Salta, Argentina
 Catedral Basilica de Salta (Photo credit: New York Times)

I first fell in love with Salta--albeit from afar--when I stumbled across a New York Times 36 HOURS IN SALTA article a year or two ago.  I was intrigued by the descriptions of this town with its perfectly preserved colonial architecture nestled in the Andean foothills, its lively cultural blend of Spanish and Gaucho traditions, its food, its  wine… 

Gauchos in Salta City (Photo credit: Neshamayin )

...right, I know, I know, all the things I usually fall for but Salta has an extra special something—it is in the extreme northwest corner of Argentina—an arduous eight hours from Buenos Aires and basically NOT NEAR ANYTHING—or rather more accurately—not near anything familiar to me--an almost irresistible lure.   
I’ve been reading up on Salta ever since this first introduction and its lists of attractions just keeps getting longer.  Here are a few--its gorgeous civic and architectural heart, Plaza 9 de Julio; its Neo-classical spiritual center, Catedral Basilica de Salta; its Museum of High Altitude Archeology with its important collection of Incan artifacts as well as actual Incans since it includes mummified Incan remains; its small but fine Museo de Arte Contemporaneo; nightly folkloric jam sessions known as penas and a truly excellent café culture where life is enjoyed at a leisurely pace and in the gloriously open air four season climate.  
 La Casona del Molino, one of many popular local penas (Photo Credit:Bridges and Balloons)
As I say, a limited list, obviously since it doesn’t even include the nearby cloud forest not to mention a thousand other things—but hopefully enough to give you a taste of this special place.

Despite my inflamed Salta passions, I haven’t yet been so for now I must rely on intel and images from those who have but later this year I’ll be doing my own reconnaissance-–and I can’t wait!  In fact, Kristin  Peterson Edwards and I are so confident of its charms, that we have added as an optional stop in Salta to our October trip to Buenos Aires.  I think its is going to be great and NOT NEAR ANYTHING--except the Andes and great food and great wine and great sites to see.  Oh, and about those arduous eight hours from Buenos Aires—that’s if you drive.   If you fly—and we will—then its just over 2 hours! Not too bad to travel a world away from all the more familiar things.  Got my name written all over it.  I hope it has yours, too...