Tucumán Province is the smallest of the 23 that make up Argentina but it has a big historical importance for it is here that independence from Spain was declared in 1816.
The photo shows a field of sugar cane which is the main agricultural production of the province.
Bus service is good in Argentina and Tucumán is particularly well served by its large modern terminal
This imposing Casa del Gobierno on Plaza Independencia, replaced the colonial Cabildo at the turn of the 20th century.
The San Francisco Church on the corner next to the Casa del Gobierno is just one of the city's many fine churches.
The 1845 Cathedral also faces the Plaza Independencia.
The Hospitality Club worked for me again in Tucumán where I met Frederico in the pink shirt and his friend Ramiro. I had an interesting conversation with these two young Jewish MBA students about the economic difficulties of Argentina and their prospects of emigrating wherever they might find opportunities for a better future. Then we drifted into the complex matter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its relationship to Bush's crusade in the oil rich Middle East. We came close to solving all the world's problems but the bar closed before we got there.
Here is a view of peatonal Mendoza. I had been told to watch myself in Tucumán because hard times caused increased street crime. I did but I found people friendly and had no problems at all.
I was of course especially careful to stay on busy, well lit streets at night and felt quite safe in crowds like this one on Peatonal Buenos Aires.
Here is the place that made Tucumán's fame, the house in which the declaration of independence was signed in 1816.
The room behind the well is the actual spot where the document was signed.
After Tucumán, I continued north to Salta, a city of also of about 500 000 people like Tucumán
Salta's cable car to the top of the 1454 meter Cerro San Bernardo gave me the opportunity to take this composite view of the city.
Here, the heart of the city where the Cathedral and Cabildo were built is called Plaza 9 de Julio. Personally I think that the custom of using dates to name places is for the dogs. I admit being biased by my ignorance of what happened on all these dates but I soon feel better about it when many of the locals I turn to don't know either.
Here is the Cabildo facing Plaza 9 de Junio, or is it de Julio? I think it must be Julio, nothing ever happens in Junio!
The Cathedral is quite handsome with its pink pastel stucco revetment.
Those who know me well might find it strange that a "bright" like me would take so many pictures of churches and temples wherever I go. I don't believe in ghosts, elves, fairies, witches, angels, demons and all the deities in the name of whom all these monuments have been built but I do recognise that these ethereal entities are very real for a lot of people. In many places where the spirit world is considered more important than the material reality we live in, altars and churches are effectively representative expressions of the local society and culture and are very interesting as such.
Just look at this fine building next to the Cathedral. It is the curia where the bishop and his priestly henchmen dine and rest while the ordinary people wait to get a glimpse of them.
Not bad eh!
Maybe crime does not pay but faith often does...
I don't believe in any of that spiritual stuff nor do I pretend to believe like some atheists I know. I sometimes get shunned for speaking out but when that happens, I think of all those who have spoken out before me thanks to whom I am only shunned and not burned at the stake.
If all non believers stated publicly their position, then, the "righteous" would have to recognise their existence and put an end to the subtle forms of discrimination exerted against atheists.
I have no use for spirits in my life. I am quite content with my material universe and I thoroughly enjoy living with ordinary people in modest backpacker hotels like the Italia seen here on the Alberdi pedestrian mall.
Here is another view of Alberdi Mall close to avenida San Martin that leads to the beautiful Parque San Martin.
And finally, a picture of the fountain in Parque San Martin's artificial lake near the bus terminal.
The next page tells about a minibus tour in the neighbouring mountains that I took as consolation for missing a ride on the famous "Tren a las Nubes".