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Published: November 21st 2008
In the last two weeks, we´ve travelled from the very bottom of Argentina right up to the top where it meets with Brazil. We´ve covered a lot of ground in a short space of time but it´s been really easy because Argentina has the best buses in the world!
We did three overnight journeys while we were there and each time we went a class higher. Our first journey was in semi-cama class where there were four seats in every row which reclined a bit. They showed films in English and we had a hot dinner (with Pepsi!) and breakfast in the morning. Next, we upgraded to cama class where there were only three chairs in each row so they were a lot wider (they were also leather and really comfy!). On this journey, we were given wine with our dinner instead of Pepsi! For our final Argentinian overnighter we decided to push the boat out and book a cama suite (this is the equivalent of flying business class but it´s actually affordable...just!). On this bus, our seats fully reclined, we had our own personal TV, canapes were served before dinner, petit fours were served after dinner and
we had wine, whisky and champagne to drink! But we didn´t spend all our time in Argentina riding around on buses...we did actually see some sights as well! Punta Tombo
From September to April over half a million penguins descend on Punta Tombo for the breeding season. In fact, it´s the biggest penguin colony outside Antartica. We´d already seen penguins in the Galapagos Islands but not in such massive numbers so we decided to take a trip out there. The set-up is very touristy and there´s a trail to follow through the breeding ground to a small cliff overlooking the sea. Along the way, we saw some penguins in their nests keeping their eggs warm and a few walking around, and at the lookout point we watched a small group of penguins swimming in the surf, but there were nowhere near the numbers I had expected. Obviously, I didn´t think I´d see half a million but I had hoped for a few hundred at least! The birds were very cute to watch but it wasn´t the David Attenborough experience we´d thought it would be. Gaiman
This Welsh settlement village in Northern Patagonia is famous for its
afternoon teas so, with me coming from Wales and liking cakes, it was a natural stop on our itinerary. The place actually looks nothing like Wales at all - the only giveaways are the Welsh Dragons that adorn every guesthouse and restaurant sign and the souvenir shops selling Welsh-themed gifts. We chose to visit Ty Te Caerdydd (Cardiff tea house) because it´s supposed to be the best one (and also because Princess Diana had been there when she visited Gaiman in 1995!). It was quite a walk out of town but was definitely worth it. I was expecting a musty, old-fashioned place but it turned out to be very elegant with an indoor fountain and high ceilings. The afternoon tea consisted of sandwiches, bread and butter, scones and jam and lots of different little cakes. We ate everything put in front of us (unlike the South American tourists who didn´t seem to get the concept and left more than they consumed!) and drank about three pots of tea!
While in Gaiman we also visited Parque El Desafio, a forest area that has been decorated by a local artist. His eccentric designs are made entirely from rubbish and are amazing,
Outside Ty Te Caerdydd.
if a little surreal. Buenos Aries
Having visted many cities on our travels, it takes a lot to impress us now, but Buenos Aries was brilliant. It has a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and lots of beautiful colonial buildings and nice green spaces. While we were there, we visited the cemetry where Evita is buried (it was like a small town with the elaborate maseleums as houses!); the Presidential Palace where Evita appeared to the masses; La Boca, where there are lots of colourful houses; a really interesting antiques and crafts market where we didn´t get hassled at all, and a tango show which was a bit like a pantomine but had excellent dancing! We also whiled away a few hours in outdoor bars watching street performers and Matt tried a few of the Argentina´s legendary steaks. Iguazu Falls
This collection of over 300 massive waterfalls is situated in a national park on the Argentina/Brazil border. Everyone says you have to see the falls from both countries as each view is very different - the Brazilian side offers the grand overview but you can get closer to the waterfalls on the Argentinian side - so that´s exactly
Lots of Cakes!
We had to cut them in half so I could try every single one!
what we did!
Our first visit to the falls was on the Argentinian side. We were really lucky with the weather and it was a lovely, clear day. There are three main trails to follow which take you above the waterfalls, level with the waterfalls and to the biggest waterfall in the park, the scarily named Garganta Del Diablo or Devil´s Throat. The park really lived up to my expectations. The sight of so many huge waterfalls and the sound of all that rushing water was amazing. You get really close to some of the waterfalls (enough to get soaking at times!) and in places, when the sun reflected on the spray in a certain way, rainbows appeared.
We saved the biggest waterfall until the end and it wasn´t a disappointment. The viewing platform is really close to the waterfall and allows you to look down into it. With the risk of sounding American, it really was an awesome sight.
Two days later, we crossed the border to visit the Brazilian side of the falls. Unfortunately we weren´t so lucky with the weather this time and it was cloudy and a bit wet. Having seen the waterfalls
Parque El Desafio
The entrance to the surreal park.
up close, it was really interesting to see them from afar and made you realise just how many of them there were. Overall though, we enjoyed the Argentian experience more...and they have better buses!!!
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