Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't cry for me Argentina

Here's a map of the spots we hit:
View Larger Map

Just back since Tuesday night from Argentina via Santiago and before I go near describing any of the fantastic scenery the highlight of the trip was the Bife de Chorizo or Sirloin Steak which was absulutely beautiful and tender. Other beef is like cardboard after being here.

Not far behind this are the fantastic people of Buenos Aires and Patagonia. For instance in Buenos Aires we got in the wrong side of a subway or Subte so we would have to pay twice to go over the other side due to our minimal I'll call it Pigeon Espanol but a random stranger gave us his ticket and his only request was to mention this when we got home. These random acts of kindness were replicated in Patagonia and the people were superb.

We left Ireland on the 27th of October heading Cork - Amsterdam - Sao Paulo - Buenos Aires but I think you can skip the Sao Paulo flight depending on the day you fly. It was24 hoursdoor to door by the time we landed so straight to bed when we arrived in SanDanzas hostel.

Cornflakes, coffee, croissant (or medialuna in Argentina meaning half moon) is the norm for breakfast in Argentina and while light you're generally not looking for much more as the previous nights Bife de Chorizo is busy digesting. The first day I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Superclasicó between Boca Juniors v River Plate. The football is really a sideshow here as the atmosphere here is more like Football meets the CrystalMaze, starts at 1:43 if this means nothing to you.

Highlights of Buenos Aires would be Cemetario de Recoleta where Evita’s remains are buried with the Duarte Familia. Also of interest with regard to Evita are Casa Rosada and there is a Museo de Evita also. The markets in San Telmo are well worth a look also. A stroll through la Caminito in Boca and a tour of Boca Juniors stadium, La Bombonera is a must also.

After here we headed for El Calafate in Patagonia down the very south of the country where Perito Moreno glacier is close to. Lovely town for rambling about here. We stayed in America del Sur hostel  while we were here and also made a trip to El Chaltán which is beautiful spot in the mountains where you can hike to some of the Glaciers. We made the trek to Lago Torre and Glaciar Grande which was 6 hours but it was well worth the trip. I found it tough enough but I had rented boots for going to Perito Moreno so part of it could be put down to that. Fitzroy didn’t fully clear while we were here but really enjoyed the 2 days here. Hostel Condor de los Andes  was one of the best hostels that we stayed in on our trip. Perito Moreno was amazing here. The blue of the ice was incredible and seeing waterfalls to the bottom of the glacier, crevices and underground taverns was a great sight.

We headed for Bariloche next which was a big lake district and while when you arrive the town doesn’t look like much but I think the real sights are really around the town. A recommended restaurant here is “El Boliche de Alberto”  which has amazing steaks. A trip well worth doing here is to San Martin de Los Andes where we spent a night in El Oso Andeluz Hostel . Town is alot more laid back than Bariloche and less developed even allowing for the fact that it has 2 Irish pubs and looks nearly more like a Swiss village with all the wooded cabins. There’s a great walk outside town that leads up to a lookout over Lago Lácar and the Che Guevara museum here is well worth a look. The cars here always stop if they even think there’s a chance that a pedestrian may be crossing the road so much so that you’ll almost get knocked down when go back to Bariloche. One other thing I forgot to mention is that Milongas or Tango dances aren’t to be missed while in Argentina. One we went to in Buenos Aires was top class and there was also one in the Irish pub in San Martin while we were here. It was back to Bariloche after here and the highlights here were a cable car ride on the way out to a walk Circuito Chica and the actual walk here. We stayed in the hostel 41 below while we were here that wasn’t great but also stayed in Hosteria Nogare  which we found great. Bars around 41 below were very good. Los Vikingos and also there are 2 places across the road from 41 below with your back to the hostel across the road. Send to the right is the spot. If anyone can tell me the name I can update it accordingly.

On to our final location in Argentina, Mendoza now. There was a big change in the friendliness of people here compared to both Patagonia and Buenos Aires. This couldn’t be said of the people in Hostel Alamo  who couldn’t do enough as regards advice about Tours. Lovely city to have a ramble about and didn’t do an awful lot of note bar going on the wine tour to Maipu here. We did the cycling around vineyards here and Familia de Tommasa and La Rural were very good to visit. You are cycling on busy roads with buses and trucks so I’d look at doing a tour in Lujan de Cuyo if I was to do it again but I’d have to research it. The local police keep a close eye on you here bar turning a blind eye to cycling with drink on you so bar the traffic you’re safe as a house.

One final word on Mendoza while people in restaurants weren't that friendly on the last night we went to a concert in Plaza de Independencia and had a Parrilla or selection of meats and we found people there very sound so perhaps we just needed to scratch a little below the surface

We were flying out of Santiago de Chile on the way home and we did the crossing over the Andes. Waiting stationary at the border and taking 4 and a half hours to clear border controls took a bit of a gloss off it. Also if people are planning this it might be worth trying to change to another bus in the same bus company if this happens as another person did that came onto our bus. In general our bus driver said 2 hours is the norm whereas it’s 3 in the other direction. After the border the road goes in chicanes and constantly bends over on itself and us in the front 2 seats were almost certain we were going over the edge at many stages. With the passing of almost a week and being back to the monotony of life even with the delay I’m glad we did this. I’d say we were only out in Chile for about 6 hours but Chilean people seemed very friendly and I wouldn’t mind having a better look but I think it may be an exercise in patience. Hostel here was Happy House hostel .

Last stop home was in Amsterdam where we had a 8 hour layover and the Heineken Brewery is well worth a look here.

Well that’s me finished. Roll on the next holidays.

Here are the snaps:

Argentina November 2012


Anonymous said...

Hi There - Reading your blog, Im interested in further detail of the trip you took to Patagonia and S. America.
>How long did you spend in each location?
> Did you take buses/planes/cars from location to location?

Any help would be great, we're planning our trip for next year!

David Fay said...

I was there just over 2 weeks in total and from my recollection we spent 3 days in each of the places. We flew between all of the locations in argentina but some of the spots had places right next to each other but if you have a look at a map you should see this. Flights were BA-Califate, Califate-Bariloche, Bariloche-Mendoza.