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Trip through Argentina

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The blog is a little later than usual and I can honestly say that the delay is wine-induced...

In San Pedro de Atacama in Northern Chile (where we arrived into after Uyuni), we rented bikes and headed off into the desert. We spent a day cycling along dry riverbeds through red rock cliffs under the baking sun. We ran into one minor problem which we were not expecting in the desert - we had to turn back on one of the roads due to....flooding. Yes, flooding. We left Chile the next day and drove through barren mountain desert, past geysers and steaming lakes to Argentina, where the scenery got even more spectacular with pink hills, green mountains and huge red canyons. I felt like a certain type of tourist with my camera out all the time, clicking away.

Making our way down through Argentina, we stopped in the little town of Cafayate. Surrounded by amazing scenery, this gem is known for its wineries (dad, look away now!). We rented 2 bikes and cycled our way out to the vineyards. The first one was 6km away, uphill all the way. After we`d made it to the top, we were hot, thirsty and looking forward to a nice glass of wine. The lady gave us a tour and we stood around afterwards, expectantly. When the glass of wine wasn`t forth-coming, Mel went ahead and asked for it, to which the lady replied that there was no wine as we hadn`t book a day in advance. The wagon! Luckily, after freewheeling it back the 6k, we arrived into a winery that knew what good wine was (and what a good sized glass is supposed to look like!). As the day went on and the wine kept coming, the cycling got a bit shaky, especially trying to balance the newly-purchased 2 bottles of wine and cheese...
We weren`t done with the wine yet. The following day we hiked around the Devil`s Throat and Amphitheatre rock formations and rewarded ourselves with wine-flavoured ice-cream. My goodness, Cabernet Sauvignon never tasted so good! 
In an attempt to offset all the wine we were drinking, we continued getting the exercise in. We went for a hike (or more accurately, a scramble) along a river to reach a waterfall, under which you could go swimming, if the water wasn`t 5 below! This involved criss crossing the river numerous times attempting to find a trail and jumping from rock to rock so we wouldn`t get wet (well, that was the theory - my manky white runners tell a different story). We made some new friends along the way - 4 very annoying dogs who wouldn`t leave us alone and then I got flashed on the way back by an Argentinian offering me sex. Story of my life...
Our next stop was Rosario, a little city abut 3 hours outside of Buenos Aires. One of the nights we went to a Greek restaurant. Gorgeous food and then a dancing show afterwards. It was traditional style dancing, you know, the usual, with smashing plates and a guy holding a table up in the air with his mouth! Thankfully when they dragged us up to dance, all we had to do was wiggle our hips a bit.
In the hostel in Buenos Aires, we sampled our first proper Argentinian BBQ with all you can eat meat and all you can drink wine. Although it was late getting started (didn`t eat til 10:30pm, typical Argentinian dinner time), when the meat finally started coming, the portions got bigger and better until we had to call it quits at midnight. We also booked a tango show through the hostel - we were picked up about 7:30pm and brought to a very fancy theatre venue. We had 45 mins of class with another older couple, 20 mins of which I spent dragging or pushing Mel around the floor - I think it´s called "leading". Thankfully, an American guy arrived in so I got to do the "girl" part finally while Mel got teamed with the dance instructor. Mel and I were pro`s at the end and even got the certificate to prove it! After the class, we were taken down to our all-you-can-drink and 3 course meal. The show itself lasted about an hour and a half, with a mixture of tango dancing and more traditional "stuff" - I don`t know what else to call it as it involved two older guys with ropes in each hand, at the end of which were stones. They`d spin the ropes around, slamming them against the ground and, although that`s a crap attempt at describing that they did, they were brilliant!
We spent our days in BA, wandering the antiques fair in San Telmo; visiting Recoletta Cemetery where Evita is buried; strolling around the Japanese Gardens where we stopped for some sushi; heading out to La Boca, the colourful Italian district of BA where we saw a couple of free tango shows in the street; power walking our way round the ecological gardens; and, finally, viewing the beautiful giant rose sculpture that closes its metal petals at dusk and opens them again at dawn.
We`re off on our sky dive this afternoon so, if you don`t hear from Mel in the next blog, presume it didn`t go so well...



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Argentina through the bottom of a wine glass

Rosario & Buenos Aires, Argentina