Edit Blog Post
Published: August 22nd 2006
Turbo prop on a grass strip
Pardon the dated material as we finished this trip the 8th of August and have since traveled into Argentina.
The one hour flight from La Paz to Rurrenabaque was spectacular. Departing La Paz at altitude and flying by Mt. Illampu was impressive. Landing on the grass strip and opening the cabin door to the warmth of the jungle was a welcome relief. We were booked in a local hotel just off the square, so we were able to wander around the one horse river town until our ride up river was the following morning. Passing through the square after dinner I noticed some activity near a temporary stage. What we didn´t realize was that it was the national Independence day, and the band played all night long. I mean all night long.
We were met at our hotel in the morning to walk to the riverboats already staged. In our boat, we were 4 guests and te second boat had 5. The scenery really made up for the lack of sleep the night before. Along the way we stopped for a box lunch and made it to riverside landing by late afternoon. We had a 20 minute hike into the
Our river transport
Five hours upriver to our lodge
jungle to the lodge before we came upon the clearing beside a lake. We settled into our cabin while Dennis got busy with the bug spray on the screened windows and the mosquito netting around the bed. We were assigned a guide that would take us on hikes while we were at the lodge for the next 2 full days. He was great at spotting the birds and monkeys in the forest before we could see them. We enjoyed our stay in the jungle, but were glad to get back to the cool climate in La Paz.
A few days after our return from the jungle, we had booked our travel arrangements to Argentina. The train departure point was a 3 hour bus ride from La Paz in the city of Oruro which Dennis describes as looking like Baghdad on a good day! It´s a very worn down city, mostly known for the mineral mining in the area and its´famous carnival, but it´s the starting point for the railway to the Argentinian border. The train also stops at a small town, Uyuni, which is the starting point for 4 wheel drive/ 3 day trips across the wide salt flats
which many travelers have highly recommended to us. The train stops here at 10 pm when the temperature is about 10 degrees F. We decided we´d had plenty of adventures in Bolivia. The train trip was long and dusty, but as most of the travel was after dark, we regretted the chance not to see some of the scenery. We met a fun couple from Holland and joined them in the dining car for a beer. They were disembarking at Uyuni to go on the salt flats trip. Our train arrived at the border about 7am and we cleared through Argentina a few hours later and made our way to the bus station with all the other passengers from the train, making their way south to Salta, the largest city (500,000 pop.) in the northwest.
Once we arrived in Salta, we dropped off our bags at our hotel and walked to the main plaza. What a pleasant suprise. The main cathedral was lit up, and as it was a Saturday night, so many people, all ages, were strolling around the park in the plaza and the outdoor cafes were in full swing.
Our first meal in Argentina and
Polling required over the shallows
I ordered my first Argentinian steak, bife de churrasco (grilled steak, 14 oz.). For one that doesn´t eat beef that frequently in the states, I´m hooked! On the menus here, the beef is it´s own entree. Any side dishes must be ordered separately. Not only is the quality of the meat great, but it´s seared to perfection. No problems digesting beef here (must be the hormones used in the states!) And to top it off, it cost roughly US$6.00 for the steak. A nice glass of house wine is about .66 cents. A good bottle of wine with dinner is US$6. Restaurant service is very attentive here which we think has made us ruined for our return to the states. Needless to say, we feel as though we´ve gained a few pounds in our first week here so we´re planning a long hike tomorrow. We´re now in the town of Cafayate, which is one of the main wine regions in Argentina. We´re treated to warm sunny days, and cool nights. The town feels like what Sonoma must have been like about 20-30 years ago. It´s just starting to be discovered. We´ve visited a few wineries, a goat cheese farm, and
enjoying the pace of the town and staying in a very comfortable inn. Hope everyone has enjoyed their summer as the days start to get shorter. Here we´re entering the Spring season and enjoying the last 3 weeks.
Tot: 2.547s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 10; qc: 55; dbt: 0.0467s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb