Three Generations of Women Travel Argentina
Last week in Argentina was mesas de examenes for the Argentines, also known as vacation week for all of us studying abroad. Everyone went somewhere. There were groups of people going north to Salta and Jujuy, to Iguazu. Some of my friends went to Peru to see Machu Pichu while others went to Bolivia to see giant salt flats. I took the week to show Argentina to my family, and so began the trip of three generations.
My mother and grandmother arrived on Friday to Mendoza. It also happened to be a huge party in Plaza Independencia for the bicentennial celebration of Chile. Our joke was that the country was celebrating their arrival. The plaza was full of tables and chairs and booths of food surrounding asado pits. Asados are something Argentina does very well. That night there was a huge concert with many singers and traditional chilean dances. There was also a young reggae concert on the other side of the plaza remember the disappeared which we really enjoyed.
Saturday we went to the spa in the natural thermal pools about an hour outside of the city and deep in the mountains, enjoyed the water and the view and the luxurious pampering. We covered ourselves in the special mud, ¨aplicación de fango¨ and after showering enjoyed the biggest and most delicious buffet I have ever tasted.
Sunday my US family met my Argentine family over a huge tea with tons of delicious Argentine sweets. It was really something to have everyone together, especially when neither of my moms spoke the other´s language, but we had a lot of fun.
Sunday night we took an overnight bus to Bariloche, in northern Patagonia. We drove the beautiful and often desolate route 40 for about 17 hours while being served more food than we could eat, wine, champagne and caramelitos. We even played bingo, with me calling out the English translations for mom and grandma of course. Upon arrival to Bariloche we were met by a Remis to take us to our castle, literally a castle, on the edge of lake Nahuel Huapi. We ate hamburguesas and superpanchos (fotlong hotdogs) in a spinning restaurant on the top of a mountain with an incredible view of the whole city and surrounding mountains. Tuesday we took a boat tour of the lake stopping at Bosque de los Arrayanes with the beautiful cinnamon and white trees that inspired the forest in Bambi and Isla Victoria with the exotic collection of trees from all over the world. It was actually snowing!
Wednesday we went horsebackriding on one of the nearby mountains and mom and I tried galloping. In the typical Argentina fashion the conversation went like this, but in Spanish, me: ¨Why does Dalilo keep making those noises¨ Martín our guide: ¨the horses do that usually in the morning when they really want to work¨ me: ¨so is he bored? Does he want to gallop or something¨ Martín: ¨yea, he want´s to work a little harder¨ me: ¨well, I would love to gallop.¨ A little while later, Martin: ¨we´re going to gallop here. I´ll bring grandma upfront then come back and gallop with you and mom¨ So, he leaves us with the horses and after about a minute the horses are already angrily galloping because they don´t want to be left. We catch up to him, holding on for dear life, and turn around to do it again. me: ¨So, we´ve never done this before. Do you think you could teach us?¨ Martin, ¨Of course. So you´re going to keep your legs out straight and move with the horse. Now, when I take off, give him a kick and hold on.¨ Well, the horse didn´t need a kick, but I was sure holding on. And, during our first attempt, mom´s food came out of the holster. So, what did we do? We did it again!
Thursday we attempted to buy gifts for everyone back home before all the stores closed for siesta and then took the bus back to Mendoza. I must say, the U.S. needs to take some notes from Argentina on public transportation because it is so easy to travel here and the buses are great. Traveling to and from Bariloche we saw 6 pretty new American movies, one of which is still in theatres down here. Friday we arrived in Mendoza at 820 in the morning and had the whole day to ¨aprovechar¨. So, we did the wine road, on bicycles. Nothing beats cycling back from a generous wine tasting of 15% alcohol Argentine wines. It just felt so much easier to bike after all those samples. Then, we discovered that with the cost of the bicycle rental (6 US dollars) you also receive a bottle of wine and two bowls of snacks!
After a week of the best vacation ever, my mom and grandma returned to the states. Though apparently my grandma now has a record, as a fruit smuggler. haha.
Pictures to come. I am currently having trouble getting them to load, but check back in a day or two!!