Starting to wrap up our trip to Argentina with a stop in Iguazu Falls. Amazing place now listed as a wonder of the world and UNESCO site. The Falls and Parana river is a dividing line with Brazil which we can see across the river from our hotel. Yesterday we did an all day adventure following the lower and upper circuit followed with a hike up to the Garantu de Diablo. There are over 270 falls and water was at about 70 percent level now. The river and falls are feed from rains across Brazil and not from the Ande mountains and travel into the Atlantic via a large estuary. Tropical area with black face capuchin monkeys, Coati, multiple butterflies and birds. The monkeys are real characters and you have to keep your window and doors closed when you leave room. The monkeys will enter your room and open minibar taking coke and breaking open the bottle, as well as, taking any food. They skip the small bottle of alcohol I guess for health reasons or they just didn’t like the feeling, silly monkeys.
We have had a busy three days traveling through the valley of Humahuaca in Jujut province. Route 9 goes from Buenos Arias to Bolivia winding up the Quebrada past small and large towns with people descended from Inca population. Beautiful landscape of amazing geology formed over 400 million years of beautiful white composed of limestone, purple of lead and calcium, yellow of iron hydroxides, reds of iron oxides and green of copper oxides. We drove up to over 14,000 feet and did a short hike to see Paleta de pintur or Painter’s Palette. Also hike to the gargunta de diablo or devil’s throat.
Pumarmarca is a lovely town of 6,000 which is a Argentinian and international travelers destination usually busier in the summer months. We have been blessed with great weather sunny and warm. This area receives very little rain and most of agriculture in from river and high mountain runoff. Landscape is similar to Arizona with arroyos, erosion and a cactus very much like Saguaro but arms start lower and are more numerous. Would love to see them blooming later in spring like our saguaros.
Today drove up Argentina route 7 heading towards Chile and Aconcagua the highest summit in the Western Hemisphere at over 6000 meters or about 23,000 feet. Still winter down here and the climbing season doesn’t start for a few more months. We were traveling with Lena are guide, who’s husband is a teacher and works in the summer as a climbing guide on Aconcagua. Route 7 is the main east west highway to Chile and there is tremendous amount of large truck traffic on this 2 lane highway. It was windy and cold at the ranger station at the park and a few tourist looking toward the towering summit above us which require 3 or more days to climb usually depending on the weather.
Driving back we stopped in the small town of Uspallata which seems to be entrance to the mountain area with a number of small hotels, restaurants and store outfitting hikers, some skiers and climbers. We had lunch at a popular restaurant for typical Padrilla meal with is a grilled meats cooked over a wood open air fire. We had carne Assada, pollo (chicken), sausage and ribs following the first courses of empanadas, salad and papa fritas. Excellent lunch but a lot more then we could or should eat. Tomorrow we are off to Salta de Linda another beautiful area of Argentina.
After spending 3 days in BA we are off to Mendoza wine range and enter ace to the Mountains. We had a fun 3 days touring this interesting capital of Argentina and home to about 14,000,000. We went to the beautiful Teatro Colon opera house built in early 20th century unfortunately first opera off year starts next week.
We staying in the Palmero Soho area with many millennials strollng the streets shopping and eating. Monday was a holiday celebrating the birth of San Martin the liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru. Also took in the Recalote area and visited grave of Eva Peron.
It has been a busy summer with visits to old world, new world and last frontier. Down in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for a mission with Flying Doctors of America. We did a long trip including an overnight flight from Miami to Santa Cruz via La Paz, Bolivia on a comfortable American Airlines 757. Skipped the dinner tried to get some sleep. After brief stop saw beautiful sunrise as flew east to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is the other Bolivia usually not seen in the brochures or travel guides to Bolivia with high Andes and indigenous people with small bowler hats. Santa Cruz is in the plains with agriculture and people of Spanish descent. Santa Cruz is also gateway to Sampiata and Amboro National Park, but more on that at the end of our trip when we will spend 2 days in Sampiata.
Yesterday we visited an art and photography exhibit at the culture center on the town square across from the Cathedral of Santa Cruz. There was some really nice photographs, lithographs and watercolors. The cathedral is an interested structure of red bricks a lot different then the cathedrals we visited earlier this summer in Rome, Florence and Sienna. Also stopped in to the local food court that was just opening. Each of the tiled stalls seemed to be offering similar lunches but I am sure the locals have their own favorites and specialties.
Also happened into a small demonstration in front of the cathedral. Seems like President Evo Morales was planning a road that would cut through a natural area and displace local populations, forest and various wild animals. Sound something like Trump administration without the nukes.
We took a nice hike to Lilly Pad Lake in the Gore range which have done often over our years in Colorado. It is a popular hike in the area through pine, spruce and aspen forest ending in two mountain lakes. A number of people told us they saw a few moose on the hike but unfortunately they must have moved on by the time we past. Moose seem to be returning to the area over the last few years and seen in the wet lands around Keystone area. There seems to be a lot of construction in Summit county hope they continue maintain the wetlands and open space.
Spent a relaxing day doing some errands and visiting Frisco Colorado. We had lunch at an old regular of ours the Log Cabin restaurant. They remodeled in May so we were surprised when we walked in but the menu remains the same and just as good.
My body is slowly adjusting to the elevation and good to be out hiking and biking in the mountain air. The forest fires they had over in the Breckenridge area seem to be out and no signs of out fires. Looks like they have had more snow and rain this year and forests are looking better. Beautiful wildflowers of yellow, purple, pink and white.