A Travellerspoint blog

Don't Bring Bananas into Chile

Viña del Mar, Chile

sunny 95 °F
View South of the Equator on ReneeL's travel map.

DSC00045.jpgI think i must have skipped the page in my bulky and sometimes helpful (this being one of those times) Lonely Planet guide where it said "Leave that bunch of bananas back at the hostel - food's a no-no." in reference to crossing the border into Argentina. Long story short, don't bring bananas into Chile either or any type of fruit or vegetable for that matter. The border crossing officials get very upset with you and there's a hefty fine that they can stick you with. Ops!!

After my attempt to smuggle bananas into Chile failed, I decided to I'll stick to sunbathing. Viña del Mar and the surrounding beaches were perfect for just that. Viña del Mar is about an hour or so outside of Santiago and, from what I heard, it's a very popular vacation spot among Chilenos and Argentineans.

Before I could even check into my room I got directions to a really nice beach in a neighboring city called Reñaca. I hopped on the local bus which is called a micros, and headed down to the beach!

Posted by ReneeL 18:10 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Buenos Aires

semi-overcast 80 °F
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6DSC00320.jpgThe 3 days I spent in Buenos Aires were pretty uneventful (I almost had a wild and crazy night with a drunk Parisian couple and an Australian girl looking for illegal substances but decided it was just too early in my trip to be getting myself into trouble). I´ll actually be meeting my brother in Buenos Aires in about a month so hopefully by then my spanish will be at least good enough to talk my way out of any unfavorable situations that should arise.

I´ll have to admit that the Argentineans in Buenos Aires or porteños, as they are called, are a very attractive bunch. They have really beautiful bronze skin, light brown hair, and in many occasions lighter eyes. I also noticed they wore really fashionable sunglasses.

I stayed in a hostel called Portal del Sur in the "microcentro" right by some of the main streets for shopping and dining- Ave. 9 de Julio (which is 14 lanes wide and the 2nd largest avenue in the world), Ave. de Mayo (pronounced mah-gee-yo), and Ave. Florida. The staff was really friendly and one of the guys working the night shift helped me figure out some great places to go in the central and southern parts of Argentina during my first month of travels.

After 2 days of wondering around the city I realized why so many people say Buenos Aires is the "Paris of Latin America”. With it’s restaurant and cafe lined streets and umbrella covered patios it does have a very European feel. I stopped in quite a few cafes for a cafe con leche because it seemed like that was the thing to do.

Posted by ReneeL 16:21 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Malbec, Malbec, Malbec

Argentina´s Wine Country

sunny 0 °F
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After the miserable 14 or so hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to Mendoza in semi-cama (which are seats that recline a little further than those on a plane and are totally not made for a 14 hour haul anywhere), I decided that from here on out the maximum I am willing to travel by bus is 7 maybe 8 hours.

Mendoza is Argentina´s largest wine-producing region and is located directly east of Buenos Aires. I arrived with just over 4 hours of sleep and swollen ankles, aka "kankles," (it literally took 3 days for the swelling to go down).

While in Mendoza I met a wonderful Irish/English couple, Jill and Patrick, who also endured the long bus ride from BA. The 3 of us agreed that the highlight of our stay in Mendoza was the "picada" that we had during the all day wine tasting tour in Maipu (roughly 20 minutes southeast of Mendoza). Hands down, if you ever go to Mendoza you have to take the all day wine tour. For 150 pesos or $43 the "picada" alone was worth it!! Picada is kind of like tapas but way better or at least this one was. DSC00029.jpg

After visiting 3 wineries we were taken to a 4th winery for lunch. We walked into this room where two long wooden tables covered from one end to the other with the most brilliant display of cheeses, meats, vegetables, rice, beans, etc, etc that I have ever seen awaited us! And that was just the first course! As soon as I´m able to upload some pictures you´ll see what I mean (I´ve been having some technical difficulties)!

Posted by ReneeL 21:43 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

One-way Ticket to Buenos Aires Please

sunny 79 °F
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As I´m staring at the blur of suitcases in front of me and surrounded by native spanish speakers in the Copa Airlines check-in line at LAX it finally hit me. What in the world am I thinking!?!?

It is painfully apparent that I am underdressed, despite the 1:12am departure time, and that my spanish is not as good as I though it was when the lady at the check-in counter says "bueno" and I almost go pale. I quickly try to remind myself that I have been dreaming of a trip like this for nearly a decade and that I really should get on that flight.

(Luggage weighed in at an impressive 17.5 lbs.)

Posted by ReneeL 22:01 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

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