Tag Archives: Argentina

Patagonia, the last hurrah

21 Dec

Patagonia, that humongous swath of land, which makes up the southern half of Argentina, is also its least populated region. Only a handful of towns exist within, most of them established in the late 19th or early 20th-centuries. San Carlos de Bariloche, in the Patagonian province of Rio Negro, is one of its better known ones.

A favored winter sports destination by Argentines, Chileans and Brazilians alike, it is equally popular in the summer months, attracting hikers and mountaineers from across the continent. Not one to betray its European roots, Bariloche is also known for its alpine-style architecture, specialty chocolate shops, and an ever-expanding roster of microbreweries.

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The overnight to Córdoba

15 Jun

The demise of long-distance train travel in Argentina followed closely on the heels of the United States. Vastly improved highways, comfortable overnight buses, competitive fares; you get the picture. By the 60s, passenger trains were but a shadow of themselves. So if you were to ask any sane individual today, how they’d get across the length and breadth of this vast country, you’ll probably get “by bus or plane” as their reply.

But there has been a bit of a resurgence in the past few years – new long-distance trains, a revised schedule; and you’d never have expected it, online bookings too! So with an e-ticket in hand, I find myself on Platform 8 of Estacíon Retiro one Friday evening, waiting to board the 20:38 departure of train 269, Buenos Aires to Córdoba.

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Patagonia, parte dos

26 Jan

The glacier-fed waters of Lago Argentino, the country’s largest freshwater lake, shimmer in the late afternoon sun. Marking the northern limits of Comandante Armando Tola International Airport, its striking turquoise color is a sight to behold. On the road to El Calafate, windswept plains, so characteristic of this part of the country, stretch far into the horizon. Over us, an incredible, otherworldly Patagonia sky…

That Patagonia sky! #elcalafate #lagoargentino #patagonia #provinciasantacruz #argentina Continue reading

To the End of the World

2 Nov

It’s only been a couple of hours since online check-in opened. Unhurriedly, I glance at the seating chart and there’s plenty of space available in the center section, but not a single window seat for the taking. Amateur hour strikes again!

Three hours into our flight, as final cabin checks are underway, I begin to get a little restless. The gent to my right, hogging that precious window seat, is still asleep, with the blind down. I tap him gently, podes abrir la ventana por favor? The good señor obliges, and I stretch my arm across him rather obnoxiously, eventually planting my phone against his window. The approach to Ushuaia is pretty spectacular, and if you’re smart, you’re going to secure that window seat as soon as you can…

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Fiesta de la Cerveza

21 Oct

In the lush Calamuchita valley of the Sierras de Córdoba in Central Argentina, lies the picturesque town of Villa General Belgrano. Its name betrays its origins though, for this little town of about six thousand people is made up mostly of German immigrants. And its claim to fame: hosting the second largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich!

Think Lederhosens and Dirndls, ginormous Steins brimful of Bier and plates stacked full of Wurst. Throw in a colorful parade, the traditional breaking of the keg, a Beer Queen contest, several Chicken Dances, and many thousand revelers, and you’ve got yourself a fiesta.

The celebrations kick off early in October, lasting 11 days in all. I was there for the opening weekend, accompanying a friend, who had a writing gig for VICE channel’s food blog, Munchies. Her article, This is how Argentina does Oktoberfest, was published a week later, accompanied by photos taken by me.

Since she’s already gone through the hassle of penning it all down, I’m going to leave you here with a few selected images from the fest. A full set of pics can be seen on my Flickr.

Prost!

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Las Cataratas

9 Oct

In 2011, South America scored handsomely when the world’s new natural wonders were announced, grabbing almost a third of the coveted spots. One of those was Iguazú, an area well supplied with waterfalls, claimed equally by Argentina and Brazil. For Argentina though, it didn’t exactly move the needle; Iguazú was already its most visited destination, outside the city of Buenos Aires.

Located in the northeastern province of Misiones, the Argentine city of Puerto Iguazú is well served by flights from BA (90-minutes, with prices averaging $300 for a round trip), and has accommodation options to suit most budgets. If you find yourself in the country with a lot of time on hand, you could also consider doing it on the cheap and taking the bus. But given that it’s an 18-hour slog from BA, you’re probably better off flying.

Parque Nacional Iguazú lies 17-km (11-miles) from the town of Puerto Iguazú, and although you’ll come across several eager cabbies offering their services, you can save your $$ by hopping onto one of the frequent shuttles that run from the city center to the park. Once at the park, you’ll have a choice of trails to choose from. Circuito Inferior (lower trail) is the one to pick. Up to that point, you’re all set. What you probably will not be prepared for though, is your first sighting of Las Cataratas

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The Train to the Clouds

31 Jul

The drive from the airport to the city center isn’t terribly long, but Eduardo insists on engaging me in conversation. Never mind the fact that his English is almost as lousy as my Spanish! I’ve learned by now how to say one billion in Español and when I reveal to him India’s population statistic, he can’t stop shaking his head in disbelief. Mucha gente, he says from under his breadth. The rest of his questions about my homeland run the gamut. Do people eat meat? Do they drink alcohol? And most importantly, how are the chicas? Muy lindo, I assure him!

Having sufficiently beefed up his knowledge about India, he sets me down at No.770, General Güemes, my address in Salta for the long weekend. Conveniently located, Espacio Mundano is a quaint little bed and breakfast, kitted out in traditional Salteña aesthetic; plenty of potted plants, heirloom furniture, and the all-essential patio.

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