Argentina Wrap-Up

Sitting in our apartment with a beautiful night view of the other side of the valley in the middle of La Paz, I’m realizing, I enjoy thinking up blog posts, but not so much writing them. We left Buenos Aires and Argentina more than a week ago to head to Bolivia (a voyage took us a good two plus days) and I’m bound and determined to get a wrap up of Argentina out to all of you, so we can leave it in the rearview mirror.

Getting There
We pick up where we left off in the Chile Round-Up, crossing the border in to Argentina. This border crossing is a bit interesting. It’s just a dirt road in the middle of the vast no-where between Chile and Argentina, near the entrance to Torres del Paine. Everyone gets off the bus on the Chilean side, gets an exit stamp and then gets back on the bus. On the Argentine side, everyone, once again, gets off the bus and gets an entry stamp to Argentina. It wouldn’t be particularly hard to just stay on the bus and skip the border checks, but I’m not sure there is any benefit to entering a country and not getting an entry stamp, since as we see later, they check this closely at the border when you leave. As an American, you have to register online and pay a reciprocity fee of $160. Always conscious of the money we spend on this trip, it’s a bit painful to spend 3 days worth of budget just to get in to the country, but it’s also humbling to know that this fees is in response to the fees and processes that Argentines have to endure to enter the US. It won’t be our last and we’ll grumble about them each time, but we’ll enjoy our time in those countries regardless.

After getting across the border, we all piled back on the bus and continued our 3 hours ride to El Calafate.

El Calafate
El Calafate was mostly a staging area for us to get to El Chalten for more hiking, spending 2 days before and 3 days after our time there. We did enjoy some good challenges for making meals without a proper kitchen as well as in a crowded kitchen as well as some good workouts in the parks.  And last but not least, our first evening, we went for a walk along the water and were treated with a beautiful sunset.

[flickr_set id=”72157651810648321″]

[See on Flickr]

El Chalten
Danielle has already chronicled our time in El Chalten, so I won’t dive in too much, but will leave you with some amazing pictures that can never do the real view justice, but still inspire awe in me as I look back at them.

[flickr_set id=”72157649493136893″]

[See on Flickr]

Buenos Aires
Opting out of the long bus ride to Buenos Aires (sadly there is no direct bus that we could find), we bought plane tickets from El Calafate to Buenos Aires. We enjoyed the relative ease of the small non-US airport and especially marvelled at how far we were from home on this big map of the world.

Once again, Danielle has already wrapped up this place, so I’ll just give a few highlights and leave you with my favorite pictures. Some of the highlights for me:

  • Hanging out with new and old friends.
  • Eating the local food – deep dish pizza with way too much cheese.
  • Tango lessons, followed by dinner at a favorite asado of our friends, the Gabis.
  • Reading and resting in the many beautiful parks of Buenos Aires, especially Plaza Jardin de Invierno.
  • A 7.3 mile run on Marathon Monday inspired by our friend Erin Glabets who was running an amazing marathon at the same time in Boston.
  • Great meals out at the Burger Joint and and our last night in Buenos Aires date at Fornier.
  • Seeing Casablanca for the first time – in English on the big screen at the Hoyts Abasto.

[flickr_set id=”72157652082265615″]

[See on Flickr]

On to Bolivia…
Danielle will be chronicling the start of our adventures in Bolivia tomorrow, but we took the long way to get to our next destination in Uyuni, Bolivia. We left Buenos Aires at 6pm on May 4th and arrived in Uyuni just a few strokes before midnight on the night of May 6th (that’s 56 hours of travel, 2 buses, 1 border crossing, 1 train, 6 of the best empanadas ever, one terrible coffee, 2 finished books, and through it all a complete lack of sleep and any understanding of what day or time it was).