Trip Start Jan 31, 2005
45Trip End Mar 30, 2006
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Following a few relaxing days in Salta we headed south to the little town of Cafayate, located in one of Argentina's wine producing regions. It could have been in Northern California - beautiful weather, laid-back people, little boutique-y wine stores and lots of wineries to visit (you have to come here someday, Bill!).
From Cafayate we had to take three different buses over the course of about 16 hours to get to Cordoba, the second largest city in Argentina. We stayed there three full days, arriving in the morning the first day and leaving late at night the last. Another very nice city to visit (we love Argentina!). A huge portion of the center of the city is devoted to packed pedestrian malls, and the large number of university students make the city seem young and vibrant despite its industrial history.
After Cordoba we headed to the highly anticipated Buenos Aires (all over South America people kept telling us: wait till you get to Buenos Aires - you won't want to leave...) We arrived on a pretty miserable day
There is a lot to say about Buenos Aires, but we are going to save that for another entry... We picked that time to be in the city, though, because our good friend Darcy flew into Buenos Aires to spend nine days with us! After a few days enjoying the city (Thanks for bringing the good weather, Darcy! And thanks for sending along the good midwestern beer, Jill and John!) we took a 17 hour bus ride north to Iguazu Falls, at the border between Brazil and Argentina. Bus rides normally aren't worth detailing, but we'll make an exception for these Argentinian buses. The seats are better than first-class airplane seats (not that we have much experience to back up this claim) and are sort of like Lazy-Boys. This particular bus served wine with dinner (and they could even accomodate vegetarians...) and they served champagne and whiskey during the movie after dinner. And no more Steven Segal movies dubbed in Spanish - during this ride we saw The Bourne Supremacy, Open Water (much to Allison's consternation - not a fan of horror/suspense - see photo) and Ocean's 12
Iguazu Falls is almost impossible to describe and the photos only give you an idea of how spectular and diverse the area is (and due to a memory card snafu, we lost some of the best photos...). But, basically, imagine a jungly river basin around 2.5 miles wide plummeting over a series of curving cliffs its entire width. Some areas are unbelievably powerful and create huge clouds of mist (and beautiful rainbows), while other areas are mossy and islands have created numerous individual narrow falls. The falls cover such a wide area and are so diverse that you need at least two days to appreciate them (one from the Brazil side for a panoramic view and one from the Argentina side to see them up close - and we spent an additional day on the Argentina side, too...). It is hard to imagine spending three days looking at one set of waterfalls, but the infrastructure in the parks is top notch - there are catwalks that put you above them, below them, far away, close up... The highlight was a catwalk on the Argentinian side that put us basically right in front of the most powerful part of the falls - Garganta del Diablo (devil's throat). Out of all of the incredible natural areas we have seen in South America, it is hard to pick one more impressive than Iguazu Falls.
And FYI regarding the title of this entry. "Poor Niagara" is what Eleanor Roosevelt is reported to have said when she visited Iguazu Falls...