Wow! The place is awesome. The people, the food, the life style, the wine, ice-cream, steak, coffee…. all good, very, very good.
I liked it, can you tell?
I went with a little trepidation, fully prepared to put on an American or (god forbid!) an Oz accent for the duration in case of negative feedback against the English / British. Nada. Not even a whisper. Fair enough we stayed in the north half of the country but still….
In summary Aconcagua hike was awesome, Daniel I am so sorry you had such a bad headache the whole time and I did feel vaguely guilty that I felt so well. Your photos are still amazing, working through your pain 🙂 Our guide was great fun and made the trip, as guides often do. The whole thing was so well organised from meeting the guide initially, our kit being checked out, getting appropriate permits and then the actual trip itself. It was a definite advantage having a guide who used to be a park ranger, I got to watch him explain to the new park rangers – who’d been there for all of a day – how the sign in book worked and what information they were supposed to put where. Thank you to Federico, Carlos for all the delicious meals we did not do justice to and all the guys at Aconcagua Trek.
We managed to fit in a trip to a bodega – Famillia Zuccardi – and spent the day at their annual tasting, gracias Eduardo; horse-riding in the mountains, thermal springs…..there was definitely more we could have done. We said goodbye to Mendoza and headed to Buenos Aires for a couple of days. Via overnight bus.
I have to admit to being a little worried about spending 13-16 hours on a bus. I’m not the best on coaches. But the long distance buses in Argentina I have to say do rock. Baring the movies and music blaring out quite loudly from the overhead speakers, and the issue with the microwaved chicken (mental note never eat microwaved chicken on public transport) having a seat that goes flat into a bed, even I slept / dozed and the 10 hours left after the food and two movies went by in what felt like no more than a couple of hours. Cama suite is definitely the way to do long distance travel.
Buenos Aires itself I loved. We were staying in Palermo which is such fun with cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, parks, piazzas…..and geared for people to go out, have fun, be sociable, stay up late, eat, drink and dance. Yes dance – in the piazzas, impromptu tango melanges would just appear with musicians and random people dancing just because they can. In other areas they danced for the tourists, other places held class and you joined in – and yes we even ‘mastered’ the basic tango steps. Roll on 2011, after the Quadrille the Tango is next on the list!
Have I mentioned ice-cream? The delicious many flavoured ridiculous size portions of ice-cream?I may have had more than one serving of ice-cream on this trip 🙂
Puerto Iguazu was our penultimate destination, staying in this amazing hotel with log lodges for rooms. You could have slept six in our lodge easily – there were 4 single beds and a queen!! The people even more friendly than every where else, the cocktails awesome – thanks Tony! – and just a genuine feeling of warmth from the folks that even just after one day made me want to stay. They even brought out mosquito repellent in the evening when we were hanging out after our swim for us to use!!? As for the waterfalls and the park……oh my….the pictures speak for themselves. The waterfalls in particular are phenomenal. If you only plan to go to BA, grab a short hop plane ride north to Iguazu for something you do not want to miss.
Last stop back to BA for a last night on the town – apart from Daniel was now broken and had to go to bed, so after packing I went to catch up with a Dutch guy we’d met in Mendoza and a few of his friends. Going out at 2am in BA is not unusual it seems, nor is coming home at 5am…getting up at 7.30am for an 8 taxi was painful to say the least. Thanks to Bas and friends for a fun night in the Dutch bar 🙂
And then we were flying home. After spending 2 weeks in mostly (mountain excluded) warm / hot and sunny climes coming back to an almost freezing NYC was a shock. Thank goodness for packing the night before, jeans and down jacket were all readily available in my backpack. The trip is fast fading to a blur, but each time I look at the photos the stories come flooding back. Has the 2 week trip sated my thirst for Argentina? No it has merely been a taster, like giving a prospective addict their first hit, it leaves you wanting more and a desire to return to find out what’s below the surface you’ve barely scratched.