Following in the footsteps of my Top 10 Unmissable Destinations for Chile, I figured I would do one for each of the countries we visited. Argentina was the first destination, where we began our journey in South America over two years ago. It all started in Buenos Aires and after visiting the capital we made our way north all the way to the border of Bolivia. Next, we headed south. Deep south, all the way down to Ushuaia, dubbed 'el fin del mundo' (the end of the world). We returned to the country recently this past August revisiting Mendoza followed by the northeastern part of the country, an area we hadn't explored on our original journey. We've spent a total of about four months traveling this diverse country and while that may sound like a lot, to be honest, I would probably need four years to really spend the time necessary in each place.
Posts from the ‘Argentina’ Category
What starts out crazy usually ends up crazy. Prelude to our (mis)adventures going north up the Carretera Austral
We should have known from the start that it was going to be crazy. It started out crazy. Why wouldn't the mayhem just escalate from there?
Did you ever have the feeling the universe was conspiring against you? No matter what you do, things just keep going wrong like some spirit of all the bad karma in the world was suddenly in control of everything that was happening. Is this what being in mercury's retrograde felt like? If so, it described our first days in Esquel perfectly.
I was looking forward to going to El Bolson. I heard it was a beautiful town surrounded by majestic mountains, colorful flowers, homemade beer, artsy stuff, fresh organic berries and had a general laid-back vibe. Yeah, it was kind of a hippy place. But honestly, deep down, I must be one too. I'll come clean. I love this stuff. And I loved El Bolson.
Doesn't every country need it's own Switzerland? Snow capped alpine vistas surrounded by striking azure lakes and greenery, wooden chalets with wood burning stoves and delicious chocolate. Did we somehow fly to Europe? No, we are just in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. I have no idea why it looks like Switzerland here but it does. It's like you stepped into the fifth parallel or something.
From the northwest of Argentina we traveled south to Argentina's other (and more famous) wine country in Mendoza. Mendoza is a fairly large city in Argentina, located in the north west part of the country. It's also easily reachable from Santiago in Chile. Mendoza is located in the desert Cuyo region making it an arid, hot place and even though it's a desert, a startling number of trees have been planted all over the city, providing some much needed shade especially in the summer months.
The north of Argentina has one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of the country, if not all of South America. You can drive from thick jungle mountains to giant cactus filled deserts one day and on other days find yourself in cloudforests or standing in front of ancient Andean ruins. One of the biggest, if not the best, wine countries lie in this region, in Cafayate. Salta is the major city in this region and it's filled with animated peñas where you can hear the traditional music sung live, and visit beautiful churches decked out in colonial architecture.
Did you know you all have an inner gaucho? Well you do and I recently discovered mine. In case you don't know, gauchos are the South American version of the North American cowboy. Riding over the pampas on their horse with no name, the nomadic gauchos lived their lives by hunting cattle. Much like the cowboys, guachos were thought to be the honest, strong, silent types, but proud and capable of violence when necessary. Gauchos often carried a faćon (ginormous, sharp knife) tucked into their pockets and they often used only their faćon for eating. They ate, almost exclusively, meat. Even though I am a former vegetarian, I long to be a gaucho. Waving around my faćon, eating my beef and laying in the sun. I finally had the chance.
After our relaxing stint in Tigre and our arrival to Buenos Aires, we had a full week ahead of us trying to learn Spanish. The week was really crazy, waking up every morning at around 7 am, taking classes at a formal school from 9 am til 1 pm and then usually a 2 hour lunch break followed by more Spanish lessons with a private tutor. These would go on for usually 3 hours total (not including travel time). Sometimes we met with the tutor at night instead of the day. We also couchsurfed three different times, which caused us to pack up our bags and move to different neighborhoods. Suffice to say, it was a busy week but I really enjoyed it all. It felt like a real life had already begun for us. We had new friends, classes to attend and places to go all the time. I really felt like this was a new life for me.
Whew! What a week! After a tranquil weekend in Tigre, Buenos Aires was a whirwind! Actually it was completely ca-ray-zee! Sometimes in a good way but other times it was just too much.
We took the train from Tigre to Beunos Aires (BA) on Saturday (sigh..almost 2 weeks ago....I am really behind on blog writing-hoping to catch up while I am here relaxing in Uruguay). We had made arrangements for the entire week at various couchsurfer's homes. Except the first night, we decided to just stay in a hostel. We also signed up for Spanish classes (4 hours a day) at a school in downtown BA, Expanish. And if that wasn't enough, we arranged to meet with a tutor for 2 hours every day as well. All of this in a brand new city where we didn't know where anything was and had to learn our way around. I get tired just typing it!