Monday, 23 April 2007

Tilcara and on up the Quebrada

Early on Saturday morning we took the hour long bus up the Rio Grande valley, north to the small town of Tilcara. Here we stored our bags before enjoying a homemade pasta lunch (Italian food is great here in Argentina, as a huge proportion of population is of Italian origin. Even I can hear that the Spanish language here is spoken with a semi Italian style accent).

Humans have lived in this valley for at least 10,000 years. Dense patches of cacti are clues to human habitation here, for the Andean Indians ate the seeds of the cactus plants, which then sprouted in there latrines. Tilcara has one such patch, where 1400 year old ruins have been uncovered and restored. Very little is known of these tribes, but their settlements are large and suggest great power and success.

In the early evening it was onto another bus to climb up to the town of Humahuaca, just 100 miles south of the Bolivian border.

Again this charming colonial town, sits in within the multi coloured mountains that were a principle route through which the Spanish transported the silver from Potosi (in current day Bolivia, once the richest city on Earth, and a place Sam and I will visit in August) to Buenos Aires on the Atlantic coast.