What a fantastic city Buenos Aires is. The people and neighborhoods have such personality. I feel like the whole city is similar to the dance made famous here. The tango is an integral part of the Argentinean psyche and is celebrated in the streets every weekend. One entertaining fellow had a large blow up doll strapped to his shoes and was dancing the streets for money. He was actually pretty good! Food was arguably one of our favorite parts of Argentina. The steaks were large, juicy, and inexpensive. We had a meal equal to any high-end steakhouse in the states for half the price. Two other things we couldn’t get enough of was the ice cream (heldago) and dulce-de-leche. The ice cream was a superior form of gelato and was mouth watering. I think we went out for it almost every night in Argentina. On the other hand, dulce became an addiction to us, especially Amy. We went through gallons of the stuff. However, food wasn’t the only thing we were up to in Argentina. In Buenos Aires, we rode the train, subway, buses, and walked around exploring ever corner of the city. We visited a graveyard, museums, the zoo, and took the train to an amusement park.
After Buenos Aires, we headed North to Iguazu Falls near the Brazilian border. Iguazu is a hard place to describe. The amount of water pouring over the falls is unfathomable. It is like the earth opened up for a large drink of water.
We were lucky on the first day we visited the park because it was on the day of the country’s census and everyone was required to stay home. The park was mostly empty, running on a skeleton crew. We had the place to ourselves. It was a sunny day full of rainbows and butterflies.
We joked about this last statement, but it was actually true.
On the second day, the park was a different story. Tour buses crammed the parking lot and the place was packed with people from around the globe. We didn’t have the park to ourselves but we did get to take a ride on a boat under and around the falls. We got so soaked! The power of the falls was intense.
From Iguazu we had to fly back through Buenos Aires before heading to Patagonia. We stayed in one of the worst places we had stayed so far in our trip. It was bad enough that Amy made us break out the sleeping bags and told the kids to keep their bodies and heads off the sheets and pillows. It worked for us because we only had to stay there for a couple hours before catching a plane at 6AM.
El Calafate was our introduction to Patagonia. Located near the bottom of Argentina it has one of the most beautiful glaciers in the world called Perito Moreno. It was featured on a Man vs. Wild episode. We didn’t get to imitate Bear Grylls but we did take a boat around the glacier and got up close to see it calving.
After the boat ride we hiked around the glacier and had lunch overlooking the mountains, glacier, and bay. It was beautiful.
After El Calafate we headed North to Puerto Madryn for one night before renting a car and driving out to Puerto Paramides. The hilarious part about this is the rental car company claimed it was a 4-door hatchback with plenty of room for 5 people and their luggage. What showed up was a 4-door hatchback, but a small sized compact car. We ended up squeezed in like sardines with backpacks crammed to the ceiling. However, there was one thing about the car and that was the kids were so crammed in the backseat that they couldn’t fight with each other due to the fact they couldn’t move. So, we got to Puerto Paramides looking for a place to stay. We found decent accommodations above a restaurant near the center of this small town. Using this as our base we explored the local National park and saw sea lions, elephant seals, and came across a Magellan Penguin breeding ground.
Nick was so excited. At one point he turned to me and told me it was the “best day ever”.
The next day we spent on a whale watching tour where we got up close and personal with Southern Right whales. They were breaching and swimming right up to the boat.After the whale excursion we rented sand boards and hit the dunes on the other side of town. The boys had fun and let us just say that fortunately for me I left with all faculties still in order. From Puerto Paramides we headed further North to a place called Punta Tambo where there is a 500,000+ colony of Magellan Penguins. There were so many penguins here that you had to watch where you walked so you wouldn’t step on any.
We spent some time here but had to hit the road again to catch a bus to Bariloche near the Chilean border.
What a neat area Bariloche is. It is a Bavarian inspired town that sits on the edge of a lake with mountains surrounding it. The views are magnificent. The town is also famous for its chocolate. It was great, another food for us to gorge on. We did some hiking in the surrounding areas and for our big excursion a white water rafting trip.
We ended up being the only people on the boat and all of us including Nick had to contribute to the paddling. Now these weren’t Class V rapids, but we had a thrilling time. Unfortunately, our time was too short in Bariloche and Argentina in general and we had get our passports ready because Chile was next on the agenda.