Traveling ignorant through Mendoza

Moon over the Andes

Tataaaa! This is – according to this blog’s counter – my 100th posting. Can’t believe that I wrote so much in less than a year.

The journey from Salta to Mendoza was quite uneventful – except for the fact that I traveled on a first class bus.

The hostel in which I stayed was one of the places no one really writes home about. Neither bad nor good. But since a few people arrived there who were traveling the same route – on a regular bus – I knew quite a few of them. We visited downtown Mendoza and various beautiful parks around town.

Temperatures were absolutely breathtaking. Literally. The 40+ degrees Celsius were taking a toll on us backpackers and we crawled from shady ice cream stands to other shady ice cream stands. Continue reading “Traveling ignorant through Mendoza”

Fighting the water in Salta

View over the city of Salta

Arriving in Salta, coming from Resistencia, where I almost got stuck, because the quality of life was so great, rain was greeting my bus pulling into the city’s main terminal. Readers of this blog won’t be really surprised that I did not stay in Resistencia and moved on instead. Because there is still so much more to explore and discover on this great continent. But I might go back to Resistencia one day.

Salta is one of the key backpacker towns, where a lot of travelers choose to set base to explore the neighboring towns of San Salvador de Juyuny, Cafayate and Cachi. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t really on my side. Moreover, visiting most of these places would involve booking tours – which was beyond my budget. Therefore, the planned stay for a week in Salta, quickly washed away into a small two night stopover where I simply would visit the downtown area. Continue reading “Fighting the water in Salta”

Resistencia, part 1

Sunset over Gaucho Country

The town of Resistencia in Argentina was a nice treat after a long trip coming from Acunción, Paraguay. Located in the Chaco province, this city is known as “Ciudad de las Esculturas” (sculptures city). Founded in 1878, it is known since the 1960’s as open-air museum featuring more than 500 sculptures and murals around town. Moreover, since 1988, there are symposiums, in which artists from all over the world compete, after the competition their statues add to the rich diversity of culture – virtually at every street corner. The idea of this initiative was launched about 40 years ago by a local professor and theater activist, Aldo Boglietti, who had the idea to embellish the rapidly growing city with art works. Continue reading “Resistencia, part 1”

Paying the price at the falls of Iguazú

Iguazu Falls

The spectacular waterfalls of Iguazú are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil. The nearest town on the Argentinean side, Puerto Iguazú, has a population of around 30’000 people. Its counterpart in Brazil bears the name of Foz do Iguaçu and is roughly ten times bigger. Since a visit to the falls usually involves seeing the falls from both countries, a number of border crossings is necessary. Setting my base camp at a strategic location involved some advance research, since I planned to continue my trip by going to Paraguay – which also has a border in the area.

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Herbal infusions in Buenos Aires

Colorful Buenos Aires

Arriving in Buenos Aires after a 24 hour bus ride from Bariloche was like arriving in Argentina. While locals might argue that this megalopolis doesn’t really represent the true spirit of this country, I was relieved to find an authentic place, which doesn’t cater solely for tourists. Buenos Aires has its rough edges that plague every capital in the world: Noise, pollution and the daily life full of stress. The city is divided into 48 ‘barrios’ (districts), covering a surface of 203 km2. According to the latest census, over 3 million people live here.

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Experiencing the mother of all roads going to Bariloche

Lakes near Bariloche

The “Ruta Nacional 40” (or: RN40) is the Argentinean mother of all roads: It stretches over 5000 kilometers from the Bolivian border down to the southern tip of the continent, while it passes through 20 national parks, over 18 big rivers and crosses 27 passes. In short: This is the backpacker version of the famous “Route 66” in the U.S.

Continue reading “Experiencing the mother of all roads going to Bariloche”

российская палатке в El Chaltén

Mount Fitz Roy near El Chaltén

The new tent which I inherited from my crazy Russian friend, Evgeny, proved to be of great value in El Chaltén, since all the hostels in the village were fully booked. Therefore, I ended up on the free campsite just outside of town, which was a perfect money saving as well. In this town, there are about 150 permanent residents living.

During summer, the influx of tourists and seasonal workers ramps up this number to a staggering 2000 people average on any day. Calling itself the “National Trekking Capital of Argentina” and being located in the “Los Glaciares National Park”, El Chaltén is splendidly surrounded by the mountains Cerro Torre, Cerro Chaltén (also known as mount Fitz Roy) and numerous glacier valleys and lakes.

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On the roller coaster to El Calafate

Perito Moreno glacier

Visitors crossing the border on the road from Puerto Natales in Chile to El Calafate in Argentina are being greeted by a big, spanking new signpost reading “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” (The Falkland Islands are Argentinean). Whew, that’s quite a bold statement – however a bit pointless, since no British tourists were travelling on my bus. Instead of being intimidated, most passengers were bemused of this governmental declaration of force which evaporated into a void of pitiful smiles among the crowd. On a much friendlier and welcoming side, the customs officers proved to be very efficient and immigration was swift. It took merely ten minutes to process all the 50 people from my bus.

Continue reading “On the roller coaster to El Calafate”