Archives for category: Argentina

Most people come to Mendoza to do a wine tour and eat great steak, and thats exactly what we did too. But this place has so much more to offer, from beautiful parks to great shopping, Oh and not to mention some pretty good wine.

We spent five days in this fantastic place although cold as we are in their winter. We spent our days walking the city’s parks and streets and ate very very well. When booking our hostel, The Largares we availed of their promotion of a free bike tour with the fabolous Mr. Hugo a lovely big cuddly argentian man that was very accommodating and helpful.We left Mendoza on a local bus that takes around 45 mins to get to the Malpu region, we got kitted out with bikes and the very important map although I don’t think the scale was quite right! We started off in the Museo(museum) winery where we got a spainish guided tour picked up the gist but did’t really get it ah well.

Next we stopped at a chocolate and absinth factory unusual mixture I thought, we started off trying some savory spreads which were yummy then went on to sweet and then the hard stuff where I tried some pineapple vodka which was a lovely tangy drink. My brave (& foolish) husband went for a stronger tipple some hazelnut grappa which definitely had heat and burnt down his stomach and made him as sick as a dog. Then we made a quick detour from the wine drinking to a bear garden to wash down Alan’s throat as it was still burning.

From there we headed to Traipisa where we tried some boutique or higher end wines which were delicious but way out of our price range although we asked for seconds on the tasting when we heard the price. We then went on to our last winery a family run place a little more out of town it was pretty much a mammoth task as there was some road works going on, try cycling on roadworks not easy. We did a short tour of the establishment and then on to some more tasting this filled us with some rocket fuel for the cycle back which felt a little downhill which was great, Arrived back to Mr.Hugo’s just before the dark hit and sit down to more homemade wine which tasted amazing after the long bike ride and after all we were now connoisseurs. 😉

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Once we starting coming closer to the falls you could really notice a kind of tropical climate the land became lush more hills forests very different from the argentian landscape which on the north of the country was very flat with large plains of farmed land.

Somethings you can just never be prepared for. The size and scale of these amazing falls just took our breath away. The photos never do it justice without the wall of noise coming from the falls. Check out the video at the bottom it just about shows the scale of this place.

Check out the size of this bad boy. Largest Cactus in Argentina! It’s over 10m tall and for the first 5 years they grow at a rate of 3-5cm per year then it slows down and only grows at a rate of 1-2cm per year, that means that this cactus has been here for hundreds of years!

Beautiful old doorway at one of the train stations of the train to the clouds.

Salinas Grandes – a beautiful wonder high in the Andes, we were quite lucky to be able to get up to see it. For several days before we went most of the roads were closed due to landslides (common in the wet season) but made it all the more of an adventure to get up to see it.

4170m high, so far this is as high as we’ve ever been, insert endless jokes here – just keep chewing those cocoa leaves 😉

Our driver got a great kick out of bringing us down this road, twisting, turning, always close to death – it’s one that we’d rather not do again!

Salta – The Lowdown

We spent five lush nights in salta in a hotel a really nice one for for just a little more thab the price of a hostel,its name was Hotel del Antiguo Convento the hotel was lovely and staff were very helpfull the one  fall back was we had to eat out a lot and the budget got a bit of a hammering, although we filled up in the breakfast had loads of cake and croissants and toast they had a lovely breakfast that we served to you !!

 

The first night in salta we ate out on their beautiful main sqaure, very european looking square with a couple of what looked like band stands and loads of planting and trees. We finished off dinner with some wine and headed over to one side of the square where there was a traditional dance session taking place the band were traditionally dressed and then random couples went out dancing intricate dances myself and al were amazed at the precission of their technique. The music itself was some what like Irish traditional a lot fiddle and strings but it had a real rithym. We headed off to the another district a couple of blocks away and then we stumbelled into a really lovely reastaurent that was like an old style Georgian Dublin house, where people were eating in different rooms, very chick and boudoir looking the bathroom had hand painted flowers on the walls and the bath was full of freash flower heads in water very pretty, we headed out the back where there was tables outside, and some couples were practicing tango to what sounded like a grainy record player which later we figured that it was an ipod 😉 . We decided to have a bottle of wine, and soak up the music.

Day Two – We took the cable cart up to the top of the mountain behind salta the veiws were amazing we had a fruit lunch and watched the clouds go by, then we noticed that there was thunder heading our way so after an hour or so we headed back down to the town.  We walked around the town and picked up some dvds for cheap around four for two euro, although not the best quality, that night we watched the tourist it was good interesting twist at the end .

Day Three  – Took a trip to Humawacca see other post for photos.

Day Four  – We went exploring again and travelling in a 4 x 4 to Salinas Grandes see other post for photos.

Day Five – Was a lazy day that ended with a bit of a exciting towards the end it rained and rained and the streets flooded our electric was cut in the hotel, and we had a candle lit dinner with a lovely french couple from Bordeaux in a local style restaurant and Alan had a massive steak and was as happy as a pig in shite.

Headed for Iguazu the next day on Fletcha Bus – 23 hour Journey – NIce !


A day to kill before we head off to Salta and a lovely 19 hour bus journey too!

I think the Irish should come with a warning label attached –

“Do not let this person go out in 40 degrees of heat, possibility of melting on the spot could occur in certain circumstances”

But without reading the warning signs, myself and Lisa headed off on a bike tour in this incredible heat. Our hosts for the day were Bike-it tours from Buenos Aires, taking us from BsAs to Tigre on a 15km cycle along the river shore with a couple of lovely little stops along the way (and well deserved too!)

We even got to sample the famous South American drink Maté, which is a herb infused drink kinda like tea but can be mixed with orange juice during the hot summer months for a very refreshing drink. It’s a drink thats shared and passed around between friends. Although Lisa, who claims she was sick and did not want to share them with everyone – so she had what’s known as a selfish maté.

The only way sometimes is to do the obvious bus tour – i know its super touristy but at least you get to see all the sights in one go and get your bearings around a city pretty quickly. So off we went in the obligatory yellow open top bus and got scorched as we went. Here’s a little snap shot of the journey as we went.