We last visited Argentina in December of 2003 at the end of a four-month extended journey that took us to Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Chile and finally Argentina. The food, wine and European-style culture were such a contrast after the previous three months on the road in South America that we were smitten with the country. It impressed us so much that we had to go back.
Recap from our Last Trip
Here's a brief recap of that trip in 2003. Our first venture into Argentina that year was a short drive from Chile, across the Andes, and into the quaint resort town Villa la Angostura where we had our first taste of Argentinian beef. Beef and lamb were cooked whole on long metal skewers in front of an open fire. The plates were huge and the taste was incredible. We then moved on to the lovely Swiss-style ski town of Bariloche. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and azure blue lakes, Bariloche was charming and had great chocolate, but it was too artificial and touristy.
Twenty years ago, it was quite something, we were told. Sorry we missed it. We didn't stay long in town, but did visit the surrounding mountains and stumbled upon a fabulous, but very expensive, resort called Llao Llao surrounded by azure lakes, snow-capped peaks, and a golf course of all things.
We drove back to Chile after this brief foray into the mountains and then flew to Buenos Aires where we fell in love with "bife", "Malbec" and the colonial architecture of this amazingly modern metropolis, a combination of latin Europe and South American flare.
In addition to great beef and wine, Buenos Aires boasts one of the best opera houses in the world, El Colon, now celebrating it's 100th anniversary. Unfortunately for us, the renovations are taking longer than expected (it's now two years late) and it won't be open when we go there this time.
But on our last visit, this is where Carolann demanded recompense for my subjecting her to eight days in the Amazonian jungle. I had a great time there, observing Spider monkeys, Bullet Ants and deadly wild pigs. But only after we left the Amazon did I learn that she was not quite as fond as I of spiders and snakes and all things "jungly".
So my payment was to take her to see Carmen at the Colon opera house. It wasn't Wagner, but I endured it. Actually it was great and a small price to pay for camping out in the Amazon.
Next we flew up to Iguazu Falls, the largest in the world (sorry Niagara). We stayed at an "estancia", basically a gaucho cattle ranch where we could ride horses and eat home-cooked meals washed down with more Argentinian wine.
That's a very brief overview of our all-too-short stay in Argentina in 2003. We're headed off to Argentina again on November 24, 2008, so stay tuned. This time our focus will be on the Mendoza wine region in the northwest corner, followed by a brief stop in Buenos Aires.