Buenos Aires and Mendoza
After Iguazu Falls we had two more destinations in Argentina to enjoy, the countdown to the end of our Latin America trip has begun.
Buenos Aires has often been dubbed the Paris of South America–and with good reason. The tree lined streets are filled with fashionable people, quaint corner cafes, and an overall atmosphere of working to live. this was our second stop included in the Argentinian package (see post from Iguazu), we stayed at the chic boutique hotel, CasaSur Palermo. When we checked in we couldn’t help but notice the group of young women floating about in front of the hotel. We learned that a famous Brazilian actor was staying here as well–Sidney Sampaio. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to run into him, darn. We spent one full day navigating the city on foot, walking through Retiro, Puerto Madero all the way down to La Boca. There we saw La Bombonera, the famous stadium of the Boca Juniors. Sadly the Argentinian League is still on break so we couldn’t go to watch a game.
As part of our Argentinian package we also enjoyed a tango show, Rojo Tango, at the Faena Hotel. The hotel itself was overwhelmingly extravagant, with plush red and gold decor everywhere. The show is tucked into a small intimate theater within the hotel and for our show there were only 8 other tables. Prior to the show we had a delicious meal which was accompanied by an open bar. The term “open bar” is basically considered a challenge by us, and we did our best to empty their bar. The show itself was outstanding, the dancers, costumes, band, everything was perfect. We watched mesmerized over our glasses of wine as the dancers effortlessly swirled and kicked their legs with precision, often between their partners. Unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed during the show and we also failed to take any photos before or after–oops.
The next day, a bit foggy after the open bar, we headed to the Latin American Art Museum. We considered ourselves to be starting the day late, arriving at 11am, but the museum didn’t even open until noon anyway. Makes sense considering that many people in Buenos Aires don’t eat dinner until 11pm. This is a great place to lazily meander, just enjoying the different art pieces. After this we strolled to the Recoleta Cemetery. Some people find cemeteries to be morbid, but Megan loves them. This one in particular is quite beautiful, it’s easy to get lost spending some time here. The most widely visited grave in the cemetery is Eva Perón. The grave itself is pretty understated, but of course worth a visit. Our favorite grave goes to Luis Angel Firpo, a famous boxer. He made sure to have a life-sized statue of himself in his boxing robe and it also appeared that his tomb may be air conditioned, although we couldn’t find any definitive answer to that. In the evening we had an amazing steak dinner at Calden del Soho. Argentinian portion sizes are gigantic, the beef quality is excellent and the cost is a fraction of what an American steak house would charge.
Mendoza, was our last destination to be included in the Argentinian package, and we were more than excited to settle into the Park Hyatt. The main reason anyone goes to Mendoza is wine, us included. As part of our package we went wine tasting in the Uco Valley. The three wineries that we went to were Domaine Bousquet, La Azul and Andeluna. Our favorite of the three was the smaller, family operated La Azul. Most of the wineries in the Uco Valley are operated by outside investors, mainly incredibly rich Americans and French while La Azul is still operated by Argentinians. Our wine guide at La Azul pointed out that no one gets in the wine business any longer to make a profit, it’s strictly a hobby. While we didn’t find the wine at Andeluna great, the lunch we had there was delicious. At this point Megan was having a hard time eating all of the large sums of meat while Markus had no problem with this diet. Apparently, when Argentinians have a BBQ (Asado), they average 1lb of beef per person–yowzer.
The next day we wanted to explore some of the wineries on our own, so we picked a few that are easily accessible by bus in Chacras de Coria and made reservations by phone since most places require them. Finding a kiosk that sells the RedBus card, which we needed for the bus was a little tricky but otherwise using public transport was easy and cheap. We went to Clos de Chacras, Pulmary and Alta Vista Wines. Our favorite for the day (and our entire time in Mendoza) was Pulmary. The entire vibe is relaxed and the atmosphere was lovely. We had tastings straight from the barrel and all of them were delicious. The family that runs this winery is incredibly warm and inviting. We also tasted their new adventure in beer making (operated by the son). As he says, he was tired of only having bad options available so he took matters into his own hands.