Argentina

Driving Through the Andes

We hopped on another bus to head from Mendoza to Santiago, Chile. Though it definitely did not compare to the all the bells and whistles of our last bus, the ever changing Andes more than made up for it. The roughest part of the drive was about 3 hours at the border crossing, but even that wasn’t terrible thanks to a four legged cop. We placed all our belongings on a table and then they sent a cute golden retriever around to sniff through the luggage to make sure they were free of fruits, honey and other forbidden items.

Vino!

After tapping into the excellent $4 bottles of wine in Buenos Aires, we were really excited to visit an actual winery. We toured three of them privately: Salestein, La Azul, and O. Fournier. We got a glimpse of the Andes mountains on the way to the wineries. Salestein was our first stop. It is a huge, modern winery with an art gallery, a chapel and even a posada on site. We toured the facility and got to taste some wines in the cellar. In contrast to Salestein, La Azul is a small locally run winery with all the operations in […]

Melons, Tiaras and Tango

What do cantaloupes thrown from floats, beauty queens, chacarera performances, and a procession of the Virgin Mary have in common? All these otherwise random events are a part of Mendoza’s Vendimia, the town’s annual harvest festival. It all starts with the Carousel, a parade where the contestants for Harvest Queen ride on floats through the streets and throw fruit to the thousands of onlookers. Locals come prepared with buckets on sticks to maximize their chances of catching grapes, melons, and in one case, grilled meat! packed streets.. empty restaurants.. Carmela, hoping to catch grapes from 100 yards away.. The next […]

“Suite” Ride

After spending the afternoon in Recoleta Cemetery, we checked out of our apartment and headed to the bus station for our overnight bus to Mendoza. We got there a bit too early so had one last Quilmes before heading to the home of Malbec. The thought of riding the bus brought back sour memories of the NJ Transit 139. Luckily, this bus was far from that with seats that recline to full beds, multiple meals, individual entertainment systems, and complementary wine on board. All this made the 13 hour trip much more bearable.

So we saw a man bathing in a cemetery

… and some incredible architecture as well in Recoleta Cemetery! Most importantly, it contains the mausoleums of many notable Argentineans, the most famous of which is Eva Peron.. so important that 26 (or was it 29?) cats were placed in the cemetery and are fed daily in exchange for rodent control! Our tour guide, Estella, led us through the cemetery and highlighted some of the notable structures. Because there are almost 5000 of them, it’s nearly impossible to examine each and every one. Almost like a city within a city, the cemetery would easily take the better part of a […]

Taking It to the Steets

Many travel blogs and forums spoke of how Buenos Aires is a great city to discover by foot. Since we got a pretty good lay of the land from our walking tour and driving tour, we set out on a longer excursion today with the end goal of eating at Caseros, a restaurant in San Telmo. Since it was Sunday, there was an immense sense of calm and quiet over the city. Many businesses were closed and there also seemed to be less traffic than usual. We meandered through the streets and got sucked in by the tantalizing odors for […]

Local Hospitality

It is very comforting to know someone local, when in a foreign country. We rented our apartment for the week from Silvia, who is our friend Carolina’s aunt. http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/183454 From welcoming us into her home to loaning us a computer to organize our photos, she has been so helpful in welcoming us to the city. We spent Saturday afternoon with Silvia and her husband, Silvio, who drove us around Buenos Aires to see some of the highlights the city has to offer, including Boca and San Telmo. We also strolled around Puerto Madero, which is one of the three major […]

Meat-evil X, Part 2

Argentina, as many of you know, is really famous for their beef and malbec. Though we received many recommendations about where to experience a parrilla, our hunger on the night of February 24th made it imperative to find something close by. Thanks to the internets, we found Río Alba. First, we decided on our wine For our main course, we ordered the “mixed grill for two” Needless to say, that thing could have fed 6 people easily.. for two days! The only down side was that it included parts like intestines and liver We tried them anyway, but could not […]

“It doesn’t look European, it is European”

Sol, our www.bafreetour.com guide, told us a lot about the culture and history of Buenos Aires and about the locals (porteños) which made us appreciate this place so much more. Most interesting lessons: “Chamuco” – slang for “bull shitting” to make a story more appealing Politics – Sol is very passionate about Argentinean history and politics. The country has only established a democracy in her lifetime, 29 years ago, and now 80% of all citizens vote. That’s a lot to be proud of and makes us think that what we have back home can easily be taken for granted. Health […]