Thursday, June 7, 2012


 A couple of years ago, my husband and I ventured south, way SOUTH to Argentina. I remember feeling slightly appalled when people would ask us... 

"Are you not scared?" 
"Don't people 'disappear' down there?"
"What is there to do that close to Antarctica?"

I was not deterred,  quite the contrary, I was actually content with the challenge of proving folks wrong! While I was keenly aware of the, shall we say, disturbances throughout Argentina's history, I also knew too many families and students from Argentina that spoke highly of the country, its people, the FUTBOL, the night time 'ambiente', the polo, and let's not forget its art.... meat and WINE! So in 2008 when my husband said, "let's do something different" I immediately thought 
Buenos Aires & Patagonia.

The iconic Floralis Generica opens and closes as the sun rises and sets. 
Five years later we are still talking about our 2008 journey and thinking of heading back this winter. So I thought I would share with you why we fell in love with Argentina. 

This is Argentina as I remember it...

 As morbid as it may sound, our first stop in Buenos Aires (BA) was the Recoleta Cemetery! This was unlike most cemeteries I had been to before.

There were school girls hanging out here after class. It was a hang out!

Of course you have to pay homage to "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" inspired Evita Peron's tomb.

Some of the other crypts were more beautiful than words could express.

 This was a walking city for sure! We spent a good bit of time meandering through the neighborhood of Palermo with its fresh fruit & veggie markets everywhere. 

 Then there was the microcenter with its vibrant day time business vibe that by sunset somehow developed a seedy, yet artistic undercurrent. Buenos Aires is a city of paradoxes.

Widest avenue in the world, Avenida 9 de Julio

 The French and Italian inspired Recoleta made you feel like you were on the city sidewalks of Paris!

The laughter and sound of children were in every corner of the city!

The portenos (locals in Buenos Aires) LOVE their bookstores. There seems to be one on every corner! This is my kind of town.
El Ateneo, located at the intersection of Santa Fe and Callao is a splendid bookstore inside an old theater.
Outside of Manhattan, BA is probably among the finest when it comes to dog walkers! At one point I saw a dog walker with 6 dogs having a cafe con leche at a cafe. 
That my friends, is the perfect semblance of multitasking! 

Antiquing through San Telmo made me want to stay in BA forever. 
So many treasures are here! Do people know about this?

Exploring each neighborhood was like discovering a whole other city every time. Each neighborhood has its own culture, taste, and way of being. It was quite fascinating from one street to the next.
 Do you have a favorite?
Walking through the Boca area.

Did I mention how good and inexpensive the food was? Beware, this is NOT a vegetarian paradise! 

Dinner @ la Cabrera

Dining alfresco at Cabanas las Lilas. Image found HERE
The bridge in Puerto Madero
 Then there were the polo fields and, uhm, the polo players, who might I add 
have even made Oprah speechless.
The polo fields near Palermo
Image Detail
Polo mega star, Nacho Figueras. Image found HERE

 The polo players weren't the only artistry of perfection to behold...
MALBA:  collects, preserves, researches and promotes Latin American art from the onset of the 20th century to the present. It was one of our favorite museums.

The Bellas Artes museum was also quite good.

But watching these guys do yoga in the park was super fun! They even let me join their class for the day.
 After a week in the city we were ready for a change and had plans to venture to Bariloche, the lake district and then dive into the depths of Patagonia.

This is what I had envisioned doing! Image found HERE
 However, our plans were put on hold as the Chaiten volcano reeked havoc all over Patagonia on both sides of the Andes. Flights were canceled or rerouted elsewhere with little warning.
Image found HERE
So there we were in the airport for a couple of hours with no other plans when a lovely Argentinian passenger (also stranded) suggested "why not go to Mendoza? The wine is amazing." 
How can you say no to that? 
I've had Malbec before, so on a whim we headed to Mendoza. Best decision ever! 

The next week and half treated us very well!
Even the sandwiches were incredible! Like nothing we had ever seen before.

We spent hours walking in el parque San Martin.
The captivating Cerro De La Gloria Monument

Lavender & butterflies can't help but make you happy!

The outskirts of Mendoza were so impressive.Part desert, part mountain - pure magic.

Regardless of whether you enjoy a soccer game or not - Argentinians KNOW how to enjoy a futbol event!

The game had not ended!

We took long walks and rode bikes everywhere. Sometimes we would spend hours without seeing anyone.
We had an impromptu parilla here after a long day of horseback riding. Amazing meal... not sure you can find this on tripadvisor. :(

It was a great riding day!
Which of course made us thirsty!
Wine wasn't the only treat in Mendoza...
The Mendoza wine country was very rustic. It truly felt like an utterly organic destination.
Something about bodegas (vineyards) that are mountainside...
Every season would have its splendor. Image found HERE

Just when you thought the wine was spectacular...Oh the food!

The presentation of the food and wine was glorious! I think only about 5% of the wine actually leaves Argentina.

After our long days in nature we would always find our way back in our favorite spot in Mendoza, 

Or in the Mendoza Square.
Argentina truly is like no other place in the world. It's unspoiled splendor is a marvel. Argentinian's live life to their own rhythm... dinner at 10:00PM. Family events can start at 11:00PM (the children are invited!). Political discussions take center stage. Fashion prevails in every sense, yet nature still reigns queen. 
I can't wait to go back!

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