Published: January 17th 2012January 17th 2012
Getting soaked at the garganta del Diablo!
Do you like Ham and Cheese? Then you have to go to Argentina because it is all you are going to be eating once you´ve gorged on steak! To illustrate, when we arrived at Iguazu and visited the restauraunt (built to cater for the thousands of visitors from all over the world they have every day) there were 8 choices on the menu. With no exaggeration 7 of them were subtly different varieties of ham and cheese sandwiches... very subtle. If you go in a pizzeria your choices are ham, cheese, or ham and cheese, and the Empanadas (little Pasties not unlike mini Calzones) have the same array of choices.
Anyway, ham and cheese empanadas in hand we headed over to the falls and were not disappointed. (which given that it had taken us around 19 hours to get there and was going to take another 24 to get away was a very horrible possibility) You walk over wetlands on a series of suspended walkways for around a kilometer, a low rumble getting progressively louder, until suddenly you emerge from the steamy jungle to a vista of open space. The walkway in front of you disappears into a fog which,
And at a slightly more comfortable distance!
as you walk into it you realise is dense spray. Then, at a viewing platform on the very edge of the falls you see the entire landscape drop around 100 meters at your feet as hundereds of falls carrying billions of litres of water cascade over the side. The enviroment looks so much like a film that it doesn´t quite feel real and the scale and number of the falls makes it a fantastic spectacle. We wandered around the national park for the rest of the day visiting many of the fantastic falls and headed back to our hostel for an evening of cocktails and swimming, not bad.
Given how far out of the way the falls were we ended up spending a couple of extra days in the local town before braving the longest journey of our trip to Cordoba. As soon as we arrived we dropped our bags, picked up a map and walked the city delighted at finding something that wasn´t ham and cheese for lunch. (hotdog with cheese, the days of exiting Eastern food seem a long time ago.) We loved Cordoba, it had all of the character you wanted from an Argentinian city but
Moving to fast to photograph
was far more manageble, friendly, fun and picturesque than Buenos Aires. We found a Mexican restaurant which made a welcome change (if you can´t tell) and as well as exploring the host of dramatic local churches went to a tango evening in a hidden plaza which was fantastic, though it didn´t particularly improve my two left feet. Some of the moves the professionals were coming out with were spectacular though, the professional was a serious athelete!
We finished off in Cordoba with a tour of the Jesuit church and Cordoba University. (the oldest in Argentina) It turns out that in the 17th Century it took you 16 years to complete your education at Cordoba U and after a 24 hour oral exam and having been grilled by the professors of the unversity, the Bishop and the Mayor of the town on your theses, if they did not deem that you were of sufficient calibre you were asked to leave the University with no second chance and no qualification. To make it worse as you left your friends and family would pelt you with rotten fruit they had been saving since your first day 16 years ago... The most people who ever passed in a year was three and this caused mass celebrations throughout the city! Other years, the suicide rate was spectacularly high... Grim!
A relatively short 12 hour coach journey later and we arrived in Salta where I write from now. The weather is still beautiful but tomorrow we head over to Bolivia where the altitude will raise to over 4,500 meters and the temperatures will drop to dare I say it English colds, frost is a nightly occurance in Bolivia... Time to buy an Alpaca sweater I think!
Lots of Love,
Adam and Emma