Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Whirlwind Tour of Argentina

Since leaving Mendoza, Kristine and I have been pretty busy. At this point, I feel like it would be overkill to try to recount everything we've done, and it would be boring to the reader as well. Instead, I'm just going to give a quick run down of how we spent the last week.

Upon leaving Maipú and Mendoza, we took a 12 hour bus to Córdoba, the historic university town in a valley by the Sierra Córdoba. We stayed at a great hotel, the Azur Real Hotel Boutique, which just opened last month. The hotel was actually once a high school where Ernesto "Che" Guevara went to school. Our day in Córdoba was spent at Estancia El Colibri, about an hour outside of the city, and later on walking around the city itself in the Jesuit Block. This part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The next afternoon we took off on a 21 hour bus trip up to Puerto Iguazú. The trip wasn't as horrible as we thought, and with 5 movies on in a row, we soon found ourselves ready for sleep after wine and champagne. Once we got in to Iguazú we were tired but found a hostel, changed, and went to the national park. It was a long trip, but we only had a day. The weather was perfect, and as we neared the waterfalls we could start to hear it and see the mist in the distance. Once in plain sight, we could see just why it was so amazing. I've never seen Niagara Falls, but I'd have to imagine that Iguazú beats them on any day.

Just when you think you've seen the last of the falls, there's another place you can turn and find a rush of water flowing over the sides, destroying anything in its path except for the few strong plants that have learned to survive. Our thoughts were to try getting into the Brazilian side the next morning, but once we realized how expensive it would be we were unsure. That night the rains came in, bringing torrential downpours and bitterly cold weather in a region that seems more like Amazonian jungle than the image you usually get when thinking of Argentina. The bad weather sealed the deal, and we prepared yesterday for an 18 hour bus trip back to Buenos Aires.

We arrived this morning, and so after the week of traveling, we spent 65 hours on buses and saw 3 major tourist sites that Argentina has to offer. Not too shabby. Obviously, it would always be better to spend more time in each place, but for what we were trying to do, it was a good fit. When we started the trip we were amazed at how nice the buses were, especially in comparison with those in Ecuador. By the last bus ride we were comparing different companies and wondering why we weren't offered a second glass of champagne. We realized how spoiled we'd become with the buses in the last few days.

Still, with the expenses of a trip like this, we kept it as low as we could while trying to make up for some of the creature comforts of a long bus trip like a seat that folds to a 180* angle. Sometimes you just need to spoil yourself a little. Kristine leaves for Ecuador on Friday, and I'll be sad to see her go. It not only has allowed me to see more of the city with another friend here, but as been a good transition into a new place. While she was here I toured the city, as well as the country, got a job, and found a new apartment that I'll be moving into in a week or so.

And on Monday I'll be starting my new job with the travel agency, so things will be changing up a bit. But continue to check in on the blog and see what's happening down in Buenos Aires.

Above: Pictures from Córdoba and Iguazú Falls.

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