It is possible to enjoy the best of Argentina in one brilliant journey
ARGENTINA: This is all about holiday, from thundering waters to tango in Buenos Aires. Argentina is a vast country and home to gauchos and the most awesome landscapes in South America. Glaciers, deserts, mountains, lakes, wild coastline and not to forget wonderful food and wine. This is how I remember Argentina, at the time I´m planning my return.
The mist of Iguassu Falls. There are waterfalls, and then there is Iguassu. It´s not the tallest, or technically the biggest, but such statistics are reduced to meaningless when you are confronted with this colossus. The cascades simply seem unending. But it is the noise of the water which is perhaps the most overwhelming sensation.
Peer over the dizzying edge into the Devil`s Throat from above, or take a boat towards the base to feel the spray on your face from half a mile away. It´s a struggle to grasp the enormity of the waterfall. This really is a case where you have to see it to believe it.
Click photos Argentina Contrast
Buenos Aires. There has always been much debate around which is the most beautiful city in the world, but for sheer glamour it is hard to look past Buenos Aires. At times it feels one half of the population has stepped right out of Milan´s finest boutiques, and the other half is oozing the kind of urban chic of which folks of other big cities can only dream.
The effortlessly elegant people are surrounded by such beautiful palaces and theatres; it is hard to know where to look. Even the cemeteries are gorgeous. With a heavy Italian heritage , world-class coffee and ice cream, there´s probably no better city in the world to sit on a café terrace and watch the world pass you by than BA.
Sound of silence. A thick wall of silence. Not just peace and quiet but total, absolute lack of noise. Just total stillness across a vast landscape of sand dunes and the high Andes.
This must be what outer space sounds like. Here it was strange, confusing, even a little scaring. I sat in silence taking in the raw beauty of this remote corner of Argentina. Nature can be utterly silent, huge and dominant. After ten minutes my head started to hurt and I began to squint like I do when I hear load noises – and I went off to join my guide for a chat!
Asado, asado. The legendary lamb barbecue of the Argentine steppe carries a great reputation, though it´s certainly a long way to go, even for the most committed carnivore. But when the first, tender piece lands on your tongue, and you hear the wind whistling over the pampas, you know the journey is more than worth it.
Wine. Perhaps no other country is so strongly associated with a single grape variety as Argentina is with Malbec. Other wines have tended to play second fiddle.
Sipping on matè. Argentinians drink their herbal tea – matè – in any time and place. A shared ritual that has some opaque rules attached to it, my guide was fortunately happy to induct me in the art of drinking mate like a local. Despite the bitter taste, I like the tea. The warm liquid after a long day of walking, sharing it with a group.
A quick street tango. Just as I pictured myself as Indiana Jones, for a brief moment, the black-tighted leg wrapped around my waist allows me to imagine myself as the quintessentially suave tanguero. The guffaws of my companion swiftly remove such illusions, but I don´t mind. It´s one of those rare episodes we find while travelling – when we let our inhibitions go, and throw ourselves into the sheer fun and joy of the moment.
Northern Argentina. Wilderness, Salt flats, lagoons and colossal sand dunes. A place to appreciate raw beauty and intense silence
Southern Argentina. From the Andes mountain to the Atlantic. Wildlife of the Peninsula, glaciers of Fitzroy National Park and Patagonia.
Next step. My trip to Argentina was planned to showcase its contrasts – and it delivered the unexpected. Next time I will settle down in Buenos Aires, try to understand and know more about dancing, learn steps and the deepest secret of Tango.
Make it Happen!
Touch Down: Norwegian.com is the airline to bring you from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires in one go, it takes about 11 hours. Ticket costs from 300 Euro one way.
Eat: You can get a juicy piece of grass-fed beef and an excellent bottle of wine for 30 dollars. Here are some food words required. Parrilla: both steakhouse and the actual grill Bodegones: Classic Buenos Aires neighborhood eateries serving local comfort foods like grilled meats, pastas, and beef. Asado: Barbecue, short or long ribs. Porteños: People who live in Buenos Aires, the port city Puerta Cerrada: Closed door restaurant, by reservation only, generally in the chef's home. Cenar: Dinner happens to be quite late, typically around 9 pm to 11 pm
Play: Enjoy nightlife. This is the city that never sleeps and famous for its incredible nightlife. Just be prepared to stay out late! We eat late, party late and sleep late.
Mini Guide: This is a big, cosmopolitan capital city. Plaza de Mayo is the center, lines with stately 19th-century buildings including Casa Rosada, the iconic, presidential palace. Other major attractions include Teatro Colòn, a grand 1908 opera house with nearly 2,500 seats. Then the modern MALBA museum, displaying Latin American art. Best time to visit is spring and autumn – for great weather and lots going on.