop and shoot. If I spot a bird coasting in the skies above, I stop and shoot.
Please click on the attached photo to see the results of my independent leisurely strolls and patient drive.
PS On the road south to Purmamarca, I stop and I wait. I wait patiently for the late afternoon sunlight to illuminate the incomparable scenery of Quebrada Humahuaca (the Humahuaca Ravine).
Please wait. The photos of the multi-colored, multi-striped mountains will be attached to my next letter.