We arrived in Salta rather late, too late to go looking for my friend Mario, who had offered us a place to stay. So I walked around the center, looking for alternatives. The pickings were slim, and expensive.
Eventually, after much failure, it started to rain and we decided to just take whatever; we ended up in an expensive, small room in a fancy downtown hotel. But at least they had a good breakfast and wifi - we were able to get in touch with Mario.
That first night our late-night dinner was Parilla, a collection of meat, internal organs and sausages off the grill, which is apparently a local standard/speciality. We didn't like it much.
The next day we met Mario in the city center and took a cab to his place, which was about 15 minutes away. He made us feel very welcome, very at home. It nice to see him and catch up, discuss some tech and gossip about Iceland - Mario and I used to work together in Iceland, at Frisk, so we had lots to talk about. In keeping with the geeky atmosphere, Mario also lent me his soldering iron and I performed surgery on my laptop.
Overall, Salta was a quiet stop for us - the main impression was one of reverse culture shock: the city felt so European after Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. We could even throw toilet paper in the toilet some of the time! It took us a while just to recognize again the characteristically South American things; the chaotic busses, crazy market and shops that seemed to be nothing more than glass display cases.
We walked around a lot, discovered medialunes (sweet crescent shaped breakfast pastries), figured out the city busses, saw a local crafts market, visited a museum to see more Inca mountaintop mummies, and played quite a few games of pool with Mario. He also made sure we tasted a local cake with icing made of sugar-cane and took us out one night for typical empanadas, which was followed by an exciting taxi ride through torrential rain and completely flooded streets back to his place.
We still had such camera-hangover after our tour of Southern Bolivia, that we hardly took any pictures - a week later when we went through our photos we realized we hadn't even a single photo of our host! Oops...