The Argentinian adventure

The Argentinian adventure

Travel tales

The Argentinian adventure

My first ever foreign trip was an official one and it was to Antarctica. There are different routes to access the continent but the route our organiser chose was through Argentina which gave me a chance to explore this lively country!

Buenos Aires (BA), known as an architectural marvel, is the capital city of Argentina. So if you appreciate history, culture and architecture, this is the place for you.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid is one of the best known bookshops in BA. It’s a library which looks as grand as a royal palace and has an auditorium with a live band and a restaurant. The Teatro Colón or Columbus Theatre is the main opera house in BA. Acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world, its charm left us awestruck. We also visited the La Recoleta Cemetery which has the graves of eminent personalities.

La Boca, one of the neighbourhoods of BA, retains a strong European flavour, with many of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa. Among sports fans, Boca is known for being home to the football club — Boca Juniors. We had an enjoyable time at La Boca, a popular tourist destination, with its colourful houses and pedestrian street, the Caminito, where tango artistes present vibrant performances.

San Telmo is the oldest neighbourhood of BA. Cafes, tango parlours and antique shops line the cobblestone streets, filled with artistes and dancers. Our next stop was Salta, a city located in the Lerma Valley, in the northwest part of Argentina.

On the way to the bus station to Tilcara, we saw a cab car ride ‘Teleférico San Bernardo’ for the city view, which would take us to the small hilltop of the city. We got in and savoured the serene Salta city view.

Tilcara, in Jujuy province, has traces of human habitation dating back to more than 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest inhabited settlements of Argentina. The place is small and sweet and I would definitely recommend it. Pucara de Tilcara, a pre-Inca fortification located outside Tilcara, gives a good insight into the Inca dynasty.

Then it was time for Purmamarca or the desert city. Cerro de los Siete Colores (‘The Hill of Seven Colours’) is one of the hills bordering the Quebrada de Purmamarca. Its unique colour range left us stunned — it is the product of a complex geological history including marine sediments, lake and river movements elevated with the movement of the tectonic plates.

The Salinas Grandes are located in the northwestern part of Argentina at an average altitude of 3,450 metres above sea level. I thought that the Salinas Grandes is a desert, so it would be quite hot. Rather, it was just the opposite — pretty cold, yet glorious.

For our return, we took a fancy double-decker bus from Salta to BA. It takes more than 20 hours by road but with the various amenities and entertainment provided in the bus, we didn’t feel the distance at all. The locals in the country are helpful and the food is manageable.

I shopped for a few souvenirs and gifts but got back with many more priceless memories. It was a sweet end to our Argentinian adventure. Gracias Amigos!

Praveen Chature

(The author can be contacted at praveenchature@gmail.com)


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