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Of all the attractions in the Salta area, nothing beats Tren a las nubes, train to the clouds. You see its logo all over town.

The railway runs all the way to Antofagasta on the Pacific Ocean. To get there, the railway climbs the Andes and reaches as most an altitude of 4600 metres. If you want to go all the way to Antofagasta, the only option is by freight train, and it will take you at least a week. There is no regular passenger traffic, but the tourist train Tren a las nubes goes to the amazing viaduct at Polvorila and then returns back to Salta. The amount of departures varies over the year, with the peak being in July. During the wet season the train takes a pause. For a time table, check the web site for the train. A tip is to get a window seat on the left side. Here you get the best views, not the least at Polvorila. I was lucky, and got a left-window seat here without asking for it.

Already the first time I went to Argentina, I was drooiling over the description of this train trip. As I travelled in January that time, the train was not availble even if I had gone to Salta. But now it was time! An early Saturday morning, I took a taxi to the railway station with the ticket I had bought just a few days earlier. And it was indeed a fantastic trip. Stunning views, even if the landscape is dry, arid and bare.

The train as such is a tourist train. There is a guide in every car, and as most such guides they talk too much. (Here it is an advantage to know only some Spanish, as it makes it easier to ignore.) There was also a bar and a dining car. And since the train climbs to an altitude of 4200 metres, there is also oxygene in every car for those who get a problem with the thin air. On the way back they showed a video film on the TVs - as if the landscape would not warrant a second look! When the dark fell, there was a folk show of dubious quality.

I took many pictures, most of them through the window as the train was rolling.


1. Heading for the Mountains

2. Río Toro

3. Bridge over Río Toro

4. Settlement

5. Río Toro View

6. Trees in Río Toro

7. Zig-Zag

8. Hamlet

9. Red Mountains

10. Cactus Slope

11. Cementery

12. Coloured Mountains

13. Grazing Cattle

14. Gray Mountain

15. The Train

16. Engine with Two Cars

17. Dry Canyon

18. Roadside Hamlet

19. Waterless Stream

20. Dry Slope

21. Dark Red Cliff in Sunlight

22. Small Valley

23. Small Viaduct

24. First Loop

25. Ruins

26. Snowcapped Mountains

27. More Mountain Desert

28. Railway Bank

29. The Train III

30. The Man in the Mountains

31. Bigger Viaduct

32. Green Spots

33. Zig-Zag Road

34. Altiplano

35. Lamas

36. Salt Deposits

37. Brook

38. Grey and Dark-Red

39. Road + River

40. Shunting Mina Concordia

41. Dry and Drier

42. Viaducto de Polvorila

43. The Base of Polvorila

44. Polvorilla III

45. The Train on Polvorila

46. The Road from Polvorila

47. On the Other Side of Polvorila

48. The Shadow of Polvorila

49. The Road to Polvorila

50. The Peddlers

51. The Tourists

52. Polvorila from the Hill

53. San Antonio de los Cobres

54. San Antonio de los Cobres II

55. The Train in San Antonio

56. On the Way Back Home

57. The Lamas Again

58. Viaduct Shadow

59. Light-Green and Black

60. Mountains and Blue Skies

61. Village by a Salt River

62. On Track

63. Sun and Shadow I

64. Sun and Shadow II

65. Sun and Shadow III

66. Mountain in Late Sunlight

67. Dark-Red Cliff at Dusk

68. Folk Show

69. People are Having Fun