Adios America del Sur : Goodbye South America
Trip Start Dec 28, 2010
14Trip End Jul 15, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
However, in the spirit of backpacking David and I skipped the expensive option of flying to the mighty Iguazu Falls and instead opted for the 38 hour round trip bus experience
After the mammoth trip to Iguazu, it was straight to the Falls themselves. Apparently, they are twice as big as the Niagara Falls on the US/Canadian border, and the 275 individual waterfalls here straddle three countries, namely Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Very impressive and the best part is that you can literally stand beneath them...and get soaked.
The highlight of Iguazu was not the Falls though. According to David the true highlight was my experience with a crazy Peruvian tourist. There I was sitting quietly on this little train in the Falls park, and I noticed this woman starring at me. She summoned the courage to ask where I was from, then when I said I was British she had some kind of celebrity induced epileptic fit! Not literally (!) but this woman was totally convinced that I was the spitting image of Hugh Grant! Now apart from the hair colour and the accent, I can`t see the resemblance. But this lady was so excited - as if I actually was Hugh Grant! She kept looking at me, tilting her head and smiling! She was batty! According to her I should look into a living as his lookalike
After returning to Buenos Aires briefly, the next stop was the wine producing capital of Argentina - the western city of Mendoza.
Argentina is now the world`s fourth largest wine producer and much of the country`s red wine (vino tinto) comes from the huge vineyards around this city. A beautiful city, and when we arrived (after a now manageable 15 hour bus trip), a place celebrating its famous export with a huge wine festival. Talk about good timing.
On our second day there, we decided on hiring out some bikes and touring some of the vineyards. For a small amount of money at each vineyard, you get several generous samples of the different grapes. Riding a bike home after a day wine tasting is a skill I can tell you! But for me the wine was topped by an experience with one of Mendoza's fine police officers. I saw this police motorcyclist approaching us whilst on our bikes and thought he was about to give us a telling off for something
On that evening, as if we hadn`t consumed enough wine, we just had to attend the Mendoza Mega Tasting Wine Festival. A huge celebration in the main plaza with wine samples, food and crafts. I think in Britain giving away loads of wine would be dangerous! But this was a relaxed, family affair and just brilliant to experience. The firework display would have challenged anywhere in the world.
So now it`s time to say goodbye to South America. From Rio de Janeiro to Santiago, I`ve experienced Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Every country and every town and city has offered something different, interesting and memorable. Diverse landscapes and cultures separate places, but commonly through this continent you will find helpful and hospitable people. The food is terrific, the cities energetic and each day has been an experience to remember.
It`s difficult to say where my favourite place has been. I think I`ve felt most comfortable in Argentina. Buenos Aires was a beautiful, lively city, whilst Mendoza was laid back and classy
A new chapter and a new continent awaits now though. I fly to Auckland, New Zealand tonight. Time to say goodbye to my New York buddy. Iīll see you in the Big Apple, David. Itīs been brilliant travelling with you.
My adventure 'Down Under' starts here.....