|I traveled to Argentina to run
Buenos Aires Marathon but took advantage to also do some sightseeing (the
whole trip was from October 31st through November 19th)
We flew to Buenos Aires and had a couple of days to visit the city before the marathon. The day after the marathon we flew to Salta from where we made trips to Cafayate and Humahuaca.
Then we flew to Bariloche (ski region) from where we flew further to El Calafate (glaciers) and Ushuaia (southern most city in the world where the Panamericana starts/ends). On our way back to Buenos Baires we stopped for whale- and sea elephant watching on the Peninsula Valdés.
Overall we flew to the far north-west and from there traveled along the Chilenean border 5,800km south before returning along the Atlantic coast.
Avenida 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires, the world's widest street. In Buenos Aires we stayed in the Design Suites Hotel.
|Plaza Libertador General San Martín|
|Puerto Madero with many restaurants|
|San Telmo area next to the city center, some colonioal history perseved in this 12 million metropolis|
|Caminito an artist area in the Boca area|
|Boca Juniors stadium where the divine Diego Armando Maradona used to play|
|Plaza 25 de Mayo (the main square)|
|Casa Rosada (government building)|
|Plaza de Mayo|
|Palacio de los aguas corrientes. Believe it or not, this used to be a water reservoir. There were huge tanks inside.|
|Every big city has its grand café. In Buenos Aires this is Café Tortoni|
The city of Salta two hours of flight to the north-west in the region neighboring with Chile, Boliva and Paraguay. Salta has a colonial atmosphere with the typical central square where people meet. We stayed in the Salta Hotel.
|The main square (Plaza de 9 Julio) at night|
|ditto (with cathedral)|
|Shopping area in Salta|
|Iglesia San Francisco|
|Gondola trip to Cerro San Bernardo (1,454m). As can be seen Salta is located in the pre-Andes at about 1,200m|
|Excursion to Cafayete (wine growing region) across the Quebrada del Río de las Conchas with multi-colored sandstone (formations)|
|The Castel formation|
|The "amphitheater" gorge|
|Cafayate main square|
|Excursion to Humahuaca which is very close to the Bolivian border|
|The Quebrada de Humahuaca (UNESCO World Nature Heritage)|
|Also here there were fantastic rock formations|
|Flowering cactus (Cardon) with seven-colored mountain in the background in Purmamarca|
|Waste bin made of cactus wood (the local building material) in Purmamarca|
|This region was part of the Inca empire. This is a pre-Inca castle (pucará) in Tilcara which was reconstructed.|
|Main square of Humahuaca with Inca-inspired walls|
2 flight-hours south of Salta. A dramatic change from the colonial amtmosphere to an alpine atmosphere comparable to Queenstown/NZ or the White Mountains/NH. We stayed in the Nevada Hotel.
|Historical center of (San Carlos de) Bariloche which was an attempt to create a Swiss-style resort|
|Some more contemporary allutions to Switzerland|
|Patagonia and in particular Bariloche are famous for its chocolate (palaces)|
|The "Catedral" ski region|
|Even though the ski season was (unfortunately) already finished there was still a lot of snow. From the cabin on top (Refugio Lynch) one could see the Chilean peaks.|
|Boat trip on Lago Nahuel Huapi|
|Landing on the Quetrihé Peninsula|
|Famous Bosque de Arrayanes which rightly or wrongly is said to have inspired Walt Disney for his Bambie Movie. The Arrayanes ("Myrten" in German) are usually only a bush but find in this very confined place the right conditions to grow to full trees|
|There were stunning views abound|
|The famous Llao Llao hotel|
|The real Llao Llao, a mushroom which was also called "the bread of the Indians" as it can be eaten. The mushroom enters the trunk after which the tree by-basses the mushrom and forms the knots as can be seen.|
|My brother golfing at the Llao Llao while I was having afteroon tea in the hotel. Even though it was early spring, the course was already in great condition.|
another hour further south. A prime tourist location through its glaciers. We stayed in the Quijote Hotel.
|The Perito Moreno Glacier|
|The Perito Moreno glacier enters Lago Argentina and pushes against Península Magallanes cutting off part of the lake. This holds back the water of the southern part of Lago Argentina which raises 20-30m over time until it develops such pressure on the glacier that it breaks. 40 million tons of ice break off, one of the most spectacular nature events our plant has to offer. This happens every 2-7 years.|
|Perito Moreno moves 0.4m a day. As a result frequent "calfing" of the glacier can be observed.|
|Impressive size (the glacier tip is 4-5km long)|
|Boat trip on Lago Argentina to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (UNESCO World Nature Heritage)|
|Enormous icebergs floating on Lago Argentina|
|Icebergs with all kind of shapes and sizes|
|One part of the lake is cut of by moraine through which the icebergs cannot float. They are clogged on the lake and pile up|
|Creek through the moraine|
|Spectacular views à discretion.|
|Approaching Uppsala Glacier with a 6-7km long tip and a total area of 600km2. Behind the Uppsala Glacier there is the Continential Ice shield which is 250km long|
|80m high glacial walls|
|4x4 trip close to El Calafate|
|Rock formation called "Sombreros Mexicanos" overlooking el Calafate. Sediments containing lots of iron are enclosed in normal rock. A phenomena which only exists in a handful other places in the world.|
the southern most city in the world which is also a raising ski destination (the Swiss national team trained here in Summer 2007). I think they might have even stayed in the same hotel as we did.
|City center of Ushuaia|
|Views in the Tierra del Fuego National Park|
|Beaver dam. Beavers were actually imported here and are now a hassle because they kill the forests.|
|Here ends (or begins) the Transamericana. This is the southern most place where one can go by car. Cap Hoorn is actually on an island farther south.|
|Cormorans and sea lions on an island in the Beagle Canal.|
Whale watching on Península Valdés (UNESCO World Nature Heritage) where every year up to 1'200 Southern Right Whales gather for having their babies. We first stayed in Puerto Madryn, then on the Península (Punta Delgada) and then again in Puerto Madryn.
|The whales got very close. While I have been on many whale watchings, this is the first which deserves the name. Where ever one looked, there were whales, some times one saw up to 10 whales at the same time.|
|Baby whale angrily beating the water for minutes calling for its mother|
|Another whale beating the water with its tale fin|
|Another whale breaching, in brief the whales did everything possible to make this trip worth its money|
|Big Sea Elephant Bull (about 3.5 tons). They grow as big as 6m and 4tons, can dive down to 1,500m below waterline and stay there for two hours. They have muscles to compress the lungs and build up haemoglobin which provides oxygen to the vital parts of the body. Once they surface they are ready for another 2 hour trip with 3-4 minutes. The Sea Elephants spend most of their time in the water and only come to the beach for having their babies and changing their skin.|
|Guanacos on the Peninúsla|
|A 60'000 couples strong colony of Magellan penguins|
|The penguins walked around quite unimpressed by the visitors. They only got nervous when then and when a pack of sea lions cruised along the shore.|
|The penguins go out to fish for up to 24 hours and swim on average 70km away from the colony. They bring back the food to their babies in their stomachs.|
|From Península Valdés
(technically Trewlew Airport) we flew back to Buenoes Aires and from there
directly via Madrid to Zurich.
Argentina is a spectacular and very easy country to travel.