Argentinian bathing

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With its 3,989 km of coasts to the West and the famous Andin lakes to the East ; Argentina is a type of aquatic country. However, during the 34 days travelling across the country, the dives and fresh swims were not the most memorable. For example, there was the swim on the Rada Tilly beach where we wanted to enjoy the sunset. But we were not the only ones who had this idea, we had to share this moment with many Argentinian tourists who came to enjoy the sand of this seaside town. In the waters of Rio Parana Guazu and Gualeyan, in spite of being fresh at the end of these hot days, every time there were a disruptive element disturbing our swimming time. At Zárate, we needed to trace a path through the branches dragged by the stream. At Galeguaychu, it was an obligation to stay in a restricted area for our swimming time. 

But during our crossing of Argentina from South to North, we enjoyed, even so, two lovely swimming spots. 

 Puerto Pirámides

After a day driving through the tracks on the Valdez Peninsula, like the rangers with our eagle eyes scrutinising the fauna and flora of this microcosm of 3,600 km2. We did a stop by the village of Puerto Pirámides. 

We popped by the firemen station. No…. we didn’t want to check if we would be swimming in safe conditions, but we wanted to fill up our water tanks. An anecdote far from the topic but which was a sympathetic moment that I needed to share with you. 

We arrived at the main beach by the end of the afternoon. It’s located in a cove, surrounded by white cliffs about a 100m high. At this late hour, the tide was low, leaving plenty of space for the tourists to put their towels on the dry sand or the slightly wet one. Once setup and dressed up with our swimsuit, we only had to jump in the clear water of the small cove. At low tide, the bottom of the sea didn’t go down quickly. After walking during a few tens of metres, we only got water at the waistline. But who cares? After a day driving in the dust, it was a great pleasure to bath in the Atlantic sea, floating on our back with our closed eyes and face in the last sun rays. After drinking a bit of water by the nose, we stranded up straight and started a few lengths of crawl. 

Back on the sand, we strated to climb the cliff, the rocks were going forward to the ocean. At the tip, some teenagers laid down their towels and did some risky dives.

It was now the time for us to leave the beach and the peninsula for going North in the direction of the capital of the country…

Tigré

It’s not that easy to find a space with some shadow on the asphalt of Buenos Aires city. When we arrived in Tigré, the temperature was 35°C. So it was with a lot of happiness that we accepted the proposition of Ricardo: cooling down in the artificial lake at the tip of his garden. 

Without a second thought, we changed our motorbike gears for our swimsuits and dived in the lukewarm water of the lagoon from the wooden pontoon. After a few lengths, Ricardo offered his canoe and kayak to explore the lagoon. Like three Indians in a nice wooden canoe, we went alongside the beautiful properties having often avant-garde architectures. 

During this sunny weekend, kids were playing on the pontoons and young Argentinian teenagers were chilling with an electro music. Quickly, Julien and Marcos were catching up as a good crew on the sailing dinghy of the family. In spite of Marcos studying a competitive exam to enter an engineer school, he indulged himself to a break to enjoy sailing with us. 

Sailing is a tradition in this Argentinian family, member of the local club from a few generations. 

In the middle of the lake, I changed of boat with Julien. So I enjoyed again the pleasure of sailing. The first minutes were with Marcos before he asked me to bring him back home. He went back to study, leaving me sailing on my own. It was time for me to understand the list of the boat and to enjoy the movements. at the beginning, I was not very confident but after a few manœuvres, the confidence came back. I was very proud to get closer to the canoe of Marie, Emilie and Julien! But here we go, by being too confident, the boat was going quicker and at the time of jibing… the boat turned over throwing me into the water. The sailing dinghy was floating on a side a few metres further. After a few lengths of crawl, I needed to go on the rudder of the boat to put it back straight before to go again on the water and to tack with more vigilance. 

At the end of the afternoon, the sun was reflecting in the waters of the lake, blinding the little skipper that I am. I   continued the discovery of the lake by crossing the banks. The pontoon of the family is located in a narrow arm of the lake, facing up the wind at this time. I needed to tack many times fighting against the wind to be able to brink back the sailing dinghy to the pontoon where we took it out from the water with Ricardo. 

This watersport session ended with many dives in the lake from the pontoon. It was time to dry ourselves to launch the preparations of the “parilla” for tonight. 

Argentinian encounters

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Juan Carlos from Bajo Caracoles

We arrived at the end of the afternoon in Bajo Caracoles, a little windy village. We started to look for a sheltered place to camp. There was a small sign indicating a campsite ; but nobody was there to give us some details. We looked for Juan Carlos, we found his contacts details on iOverlander, an app dedicated to the travellers. As mentioned on the app, we went to the hospice to get more information. The door was opened by someone telling us that Juan Carlos was absent. But after a few questions, he finally told us it was a joke. He was actually Juan Carlos and let us going through! He is a nurse and gives the first aids within the 200 kms around the Ruta 40, before and after the village. He offered us to stay for the night in the bedroom located between the consulting room and the kitchen. 

From the first minutes, we felt like home thanks to the sense of humour of Juan Carlos. He offered us a maté and showed us his French cooking book. After a few pages, we saw the onion soup recipe. We know it very well. We prepared it as a starter while he was making pasta with a good homemade sauce. 

Fabio, the policeman of the village, in charge of the security on the same area as Juan Carlos, came for the evening. He wanted to make a local cocktail with Fernet (an herbal liqueur) and a lot of coke. A recipe with a taste of medicine…

To describe you at its best the ambiance of the evening, try to imagine a small health building in a little village where there is a small staff room at the back with a table, four seats, a nice chair and a disco ball. This was the only light of the room, making it full of colours. On the top of this, in the background, there was a loud 80’s music playlist because “Michael Jackson needs to be listened loudly…”

Jorge – El Mago Hamelin in Gobernador

During an evening at the campsite of Gobernador Gregores, we met Jorge, a professional magician travelling and showing his talent in exchange of hospitality or a few litres of petrol. 

We were intrigued by his unusual Ford pickup equipped. We said a few words and continued the discussion with a beer and pesto pasta made on our camping stove. 

Jorge impressed us by a few magic tours during the evening. 

The following day when we said goodbye, he showed us a last magic tour and gave us the trick cards to do it on our own. 

Jean-Luc & Nelly

We met Nelly and Jean-Luc for the first time in front of the “Anonyma” supermarket in Gobernador Gregores. This couple of bikers from the countryside in the Parisian area were exploring South of America with their BMW GS that they love since a few years. When they will be back to France, they want to by an Ural sidecar. Therefore, they came to meet us when they saw our vehicles. After sharing a few travelling stories and our contact details, we went inside the supermarket. Following their advice, we bought our first “good” saucisson from the beginning of the travel (after fours months of travelling we became less picky about the criteria to select a good saucisson).

By chance, we met again the travellers from Adventura2. It was a hasard, in the long queue of the petrol station of Petrobras in El Calafate. A hasard which ended by an evening with a generous “parilla” on our little spot in the municipal campsite of the city. Jean-Luc and Nelly brought delicious saucisson, cheese and wine (so Frenchy!). 

After visiting the Perito Moreno and continuing the journey towards South, it was at the “end of the world” that we shared the next beers. In Ushuaia, we celebrated our arrival at the most southern point of our trip in a friendly old pub. The weather could be like in Ireland but the local beer from the tap was nothing comparable to the amber gold from the Connemara.

When it was time to go towards North to reach the Uruguayan capital (place where our both containers will be shipped), we adapted two different strategies. The fastest motorbike opted for the eastern road going from the Bariloche lake to the Iguazu waterfalls ; while with our sidecars we decided to take the most direct road going alongside the Atlantic coast. In Montevideo, we met a last time on the South-American land. But without a doubt, when we will be back to France, we will share with these explorers of the southern lands a few beers and a part of asphalt. 

The fishermen in San Antonio Oeste

Following the advice from a retired couple (met at a YPF petrol station); we pitched up the tents at the “Club Nautico Social y de Pesca” during our stay in San Antonio Oeste. The campsite was there since only a few months, but the club organises fishing contests since many years. 

At our arrival, we were welcomed by Luis, the boss. Following his instructions, we selected an area with shadow at the back of the main building. Once the camp settled, we asked him where is the best place for buying the best fresh fish in town for the barbecue of the evening. Scratching his head of old fisherman, marked by the salt and the sun during the long days on the sea; he offered us to share a “parilla” with the fishermen living annually at the campsite.

Franco and his brother made a paella with the victuals from the previous fishing. The ingredients were stewing in a massive pan above a firewood. We shared our first beers Quilmes of the evening around the fire. 

The following day, after a relaxing day, it was our turn to prepare a dinner to our hosts with French specialities. 

Initially, we wanted to go back on the road the following day but we worked longer than we thought on the sidecars. We finally shared an Argentinian “parilla” for this third evening at the nautical club. We didn’t stay too long as at dawn, the boat of Franco’s brother will leave the port while Franco and Nicolas need to be at the port early in the morning to repair the cables for fishing on their boat.

When we woke up, we shared the maté with all the team before they start their working day. Before to leave, we went quickly to the port to say goodbye to Franco and Nicolas. At the beginning, the safety agent of the port was not very happy to let tourists going inside this place under surveillance. Finally, he accompanied us on the quay to show us the different boats. Before to leave, we quickly waved to Franco who had a lot of work to do with the cables. 

Ricardo, Ivan & Marcos

This encounter happened in the small village of Hornopiren on the Carratera Australe. We were looking for the ticket office of the ferry, to reach the small village of Chaiten with Ricardo and his two sons, Ivan and Marcos. It was finally on this ferry that our friendship started. We crossed with a rainy weather and in spite of this, the landscapes were glorious. Ricardo left Buenos Aires with his two sons for a trip of several weeks in Patagonia with two BMW. 

We saw them again on the “glacier of the explorers” nearby the small Chilean village of Puerto Rio Tranquilo. As our paths split after this adventure, Ricardo offered us to pitch up the tents in his garden when we will visit Buenos Aires. 

A few days before our arrival in the Argentinian capital, we contacted him. He welcomed us with a lot of enthusiasm. Upon our arrival, Ricardo wanted to make everything perfectly. The idea of pitching up the tents has been replaced by staying in two nice rooms. We unpacked and Ricardo did everything for making a perfect stay. 

For the evening, everyone enjoyed a “parilla”. Ricardo revealed some secrets for a meat perfectly cooked. Firstly, there is a fire at one of the extremities of the barbecue before to spread the burning embers under the meat. Therefore, there are no risks for fighting against the flames. Secondly, to know if the temperature is good, you need to be able to leave your hand above the meat during 10 seconds (no more which means the fire is too strong, not less which means the fire is not powerful enough).

When we woke up the next day, we enjoyed delicious croissants for the breakfast. Then, we went in Ricardo’s car for visiting the city of Tigré and the Argentinian capital.

At the end of the afternoon, we took place in the kitchen to make a French dinner for all the family. On the menu, melon with cured ham, flambé chicken with a gratin dauphinois. For the dessert, crepes with apples and a homemade caramel sauce made with salted butter. 

For our third day with Ricardo, with his GS and our Urals, we visited the traditional village of San Antonio de Areca which highlights the culture of the “Gaucho” (local cow-boys) and the traditions of the Argentinian countryside. We ended this day by sharing a beer in the area of the Belén de Escobar.

After a last day of exploring the streets of the capital, we left Ricardo, his wife Astride and Marcos on the following day at the end of the morning. The boys followed us until the last interchange of the highway number 9. Our roads split again but, for sure, we will meet soon…. 

Argentinian experiences

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A night in a caravan in El Chalten

For our second night in El Chalten, an evening of thunderstorms with strong gusts was planned. So, we decided to privilege another kind of accommodation adapted to our budget rather than our tents. After looking the different rent options, we finally opted for a nice caravan, with a vintage style, parked between two houses and attached to the ground with buntings (which reassured us when we arrived).

Once installed in our humble abode, we were getting prepared to face up to the wind starting to blow. We went to the small supermarket of the village to find some snacks for this evening which promises to be unforgettable. Beers, saucisson and cheeses for a meal comparable to a celebrating day! The caravan will dance at the same rhythm as the gusts during the evening and a part of the night.

When we woke up, we organised our life in the 7m2 of the living room: maté for the breakfast, plus a shower after another one in the tiny bathroom before to go out and to go back on the road towards South.

Running early in the morning on the beach of Rada Tilly

The beach of Rada Tilly is a nice area long of about 4 kilometres. Surrounded by the ocean at the East and the seawall of this seaside city at the West. During this summery period, it was highly frequented until the sunset. The footballs, named here “Pelota”, were in every corner of the beach. Going between the foot of the young people who were playing spectacular “tennis-football” matches.

However at sunrise, the beach was only for the most courageous. The running session started from the gates of the campsite by a gentle stride to warm up. It was on beach, still humid from the last high tide while the sun was rising up, that the true running started. The running shoes were took off to enjoy the feeling of the sand between the toes. The first strides were heavy, the beach looked like a huge area of quicksand. But the feelings and the strides became lighter. At this early time of the day, two other people were running along the seawall. The itinerary being not very long, I crossed their path many times. The first time, being shy, everyone was looking their feet. The second time, our eyes met. The next times, it was like a game for not showing any signs of tiredness.

Before to go back to the campsite, it was time for a swim to recover. The water was fresh but the few lengths in this bay were enjoyable, like the breakfast waiting for me with my friends. The day could began in the best conditions!

A table football game on Las Grutas beach

During our stay in San Antonio Oeste, we spent an afternoon at the beach of “las piedras coloradas “ a few kilometers from our base camp. After a short walk, we shared a plate of seashells and octopus for the lunch at a beach hut.

With Julien, while waiting our dishes, we started a table football game, on the old table standing in front of the snack bar. The young waiter came closer hoping to be able to play with the winner. At the end, the game was more favorable for the Pouzauges football club than the Ploërmel football club after an honorable match (3-0).

During the following game between the “Céleste “ against “les Bleus”; each team scored several times, without being able to define with certitude a winner. It was firstly a friendly game but at the end, “les Bleus” scored the final goal for a free bottle of soda.

Once our dishes finished, and while waiting the rain to pass, we discussed about economic, politic and social situation of Argentina with the chef and the waiter. An interesting encounter as much for the match as for the discussion to end a nice afternoon by the sea.

Interviewed by the local radio in Coronel Pringles

After a morning on the road in the heat, we stopped for a lunch break in the shadow of the trees, in the town center of Coronel Pringles. Attracted by our vehicles, a woman came closer to us and started to ask questions about our travel. She introduced herself as journalist for a local radio/tv. Interested by our stories, she asked to a colleague to join us. At the first attempt, the colleague declined because he wanted to cover a crash with a truck on a road nearby. But it was without counting on her tenacity, she finally convinced him to come ASAP. “It’s not everyday that we have 4 French travellers with sidecars in our town… “. Once her colleague arrived, he promptly unloaded his equipment from the car and we were quickly starting talking in front of the camera, impressed by the situation. Each one of us had to improvise a speech in Spanish for replying to the questions from the journalist. A great experience! At the end of the afternoon, it was our finest time. The article was published on the website of “El diario de Pringles”; the beginning of the celebrity…

The carnival in Gualeguaychu

The carnival of Gualeguaychu is taking place at the beginning of each year, between January and March. It’s known as the “Carnaval del País”, as it’s the biggest of Argentina. It can welcome up to 40,000 people. It’s the second biggest carnival of South of America, the first one being the carnival of Rio. The “comparsas” (social centres or from the boroughs) of the city were parading each Saturday during the summery season with the frenzied music of the“batucadas” (troupes of percussionists). Each year, a theme is chosen by the comparsa. When they parade, there is first a couple of ambassadors showing off the flag with the club colours. They are in front of the singers whose the costumes can weight up to 80 kgs and contains 2,000 feathers ; and the floats whose the last one is the float of the “batucada”.

It was thanks to Ricardo and his family that we learned there were these festivities. So we slightly adapted our itinerary to arrive at the end of the week in this little city, at the Uruguayan border.

We rode in the streets of Gualeguaychu at the beginning of the afternoon, on the 22nd February. Nothing would show any signs that the city had big festivities. It was at the municipal campsite thank we received the first information about the carnival. We learned that to buy our tickets for tomorrow’s show, we needed to go to the “Pasarela del Corsodromo”, the place of the festivities which is a huge avenue surrounded by terraces.

Arriving by one of the extremities of this avenue, we went behind the terraces until we reached the old train station, in the middle of this artery, today being the “presidential” grandstand. On the right of the building, we sneaked in a small path to arrive at the center of the “Pasarela”. We were surrounded by the terraces. Our imagination was taking the control of our mind, we were dreaming about dancing in this alley with the percussions music.

At the other side of the old train station, the ticket office was bringing us back to the reality with a tough choice. Which seat we would like to have for the show? We followed the advice of the seller and opted for a seat in the heights, just after the presidential grandstand to enjoy the heart of the show at its best, at a sufficient heigh to enjoy the huge size of the floats. We went back to the campsite and needed to patient until the next day, with our mind full of dreams.

However, there was a violent thunderstorm over the city during the night, and when we woke up. Nothing huge, but it rained all along the day. The launch of the carnival was planned for 10pm. All along the day, we looked for information to know if the parade will take place or not. But it was only at 9pm, while rain and storm were back, that the organisation team of the festival announced the adjournment until the following day. Therefore we needed to stay an additional night in the small city of Gualeguaychu.

The day was again very humid, but nothing as cataclysmic as the previous days. After a busy day with a swim in the Rio and a barbecue, we sat down in the grandstands at 8pm. The start of the show was earlier. It was precisely at 9pm that we heard the first music notes of the drums, announcing the beginning of the parade of the first “Comparsa”. The atmosphere was very festive. The spectators were supporting each club, being louder when the colours they support were showing up. The costumes and the floats were beautiful, men and women were dancing and moving forward with the rhythm of the percussions whose the sounds look like a “samba”. The 3,000 singers surrounding the floats, paraded just under our eyes during almost three hours. It was with the stars in our eyes that we went back to the campsite, for an evening with the singers and drums who came to captivate our dreams. When we woke up, we went back on the road towards Uruguay, leaving Gualeguaychu behind us and its festivities which made the city very colourful in spite of the weather we had.

Argentinian night spots

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During our journey on the Argentinian roads, our budget didn’t allow us to get a roof and a bed every night. So, we mainly camped. But camping in the nature or on an official campsite was not always relaxing. 

We went through two days of storms and heavy rain in Gualeguaychu. With the heavy rain, the campsite turned quickly into a swimming pool. Each tourist dug a trench around their camp trying to evacuate the water. 

During our crossing of the country, we have been disappointed by many official campsites with hygiene and facilities which were not what we expected. In addition, the price was quite high according to the offer. This explains certainly that during the summery time, the campsites are empty. The Argentinian tourists cannot indulge themselves to this kind of holidays due to the economic crisis of the country. 

On the straight lines of the Ruta 5 and Ruta 40, the wild camping spots where not memorable. In the middle of the “pampa”, there were no sheltered area or amazing surroundings, plus we couldn’t turn sometimes through the nature as it was sometimes inaccessible due to the barbed wire on the roadside. Therefore, we didn’t have any other choices than camping at the YPF petrol stations.

On the El Condor beach, famous spot for the local fishermen, we set up the tents at the bottom of the dunes. The site was nice and perfectly equipped for us to camp. But this time, it was when we woke up that we had a surprise. By opening the tent, it was a “Hitchcock” scene under our eyes. Like “The Birds” movie, hundreds of parrots have replaced the crows on the electric wires nearby. They screamed loudly creating a deafening din for our breakfast. We didn’t have the attacks like in the movie but it was in a surprising atmosphere that we had our morning coffee. This spot was still a little piece of heaven for us. 

Thirty kilometres towards North of the seaside city of Puerto Madryn, we wanted to visit the Peninsula Valdez, famous natural park with many sea and land animals. 

A the entry of the peninsula, a few kilometres before a checkpoint symbolising the entry of the park, we turned on the left on a track going along the coast. After five kilometres, we arrived on a long and nice beach over many kilometres. The campsite was protected from the wind behind dunes. While we were enjoying a nice sunset over the Atlantic ocean and a chill Escudo beer marking the end of the day, we had the visit of a flock of cows. Not really disturbed by us, they went along the tents to go back on the beach.

When we woke up, we enjoyed a nice breakfast on the warm sand of the beach before exploring the peninsula. After a day on the tracks, by the Magellanic penguins, sea lions and armadillos, we went back to our wild camping spot for a sweet night…

On the Argentinian roads

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The Ruta 40 is the most famous road of the country. It crosses the country from North to South over 5000 kilometres from La Quiaca city, located at the Bolivian border, to the Cap Virgenes located at the entry of the Strait of Magellan. Ruta 40 is a symbol due to its localisation as it is the most Southern road of our world due to its Patagonian part ; plus due to the sites possible to reach from it including the glacier of Perito Moreno and the Fitz Eoy Mount in El Chalten. 

Its straight lines are crossing one of the most symbolic landscapes of the South of the country which are the plains of the Argentinian countryside. With huge fields of moors and prairies, the road was surprising at the beginning before to be quickly monotonous. Without a single tree or other vegetation, we needed to fight all along the day against the wind, which never stops to blow. 

The few cities and villages crossed on the road were usually separated of 100kms. Without seeing any house or any shop, we explored this desert.

On the Ruta 40, at the North of El Calafate, the petrol stations were rare and it was also tricky for those ones to ensure regular petrol deliveries. By crossing the border at the North of the road, we anticipated this difficulty and filled up our additional tanks on the Chilean side. Without any issue, we reached the petrol station of Gobernador Gregores City. However, we were in a tricky situation to reach El Chalten from “Gobernador”. We didn’t think about the increase of our consumption by riding with the wind coming from the front, so we run out of petrol just a few hundreds of metres from a YPF petrol station. The short distance between the petrol station and us helped us to solve this problem easily. But we didn’t except this petrol station will not have any petrol until the next delivery on the following day. We waited patiently and enjoyed the beautiful scenery offered by this nice city at the bottom of the mountains of the Argentinian Patagonia. 

The Ruta 40 and the glaciers of the South-West of the country has its twin sister, the Ruta 5, on the Atlantic Ocean side. The Ruta 5 crosses the country from Luja in the province of Buenos Aires to Santa Rosa in the province of La Pampa, alongside the sea. As its twin, the road is crossing the Argentinian countryside. In spite of going along the coast on the map, we barely saw the sea. Here again, we rode over thousands of kilometres on straight lines through a constant wind making the road harder. 

On the roadside of both roads, there were many flocks of guanacos, ostriches and sheeps. But to avoid they cross the national roads, there were barbed wires on the side of the asphalt. This austere equipment gave the feeling to be in jail. It also made the researches harder to find a wild camping spot at the end of the day. In these conditions, plus with the deserted plains not offering cosy spots protected from the wind, we mainly camped in the YPF petrol stations. After obtaining the approval from the manager, we used to pitch up the tents on a piece of grass at the back of the shop. We were able to enjoy all the facilities of the petrol station while being protected from the constant wind.

From the crossing of the Strait of Magellan, we rode to Buenos Aires under a blazing sun. In this deserted area, it was impossible to find some shadow. The lunch break was done leaning back against the sidecars, in the shadow of our top cases. Due to the 40°C on the road, we opted for waking up early to ride a maximum of kilometres before the heat. 

In spite of the Ruta 5 and Ruta 40 that we used, the South of America offers nice parts of asphalt with curves crossing this beautiful scenery. 

The first part which gave our smile back was the one from El Calafate to Perito Moreno. The time of departure determined our journey. By leaving early, we didn’t need to share the road with the buses of tourists. So we enjoyed this little road going alongside the Lago Argentino. There were a succession of curves with little walls made of stones on each side of the road, before to see the beautiful glacier under the morning sunshine. 

The 100 kilometres before our arrival in Ushuaia were also an enjoyable riding time in Argentina. In spite of reaching the most southern city of South of America, our itinerary crossed the mountains surrounding Ushuaia. The road was going up and offered a nice viewpoint over the Escondido lake. The clouds above the summits around were making the sky oppressive. The natural elements were accentuating this feeling of “end of the world”. 

A few hundreds of kilometers before Buenos Aires, we left the Ruta 5 to go exploring the Sierra Ventana. Famous for it’s production of wine and cheese, it’s also a nice rolling area to ride. Winding road between the hills and curves in the valley alongside the Rio Arroyo Sauce Grande. During the breaks, it was possible to have a swim in this rio ; or to chill in the shadow of the vines of a bodega ; or also to get tempted by discovering the local cheese farms perched on the top of the hills.  

Argentina offered us varied travelling conditions which allow us to explore the treasures of this vast country without any issue. 

 

From Buenos Aires to the Uruguayan border – 8 days – 25 metres above sea level

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We entered in the urban area by the Ruta 8 and the dual carriageway. The trafic was important but manageable. A cycling path was going along the highway where a cyclist team was training. 

We have been invited by Ricardo, met a few weeks ago on the Chilean Carratera Australe. He is living in a residence with his family, next to Tigre city, in the West part of Buenos Aires. 

Our visit of the main Argentinian city started early in the morning by walking in the port of Tigre. This city of the suburb of Buenos Aires is located in the middle of the delta created by the rio (river) Uruguay and Parana de Las Palmas. Overlooking the sea, Tigre welcomes many “chic” nautical clubs where Argentinian people are meeting to practice rowing or sailing. A few metres further from this privileged place, the “Puerto de los Frutos” is a new hip place where arrive the fruits from the Delta Island and where the old warehouses have been refurbished into new shops. 

We went in the area of San Isidro where we visited the cathedral of Saint Isidore le Laboureur, symbolic monument of the city with a neo-gothic style and the main tower with a 70-metre height. On the way, we passed by the “Monumental” stadium whose the name matches well due to its size. The football players of the River Plate team were training there. 

To go in the historic centre of Buenos Aires, we crossed the residential borough of Palermo. In the nice buildings with a colonial style, there are many ambassades. 

Arrived on the Presidente Figueroa Alcorta avenue, we passed by the French ambassade. We discovered the Cultural Centre Recoleta before to go through the Recoleta Cemetery. We reached the “Casa Rosada” by the Leandro N. Alem avenue where is located the Parliament of the country. 

We continued our visit in the recently reorganised area of the old docks of Puerto Madero. We went closer to one of the basins where “La Fregata” was mooted, an old boat with three masts from the Argentinian navy. 

Our visit of the city ended by visiting the famous area of La Boca. Located nearby the old naval port, it was the area of the migrants due to the history. Men and women from all the nationalities came to start a new life in this eldorado of this vast country. They lived together during many years. In spite of the tourists, the daily life is still simple and popular, marked by the blue and yellow colours of the football club Boca Junior. The historic walls made in sheet metal were progressively replaced by concrete walls. In spite of the social difficulties encountered by the country, the colours and the good mood were still felt in this area. 

During the second day focused on Buenos Aires, we spent the morning on the Delta Islands. At the Tigre port, we used a beautiful wooden boat, a “Lancha Collectiva” looking like a Venitian Vaporetto. On board, there were many families who were going for a picnic on one of the several beaches. They hold baskets and ice bags full of good food for their lunch. 

On the various pieces of lands, the life was organised without cars, replaced by boats. Therefore, policemen were making their usual controls by Zodiac. Our “lancha collectiva” needed also to change its trajectory when the siren of the ambulance boat rang.

We landed at the stop of the “Tres Bocas”. We snaked our way on a small path along the edges of the island offering beautiful wooden villas on stilts on one side ; pontoons and boats on the other side. We did a break to enjoy a chill drink in front of the floating petrol station of the YPF company. Many boats were coming for petrol, we enjoyed our beer watching this dynamic show.  

t was late in the afternoon when we left Tigre to grab a train and go towards Buenos Aires. On the way to the historic town centre, there were roadworks which made us to stop at Bunes, a few stops away from the train station of Retiro. We crossed the Palermo area to reach the Lago del Rosedal before to go back to Tigre and meet Ricardo and his family. 

Our stop in Buenos Aires will be also the opportunity to learn more about the “Gaucho” culture, the Argentinian cowboys. For this, we went by sidecars with Ricardo, to the village of San Antonio de Areco, tens of kilometres further from the capital. We visited the museum of “Gauchesco Ricardo Guiraldes” which included a large collection of objects about the daily life of men and women from the Argentinian countryside. We saw knives, stirrups, objects made from horse leather plaited. It was the opportunity for Julien to buy a Bolina, a traditional beret worn by the Gauchos which is similar to our French beret but made in a lighter material. 

During the evening, when we were back in the city, we stopped in the nice area of Belen de Escobar. There was a friendly ambiance with beers served with an electro music and softened lights from the fairy lights. 

We left Buenos Aires and took the direction of North-East. Once passed the city of Zaraté, we stopped in a nautical club where the rio Pasque Talavera flows  into the Rio Parana Guazu. A modest campsite with many mosquitos but offers nice surroundings with wooden passerelles, a beach, a good and popular atmosphere. 

The next day, we went back on the road to reach Gualeyguaychu. Since the 19th century, each Saturday during January and February, the city organises the most famous carnival of the country. 

We passed the weekend in this charming fluvial city with a samba music and celebrations. 

The following Monday, we crossed the Rio Uruguay to reach the country of the same name, last country of our adventure in South of America…


OUR FAVOURITE PLACES
Where to have a drink?

Café de la Vieja Soderia
Bolivar 196 – San Antonio de Areco, Argentina 

In this little village highlighting the culture of the Argentinian countryside, there is this old house made of stones at the corner of this street. There is a cosy atmosphere around an old zinc bar. The decoration is inspired by the old brands of soda and their advertising of the 70’s. On the shelves, there are the old returnable bottles which are refilled after being drunk. A perfect place for a snack in the middle of the afternoon or for a chill drink after visiting the local attractions.

Flora Cerveceria

In the city of Ingeniero Maschwitz in the suburb of Buenos Aires, this area with a friendly atmosphere has just been created. Around the Mendoza street, there are many new bars and restaurants. We opted for a small terrace by the “Cerveceria Flora” ; the beer is good and the atmosphere with the colourful fairy lights is warming.