Eurocircle’s Adventure in Argentina, 2016

We are back!

Eurocircle’s sixth annual adventure has concluded in the wet and wild Iguassu Falls, so needless to say, our annual photo which we always take dressed in white was replaced with a photo of us drenched and shivering amidst some of the most powerful waterfalls in the world.

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But, our trip actually began in the chic and sophisticated city of Buenos Aires. We met up at the hotel, and quickly started exploring the city’s sprawling boulevards, classical architecture, and of course looking for food. Needless to say, all travelers arrived with a wishlist of the city’s restaurants they wanted to sample. Though not a foodie, I went a long with most of their suggestions.

As you already know, steak is a basic food staple in Argentina. I heard someone mention that an average person consumes 700 lbs of beef per year, which is much more steak than I can tolerate. Luckily, there is no shortage of fine wine to keep spirits high. Alana and Niall quickly discovered an excellent restaurant located in an old mansion, called Milion.  I won’t review it because I have asked each of them to write a review of all the amazing things we tasted on the road. The city is full of world class restaurants, shopping and museums. We spent an afternoon inside it’s Museum of Modern Art in its San Telmo district. Though the building is small, the collection is impressive. You’ll find plenty of treasures from the pre-Renaissance to post-modern, even a lot of local artists I had never heard of.  If I return to BA, this will be the first place I would visit.

From BA, we flew into San Juan, a dusty desert runway with a makeshift tent serving as its arrivals terminal. Mendoza’s airport was shut down for repairs, so we landed here, then bussed into the small town of Mendoza. Though much quieter and less bustling than Buenos Aires, the town is full of BBQ, beer pubs, and sprawling public parks. It is surrounded by hundreds of vineyards, and if you love wine, you could easily spend a week here.

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Just like Napa, I noticed a new trend that is taking over the region. Olives are grown here, and many local tour companies offer tastings and visits to Olive growers. We visited three beautiful vineyards and wineries, tasted, no drank, way too much wine, then spent an afternoon lounging in the grass of a beautiful vineyard with a tasty lunch prepared by a French chef and of course, more wine. I have to admit, I am not a big fan of Malbec, but I was very much in love with the only grape native to Argentina, the Torrontes. It is a white, funky wine with a very perfumy scent, so while others were gulping neverending servings of red, I was hugging my Torrontes bottle, not wanting to let go.

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Finally, we took a long, long flight to the opposite side of the country. We landed into the center of a rain forest, into the town of Iguassu, which sits directly on the border of Brazil. This was a completely different climate, and a drastically different experience. Buenos Aires is a bustling city on the Atlantic Ocean, Mendoza, a dusty desert at the foot of the Andes, and now we were in the middle of a jungle, looking for the falls which are a wonder of the world. This town is small, with very little in terms of commercialism. The restaurants are good, the wine exceptional, but there isn’t much to do. Everyone is here for the falls.

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Here is a tip, that you should take into consideration. Though I had visited all the big falls around the world, most recently Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, I was not prepared for how wet I was going to get. The Argentine side of Iguassu Falls is drastically different from the Brazilian side where people watch the falls from a terrace across the border. On the Argentine side, you not only will get wet, you will be drenched from head to toe, and there is no way to avoid it. This is because you view the falls only a few inches above the current and only a foot away from the actual waterfall. The area is covered by miles of narrow footbridges that scale the sides of the mountain and take you directly over and under the fall.

The first thing that happened here is that I lost my camera. The spray from the falls is so powerful that my big camera could not handle the moisture. It decided to shut itself off 3 minutes into this excursion. So advice #1, bring a waterproof camera, and advice #2, leave your expensive equipment at home. Trust me, it won’t survive here. Advice #3, is when they say waterproof in the guide books, you should plan to be completely drenched despite your waterproof gear. A poncho, though advised, is totally useless here. Advice #4, is bring a complete set of clothes to change into, as the trip back to the hotel is long, and sitting in wet undies for hours is not pleasant.

Nevertheless, Iguassu Falls are a spectacular site. Though not as tall as Victoria Falls, you will get very close to them, so you will experience the force and the power of the falls like nowhere else in the world.

For complete photos, please check out my Flickr photo album:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/84030770@N02/albums/72157671561544324

and if you would like to travel with Eurocircle on our next trip to Australia and New Zeland in the fall of 2017, please email me. philadelphia@eurocircle.com

S

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