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Home from Argentina.

23 June 2016

That was a whirlwind trip. I did not realize, heading into the trip, that Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world. And we tried to see a decent portion of it in eight days. We landed in Buenos Aires Friday afternoon, following a flight through Lima, Peru that was delayed an hour for an airport workers’ strike. Luckily, that was about the biggest problem we had on the whole trip.

Buenos Aires is a huge, cosmopolitan city, justifiably called the “Latin Paradise”. Very European in feel, but laid out on a sensible grid that makes navigation easy. A bit grungier than some European capitals, but with gorgeous parks, avenues, and monuments.



From Buenos Aires, we took the bus to Mendoza. The bus is 15 hours. We left at about 6pm and got in at 9 am the next morning. Overnight buses in Argentina are a whole different level. Don’t think Greyhound. Think first-class airplane. Lay-flat seats. Stewardesses that I had to be fairly insistent with that I didn’t want free wine or whiskey. Meals. A bathroom. Movies. And it doesn’t stop. No time to ever get off and stretch. You just ride.

We slept pretty good in the chairs. We got “cama class” for that first ride, which is like a huge luxurious recliner that goes almost all the way back. It’s a good deal too. For $60, we got transport between cities, a place to sleep, and a meal.

Mendoza is a newer city because it was apparently destroyed by an earthquake not too long ago, and so the colonial stuff is mostly gone. But it has great parks and plazas.


We also had a fabulous dinner at a restaurant called “Siete Cocinas”, or Seven Kitchens, referring to seven Argentine cuisine styles. It was fabulous. I had rabbit tortellini, and a dessert just called “chocolate” which was a mesmerizing mix of probably seven types of chocolate things elegantly arranged in a bowl.

From Mendoza, we went to what was the highlight of the trip for me: Uspallata. A tiny mountain town on the road to Chile, Uspallata has little to do besides wander off into the mountains and stare at the sky. The scenery was jaw-dropping. And the weather was perfect, so that night, BB and I walked out into the desert scrub, behind a huge hill, and watched the southern stars. The Southern Cross was gleaming high in the sky, and with woodsmoke fires from town the smell and scenery and cold desert air, I was as happy as I know how to be.


The Andes are truly remarkable. This is my third time seeing them, and I hope it’s not my last.

After Uspallata, we went to Córdoba, in the Sierras leading up to the Andes. We spent a day in the city, and another day on a little tour around the colonial area. We don’t normally do guided tours, but this one was inexpensive, took the whole day, and allowed us to do a lot of stuff we couldn’t have done without renting a car. We saw an old Catholic mission, a German city that’s straight out of Bavaria, and a huge, gorgeous lake from one of Argentina’s many dams.


That led us back to Buenos Aires and home, which was a 48 hour experiment in sleep deprivation. While stumbling about delirious in BA, we went to the Museo des Belles Artes, which is a stunning, jaw-dropping museum. Absolutely world class, first-rate fine art museum. And a great education. Because in addition to all the “old masters” you’ll find in any of the world’s great museums, it houses a huge collection of South American masters I’d never heard of, who are every bit the greats that the people we have heard of are. If they’d toiled in Europe, they’d be household names.


We’re home safe and happy, and it was a wonderful trip. I have a lot more travel coming up this year. I’m going to speak in Rome and Canada, and we’re planning a little trip for Thanksgiving as usual. Maybe the Cayman Islands. Next year we’re thinking about Northern Italy and Slovenia.

I do love to travel, and I’m glad we do it. I feel very privileged to have the time and money and a traveling companion who is excited about seeing the world with me. Now I’m recovering and getting into the fitness I need to be in for my triathlon at the end of July. We only did one run on the trip, about 5 miles. But we walked another 90 miles, often carrying packs. So I hope I didn’t lose too much fitness.

Glad to be home.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Syd permalink
    25 June 2016 11:41

    Sounds like a great trip. I don’t know that I would be in a great mood after riding all night on a bus, no matter the comfort level.

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