Monday (Lunes) 24th May, 2010
Day 437

Tilcara, Argentina
Tilcara, Argentina
Miles: 44,608
S 23.57601°
W 65.39991°

What a beautiful day! Despite overnight temperatures well below freezing, by 11:00 the sun had warmed the air, it was 70°F and we were in t-shirts.

We spent the day strolling around the town of Tilcara looking at the local sights, getting some exercise as part of our altitude acclimatization and to occupy the day while we waited for our vehicle insurance to be renewed.

We spent some time walking around an archeological site called Pulcara. Situated on a hill just south of the town center, this site held perhaps 1500 people of the Omaguaca tribe in its hey day in C12-C13. A number of the dwellings have been restored to give visitors some idea of living conditions. The site is covered in large cacti called Cardon. Traditionally these plants provided the only building timber in much of Northern Argentina as no true trees grow naturally in the region. The wood from the Cardon has a distinctive pattern of holes in the surface where the thorns of the living plant were. At the base of the hill Nina toured a cactus garden and was fascinated by cactus plants that appeared to have wool/fluff growing among the thorns.

The town was quite busy with lots of Argentine tourists (and a few foreigners as well ). Preparations for tomorrow's parade were visible throughout the town.