A dash of Chile and a slice of Argentina
Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
17Trip End Sep 14, 2010
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We landed into Santiago, Chile, our
first stop in the final months of our journey. Armed with our Spanish
phrase book and our Hola's and Gracias' ready we found ourselves
completely lost within 5 minutes, couldn't understand a bloody word.
It was like the scouse accent of South America!
Thank God we were meeting Tom and Tilly
again, they had been traveling from Central to South America for a
few months and it was SO good to see them again after our Christmas
escapades in Laos.
We had arrived the day before a bit jet
lagged and weary we rested up and come next morning Tom and Tilly
arrived in their Lama jumpers (the uniform of South American
travelers) We spent the day wandering the city sites and a little
siesta here and there before our night out on the town.
The area we were staying in, Bella
Vista, was perfect for us, winding cobbled streets and quaint little
restaurants and bars, it was just what we wanted for our first S.A
Yet again our night started sampling
the local beers before heading out for some dinner where we then
sampled the entire menu I think of beverages before we knew it we
were hammered and suddenly me and Adam were fluent in Spanish, A
Miracle!! By about 3am we decided to head towards home, however just
as we arrived at our hostel we saw big neon lights tempting us in to
what turned out to be a karaoke bar full of Chileans, there we were
Gringo Fantasticos ready to show them what we were made of! Well me
and Tilly were the backing dancers but Tom and Adam stole the show
with their rendition of Suspicious Minds.. Tom was AMAZING serious
coming in at over 6' legs practically in the splits, air guitar in
full swing and Adam providing a harmonious backing vocals.. We rocked
the place or at least we thought so until I turned around to a sea of
blank and slightly pissed off faces of the locals, who are obviously
the true masters of the Oke! But that night we made England proud...
by 5am we were kicked out but the memory of that night will live on
forever.. Just brilliant!
Next day was obviously a complete lazy
day, it took Tilly about 6 hours to make pasta, serious hangover but
well worth it.
Me and Adam decided to then go with Tom
and Tilly to Argentina and into Mendoza. We took an early bus and
passed through the beautiful snow capped Andes which were just
beautiful. Mendoza is the famous wine region of Argentina and the
popular thing to do is hire bikes and go from winery to winery, we
headed out on a gorgeous sunny day, and met Mr Hugo.. he is clearly
on a mission to get everyone drunk.. We arrived at about 10am to a
huge beaker of putrid wine but all the same it was free, they
explained a route for us to take and off we went, first off we
stopped at a small but amazing place that made its own olive oils,
pastes, vinegars and Absinthe. the balsamic was beautiful and so
cheap and we also had some olive and garlic spread which we couldn't
resist purchasing.. so fresh and delicious but really doesn't go well
with Absinthe as we found out.. Woohoo that definitely warmed us up
and helped to limber up the limbs for the bike ride to the outer
The autumn colors on the vines were so
beautiful and the roads enclosed in an archway of trees, we could see
the Andes in the distance as we peddled on it was like some movie
scene until some bloody big trucks came along and almost knocked us
off our steeds, back to reality quick sharp!
We visited a couple of the wineries and
sampled the local flavors and for lunch we stopped at a lovely place
nestled in amongst vines and olive groves. They set up a table for us
in the olive grove and did a HUGE BBQ of half a cow and 5 chickens or
something ridiculous like that, me I had my salad and bread and
cracked open the garlic spread, it was so relaxing drinking good wine
and eating good food in such a incredible setting. I feared getting
back on the bike though, seriously I felt like my knees were going to
break, I swear since turning 30 my bones are getting worse!
We managed to get back to Mr Hugo
unscathed and not too drunk and yes yet again to finish it off
another large vessel of putrid wine..hmm yummy!
Our time in Mendoza was pretty chilled
though all in all, and then the time came to move on. Tom and Tilly
headed for Buenos Aires and me and Adam were off to Cordoba.
Cordoba is famous for being one of the
homes of Che Guevara when he was a boy and the small town of Alta
Garcia about 60kms from the city is where he spent the majority of
his childhood. We took a bus out to the town which was beautiful, it
was a gorgeous autumn day to begin with and strolling round the tree
lined cobbled streets was lovely. Che Guevara house was interesting,
they have made up the rooms as they were and provide detailed
information about his life there and beyond. The town also boasts a
famous Jesuit Mission which we visited and couldn't understand a word
of anything because it was all in Spanish but it was an interesting
enough place to visit and a good day out.
Cordoba city is also a beautiful place,
full of Cathedrals and churches and old colonial buildings, it was
nice to spend a few days. I had to get some lip cream on one occasion
and went to the pharmacy, I ended up I think asking the shop
assistant if the cream I had was for vaginal sores not blisters..
very embarrassing, but at least my Spanish was coming on I guess..
its was just as bad in Mendoza as I had a bit of a cold coming on so
I asked for what I didn't realize translated to some influential
pills instead of influenza pills.. dear dear me!
Moving on.. we left Cordoba and headed
to Buenos Aires, we had an apartment there which was brilliant, our
first place since leaving the UK it was hard to get up in the
mornings and venture out just because the coziness and luxury of
having our own place was just so good.. but we did manage to venture
out and see the city, and a brilliant city it is too.
Huge wide roads with colonial buildings
running alongside, small cobbled alleyways with trinket shops and
restaurants along them. Loads of shopping to be had too.
When we were there it coincided with
the Bicentenary and there was a huge festival on for 4 days..
fireworks, bands performing in the streets and on the main stage, the
military, army, local carnival processions, fireman, cavalry you name
it they were all out marching the streets, it was brilliant to see
and be there for, absolute chaos but fun.
Our favorite area was San Telmo which
is a quaint little suburb, very popular for tourists but still
charming. Its like a little village within the city, Tango is the
theme here and there are couples dancing away in the plaza and
streets and some pretty funny characters lingering around too. There
is an antiques market there too which my mum would LOVE. Its a great
place to people watch, sitting in a cafe with Tango music all around
Another site to see was the Cemetery,
its incredible. It was built based on the structure of a city, it has
its own streets as such and is only for mausoleums, so it really is
like walking down a street of houses. So ornate, street lamps and a
central plaza, quite bizarre but beautiful too. We saw Eva Perons
mausoleum and in some of the decaying ones you could even see the
coffins which had broken but we didn'tt see any bodies thank god..
mind you my morbid curiosity did kick in a bit..
We loved BA and would definitely go
back there and spend some time I think.. its such an awesome city we
just didn't have long enough to enjoy it to the full or enough money
but next time...
Our final stop in Argentina was Puerto
Igauzu and the famous Igauzu falls. These waterfalls are one of the
biggest in South America, they sit on the border with Argentina and
Brazil and you can view the main fall, “The Devils Mouth” from
both sides. We decided to just to the Argentina side and took a day
trip to the national park.
There is a walkway that stretches out
to the top of the falls so you can look down into it, its immense
looking down into it, we had decided to get tickets to do a little
boat trip too which took us right into the falls and we got utterly
soaked through, but it was amazing seeing it from both angles.. and
the noise.. There are also a series of other falls which again the
boat took us under and again soaked! It was well worth it though
although we did it towards the end of the day and got slightly chilly
come sundown.. soaked to the bone.
We moved on to Brazil the next day
which is a whole other blog.. Argentina is a stunning country, I wish
we had more money and more time to do more there, especially
Patagonia but we can always come back someday.. Oh by the way the
Spanish is coming along nicely now.. not so many weird looks from the
Ill fill you in on Brazil next..
All our Argentina photos are here - http://picasaweb.google.com.au/adam.reevesRTW/Argentina