Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Should You Go To Argentina?

Did you know that more North Americans travel to Europe than to South America?....probably you do, and there's nothing wrong that, but we're missing out on some once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Just having returned from Argentina, our first exposure to South America, I would definitely return again and might follow this itinerary next time: Buenos Aires, Trelew or Puerto Madryn, El Calafete, San Carlos De Bariloche, and then back to Buenos Aires. Spend 2 nights in each place and one night in Buenos Aires before your flight home (ie. 9 days). The rationale for this is the in-country flight schedules. There isn't a way to get from one place to the other without first returning to Buenos Aires except for this itinerary which takes you around the southern triangle of Argentina. You will be missing out on some regions like the Mendoza wine region and the Iguazu Falls, but you will just have to return for a second trip.

Some things to do or stop and think about along the way:
Buenos Aires - Consider the Alvear Hotel which is reminiscent of the George V in Paris with lots of marble and floral arrangements.

I love this photo of a marble staircase in the hotel....more about the floral arrangements in a subsequent post since fresh flowers are one of my passions and I think the attention given to them is a mark of a truly grand hotel.

Eat at La Bourgogne - superb French cuisine - located inside the Alvear Hotel...a good idea if you have an early morning flight. I would make reservations beforehand since we were fortunate to get in on a cancellation. And if you want the best tuna sandwich you've ever tasted (slabs of tuna steak with roasted red peppers) enjoy it at the Lobby Bar.

Visit the Recoleta Cementary. I know that sounds like a weird attraction to see, but it's absolutely fascinating. It's like a mini city of architecturally elegant monuments and tombs. Best to have a guide take you around.

This is the door on Evita's black marble grave inscribed with the words of the song that keep running through your head "Don't cry for me, Argentina. I remain quite near to you."

Also don't miss perusing the famous bookstore that was a former Opera Hall.What a great way to repurpose a building!

One last picture - somewhat of an climactic oddity - after a late lunch on our first day we were drinking the rest of a good Malbec in a restaurant watching a tremendous downpour. The streets were flooded in a matter of minutes. It was the second time that week that Buenos Aires had a deluge of rain, very atypical......and then a week later, Chile experienced a horrific earthquake in Concepcion - a city situated parallel with Buenos Aires. While not associated with each other, it does make you think about the power of nature and how we need to interact with it as gently as possible.

I'll take you to the El Pedro Lodge near Puerto Madryn in my next post.

1 comment: