Favorite Travel Quotes

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

 “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

 “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

A little reading time…

42) Absolute Friends – John le Carré
41) White Fang – Jack London
40) The Call of the Wild – Jack London
39) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
38) The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murder of Eight Student Nurses – Dennis L. Breo and William J. Martin
37) An Analysis of the Kinsey Reports on Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Female – edited by Donald Porter Geddes
36) The Help – Kathryn Stockett
35) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
34) Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism (3rd Ed., 2001) – Brian Loveman
33) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (#1 in series) – Gregory Maguire
32) Interpol: A History and Examination of 70 Years of Crime Solving – Fenton Bresler
31) The Mammoth Hunters (#3 in series) – Jean M. Auel
30) Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegner
29) Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
28) The Girl Who Played with Fire (#2 in series) – Stieg Larsson
27) Never Let Me Go: A Novel – Kasuo Ishiguro
26) Ordinary Thunderstorms – William Boyd
25) Bel Canto – Anne Patchett
24) Stonehenge: A Novel – Bernard Cornwell
23) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
22) We the Living – Ayn Rand
21) Beloved – Toni Morrison
20) The Safe House – Nicci French
19) The Interpretation of Murder – Jed Rubenfeld
18) The Meme Machine – Susan Blackmore
17) Karl Marx: A Life – Francis Wheen
16) Galápagos – Kurt Vonnegut
15) Envisioning Sustainability – Peter Berg
14) Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World – Alan Weisman
13) Solar – Ian McEwan
12) The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
11) Inka Kola: Traveller´s Tale of Peru – Matthew Parris
10) For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
9) Dreams of Rivers and Seas – Tim Parks
8) Some Came Running – James Jones
7) A Feast for Crows (#4 in series) – George R.R. Martin
6) The Valley of Horses (#2 in series) – Jean M. Auel
5) Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
4) Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (#1 in series) – Stieg Larsson
3) Flat, Hot, and Crowded – Thomas Friedman
2) Cadillac Desert – Marc Reisner
1) Lies my Teacher Told Me – James Loewen

Travel Log

The following are all the places I visited while traveling the past year in South America.

Alta Gracia
San Miguel de Tucumán
Puerto Iguazú
Carlos Pellegrini
Buenos Aires
El Tigre
San Antonio de Areco
Santa Fe
Buenos Aires

San Pedro de Atacama
La Serena
Pisco Elqui/Valle Elqui
Viña del Mar

La Paz
El Alto
La Cumbre
Amboró National Park
Santa Cruz
Uyuni (Salar de Uyuni)

Santa Maria
Santa Teresa
Aguas Calientes
San Juan de Chuccho
Sangalle (Oasis)

Rumi Wilco
Kichwa Community
Bahía de Caraquez
Planet Drum Foundation

Home sweet home.

In all my excitement to go home, I forgot to make a final post. That is right, I am officially back in the U.S., in the one and only Colby, Kansas. I will be living with my parents (though not in their basement…) for the next couple months until I move to Colorado. I will be making a big step toward adulthood and maturity by starting a real job and living in my own place. How exciting…

To wrap things up, my last week in Buenos Aires was fantastic. I finished visiting the different neighborhoods: San Telmo, La Boca, Recoletta, and Palermo. I went to two Tango dinner shows (AMAZING!). I also caught a few fairs in the neighborhoods. Though I must say the highlight finale was going to the Lujan Zoo, where I interacted with lions, tigers, elephants, snakes, an iguana, ferret, and more within their cages! I kissed a lion on the face and he simply blinked at me; I played tug-of-war with four month old tigers; and a full grown elephant ate from my hand! It was the best way I could have spent my last day in South America.

Leaving South America was the strangest sensation. To have been gone ten months and then suddenly leave. No grand send off, no goodbye party. Equally strange was arriving to Denver International Airport to the welcoming party of my one friend Caryl Abeyta. However, a low key reintroduction was just what the doctor ordered. I had just over a week to see friends in Colorado and relax with no pressure to do anything or be anywhere. I loved seeing my friends but now I am starting the slow life in Colby. My immediate plans are to do a little work to flush out the bank account before my move to CO.

That is it. My grand adventure has come to a close. Thank you to those who actually read along. 🙂

The End.

Chasing Huckleberry Finn

I left BSAS for a quick tour of towns along the various rivers that empty into the Delta. My adventure was spurred by the reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It was to be my own river tale.

In the end it did not turn out quite as planned, alas c’est la vie.

Natalie and I went to the little town of El Tigre, just north of BSAS in the Delta region. There are three attractions to El Tigre, boat trips through the meandering rivers, the fruit and handicraft market, and Parque de la Costa, the amusement park. Well, the amusement park is only open on weekends and thus the town does not exist on weekdays. The area population goes from a mere 3,000 on weekdays up to 20,000 on weekends. Quite the ever changing ebb and flow of people. Fortunately, in my opinion, we went on a Wednesday. The town was blissfully quiet. The market was practically deserted. Conditions were prime for walking along the port and riverside to see natural river banks and abandoned boats from times past. It was amazing.

The highlight of the day was the boat ride back to BSAS through the Paraná River Delta. We barely witnessed a fraction of the delta’s 21.000 sq km area. The Paraná River Delta splits into several arms before flowing into Río de la Plata, the world’s widest river at just over a mile. In the delta the “road system” is actually a sinuous string of river paths between an endless number of islands. Except the closest islands where all the weekend/summer homes and resorts are, there is no power and none have a water system. However, from source to ocean, this river system remains unpolluted. Why then, many ask, is it completely choked with sediment? Well that is due to the natural laws of geomorphology, allowing healthy amounts of water and sediment transported out to sea.

The next leg of the journey was to San Antonio de Areco. I was only going for the day but I somehow made no preparations for this tiny gaucho village. I had the name of one gaucho museum and off I went.

All I can say is that it sometimes pays off to trust in providence.

Also departing the bus at the pretty little pampas village were Anne Brown, from Florida, and Wayne, from New York. They are both into their seventies yet are Tango partners. They come to BSAS and a place in Mexico each year to dance Tango and see shows. Being wonderful and friendly people they invited me to join a visit to the Museo Las Lilas de Areco, home of a part of the collection of artwork by Florencio Molina Campos. Alive 1891 to 1959, he is considered an extraordinary 20th century painter from the pampas of Argentina, who safeguarded the gaucho culture and heritage. He has a very stylized method and keen attention to detail in his depictions of gaucho life. He started started with sketches then onto paintings in the early 20’s and quickly became widely acclaimed. I liked how the horses had these long Roman noses, huge hooves, and large bugged-out eyes. And the gauchos (essentially pampas cowboys) had these almost grotesque expressions.

Well I had a wonderful afternoon. Anne and Wayne were incredible and they just scooped me up. They even treated me to lunch in the museum cafe. My favorite part was listening to them tell me all about the history, styles of dance, musicians and more. Not to mention discussions of our lives, with them bestowing their tried and true wisdom onto me. Such a delight. The reason this day goes to providence is because the museum which initially brought my to San Antonio de Areco was closed for renovations. Had I not met them or they not swooped me under theirs wings, I would never have known about the art museum and would have had a long day to only sit by the river. Despite this being a river adventure, I was fortunate to enjoy both.

Always continuing on, my next destination was Rosario, situated along the Río Paraná waterfront. I was there two-ish days but could have stayed longer. It is a city but has a familiar feel. Everyone is friendly and, I am told, very motivated for physical activities. While there, I enjoyed a bike tour around the city and a kayak trip along the river.

What I liked the most was that Rosario is a major port city, but a decade ago the government brilliantly decided to move the port to the south of the city. Urbanization is in action converting the once blocked off riverfront into running paths, parks, and apartments. Of particular entertainment to myself is the fact that incoming businesses are keeping the giant cement silo foundations. There is a brightly painted silo that is now the art museum; there are a couple sets of silo hotels; there is a club perched at the top of some silos; and who know what else they will utilize them for.

Another thing that caught my attention was the concept stencil graffiti, predominantly of bicycles, around the city. We rode past a government building with a brightly painted old-style bike tethered to the top of a light pole. It is to represent the Disappeared from the military dictatorship. The story behind is that when the first man was taken, there was an abandoned bicycle left in the street where he was last seen. This symbolism has been used since to represent the abductions of people who were taken by the military government. Despite being under a different government regime in the present, the March of the Mothers, which took place on the Plaza de Mayo in BSAS still has a following today. Each Thursday afternoon the Madres rally at the Plaza and march for their lost sons, husbands, and brothers.

Next stop, Santa Fe for a day. No providence for this one, I simply lacked foresight. I went for a day on a Sunday. The almighty day when everything is closed. Silly me. One excitement was that each Sunday they block off the main boulevard and turn it into a pedestrian fair. Mostly things were targeted at children activities, but it was nice to mosey along the pretty street down to the river front. I also went to the mall/casino which is built onto the old shipping piers. My day ended with a book under a tree in a beautiful park where old train station buildings still stand. Lovely.

Last stop, Colón, Entre Ríos, not to be mistaken by the 10 other Colóns… In true Huck fashion, I again had no plan and just went. I knew the river is stunning at Colón (concurred after I visited), what I did not know is that it is a resort town and all accommodation (at least right now in the off season) is incredibly expensive (when compared to my hostel-level budget). I rashly decided to stay only a day (literally just over 24 hours, middle of the night to middle of the night). Thus I was unable to tour the river, but I did the next best thing and went on a terrestrial excursion. The perk was the guide, Charlie Adamson. Argentinian native Scottish man, boarding schools in England, Sean Connery voiced, and a nice combination of rambunctiousness and eccentricity. Fantastic. Plus, I got to learn all about the native agates and jasper. The day ended with a sunset view along the river while rock hunting. What more could a girl ask for? I sat in a cafe sipping hot chocolate and reading until my bus was due to leave. I must say I enjoy that supper time starts at 22:00. Cafes and restaurants are conveniently open late.

At this point I am sure you have noticed that my river adventure petered out after El Tigre and Rosario. However, I think it only fitting in correspondence to Huck’s gradual evolution in the book. His adventures begin only in the river, then little by little they are more and more on land, until finally land comes to them and they are only on land. The river representing his vagrant lifestyle away from rules and civilization and land representing all the responsibilities Huck is running away from. Well I suppose I have already run my course for vagabondism, so it is only fitting that I started off already tied closely to the land. Regardless I enjoyed myself. And in the end I headed back to BSAS to await my final days until all of this ends and I return to the US of A.

Buenos Aires Love

Of course, just in time to leave, I have fallen in love. Not with a person but with Buenos Aires. From my week there I have managed to fill a whole section of my journal, so I will try to stick to the highlights.

After my romantic get-a-way, I arrived in Buenos Aires (from here on BSAS) around 23:00 to find out it was Easter weekend and everything was booked full. Oops! It turned out in my benefit, however, because I found the Ritz Hotel. It is a corner building overlooking the intersection of the enormous, fourteen lane Avenida 9 de Julio (with a two lane road flanking either side to make a total of EIGHTEEN LANES!) and another major street Av. de Mayo. It is quite the busy place. It is actually the largest street in all of South America. An entire city block was taken out to make room for it all, and the roads to either side are the original streets. Despite this enormous size, it is always packed with busy vehicles. Well, the Ritz is a nice hotel but it also has dorms, so I stayed the whole week there. The lounge/lobby starts on the second floor, and my room, two floors above, had a balcony overlooking the chaos. It was nice. They had a decent breakfast and the lounge always had great music (usually chill or old jazz). Overlooking the whole scene is a skyscraper with the image of Eva Perón facing out both directions of Av 9 de Julio.
First, I toured around the Central District, as that is where I was staying. I headed down Av. de Mayo right to the Plaza de Mayo, the political center of Argentina where people come to express their opinions. It is the city´s first plaza, built 1580, and is symbolic of Argentina´s history. It was named for the 1810 May Revolution for the independence from Spain. It has survived the military bombings in 1955, witnessed the march of the Madres (Mothers) as they protested the disappearance of their sons, and is the site where spirited crowds cheered Evita on the balcony of Casa Rosada. The Casa Rosada is the presidential offices built in 1862. The name meaning Pink House, is a Renaissance-style palace and got it color from the use of ox blood to stain it red. This building is still used as the presidential offices, yet they give free tours every weekend and holiday. I even had the opportunity to enter the actual Presidential Office, where during the week only people with authorization and use of a fingerprint scanning machine can enter. Argentina´s current incumbent is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Yes, a woman. I also went onto the lower balcony to reenact Eva Perón pontificating to the crowd below. I felt a desire to break out in, “Don´t Cry For Me Argentina.” Madonna does have a striking resemblance to this national icon. Also free and just behind the Casa Rosada is the Museo del Bicentenario, which uses a variety of high-tech multi-media and technology to present the history of the city. It is located in the remaining foundations of the original port barricade. I thought this was interesting because the coastline has been extended a good half mile further out to sea, leaving the old port abandoned. Hence, my next visit to Puerto Madero, the century-long abandoned port which has been turned into apartments, a promenade, and elegant restaurants. This is notable because I visited the Buque Museo Fragata A.R.A. “Presidente Sarmiento,” an old training vessels for the Argentine navy. They removed all the missiles and other dangerous equipment and fixed up a few exhibits with information and photographs or maps, but essentially left the boat alone and allow visitors to freely explore all the way to the engine and furnace rooms. It was something right up my father´s alley with machinery and history. 🙂
My next adventure was to the Barrios of La Boca and San Telmo. I went to La Boca to see the Calle Caminito. It is lined with murals, statues, and colorfully-painted corrugated metal houses. Home to many artists´ studios, many of those artists dot the pedestrian walkway exhibiting their work. And why is all this important? Because this is the place where Tango dancers come to dance freely in the streets, allowing the general tourist to capture an elegant dance move with the picturesque background. It also contains many of the Tango night shows and typical parillada restaurants. Everything is almost too perfect in this little area. Tango dancers are attired in fantastic costumes and occasionally holding extravagant poses; also letting you get a picture in a pose for a small fee… While wandering towards San Telmo is stumbled upon La Bombonera (the chocolate box), home football stadium of the Boca Juniors. Caminitio is quite fantastic, but I must say that this luster is a bit masked by the utter horror of the neighborhood. Run down streets, abandoned cars, long term homeless corners, and people staring you down. When I passed the stadium a guy actually threw some kind of liquid at me from a truck window. I left as fast as my little legs could carry me and recommend everyone else take the bus. Ha. On the other hand, San Telmo was completely fantastic. It has a particular charm with cobble stoned streets, colorful cafes, numerous antique shops, and dancers in the Plaza Dorrego along Defensa Street while people dine outside on patio fronts. Very lovely. I went straight to Plaza Dorrego to catch some Tango action only to discover that the Feria San Telmo, the weekly craft market when dancers and Tango orchestras are aplenty, is only on Sundays. No matter, I will return.
That evening I met Natalie, 19, from Washington, and Dean, 24, from England, at my hostel. All fellow travelers and all traveling solo, we decided to check out the BSAS nightlife. We headed back to San Telmo and found a bar with a live band playing Reggae and Jazz. They were fantastic. Guitar, drums, keyboard, and trumpet/vocalist. Wow. Despite singing some of my favorite oldies, as well as some Spanish tunes, they did a Beatles song just for our little group. The best part, however, was that this all took place in an Egyptian-themed bar. Ha! Very seriously glammed-up with pharaohs, pyramids, palm trees, and desert scenes. It was like a built-up scene too, not just some fancy wallpaper. I loved it. Especially with the highly contrasting music that would have been more fitting of a 60´s back saloon. Well is was a fantastic evening of great music and good company. I was particularly keen of the keyboardist, he was really talented and could play lightening fast.
The following day was checking out BSAS´s “lungs.” I went to the Botanical Garden, BSAS Zoo, walked by the Japanese Garden, and then all along the parks in Barrio Recoleta. The Botanical Garden was my favorite, and I renamed it Cat Garden because they were everywhere slinking through the plants or basking in a sunny patch. They were really friendly and well-behaved cats too. I even saw a woman come in with cat food and water dishes. The garden is free to the public, has numerous benches all over, and contains plant varieties from all over the world. The only down fall was that the butterfly garden is not yet finished and I could not enter any of the green houses. No matter. I sat and read my book awhile. The BSAS Zoo was a little depressing. I only went on recommendation from Dean, only to learn later that he was talking about a different zoo…which I hope to visit on my return to BSAS. It was a quiet day, so at least I did not have to tear my way through gangs of sticky children. There was a large group of Jewish families there (BSAS has a very large population of traditional Jewish people from the 1920´s) who I particularly noted upon due to their overwhelming harassment of some animals. Specifically when they goaded the Old World Hamadryas baboons. It was very rude and they are lucky those baboons were securely caged or chaos would have ensued. There was a great variety of exotic animals, and Aaron would have hated how many large and numerous varieties of snakes were in the reptile house, but nothing seemed overly happy. My last stop was to have a long knowing look with an elephant. They are such majestic creatures. She had wrinkled skin and wise, knowing eyes. I wanted to climb into her cage and curl up in her tusk.
Last stop of the day was in Recoleta at the Centro Cultural. Recoleta is this fantastic Parisian-styled neighborhood. In front of the C.C. Recoleta in Plaza Francía, I ran across this anamorphosis conceptual display that was very interesting. Anamorphosis is where the image can only be viewed from a specific point of view. Step away from that point of view and the image does not make sense. The artist then advanced this method by creating two points of view within the same structure. Which I must admit would have been an incredible challenge to undertake, and I think he is one of the first people to do it in this manner. The front of the structure, showing the first point of view, is U.S. President Obama´s face with the inscription “HOPE” beneath. Then walking 90 degrees to the right reveals the second point of view. This side shows a manifestation of Wall Street with the inscription “HOPELESSNESS.” It is the two sides to U.S. government. In a single structure, his goal was to show two sides of a story. I really liked it.

Dribble on my mind

Alright, I realize that I tend to be a little dry with these entries and lacking in personality, but I have decided to throw caution to the wind and provide some blasphemous jabber. As many of you may know, I officially return to the U.S. of A. in 14 days! Therefore I have had a few thoughts on my mind. The main one, though a bit pre-mature, has been to figure out what I will do with myself [in the long term].

In reflection of the past year (I cannot believe it has been almost a year!), this trip has been the best thing for me. I was a bit burned out after university and needed some reflection and “me” time. I have been claiming for some time now that I will travel the whole world over, but such an idea could easily have been naive ambitions of a Kansas country girl, dissipating once actually experienced or constantly set aside as an unfulfilled dream. It could be let unfulfilled yet, by unforeseen circumstances, but I have come to the conclusion that I am at my best when experiencing new things, meeting new people, exploring different parts of the world, and obtaining new knowledge about whatever I happen to stumble upon. Which sort of seems like I am at my best while traveling and learning. On one hand I want to jump right back into schooling to continue letting knowledgeable professors enlighten my ignorance, but I also want the freedom to travel at will and [the real issue being] be able to afford whatever activity my every whim produces. The problem is that I do not actually foresee such an arrangement as feasible without some type of financial stability.

Where will that money come from? For the immediate future, I am considering a year of work in Colorado for a mining company while applying to graduate schools. The work year will not only provide valuable experience on my resume but also flush out my depleted bank account. The problem is that this is all too fantastic a scenario.

Now that I am so set on accomplishing my global tour, I have to consider the future, long term. I am currently trending toward a career in academia, teaching at the university level. Ambitious definitely, but so is everything I set my mind to (hence wanting to travel to all the 200-some countries). Such a long time and a PhD away, why dwell on it now? Well, I have a friend in graduate school, also pursuing a career in academia, who is tending a position on a faculty selection committee. She has expressed the reality that it is a competitive career and that once your PhD has been completed, there should be no unaccounted time lapses from post-docs or work. Thus no breaks for travel rendezvous outside the measly vacation time allowances. Do I think I will be using my vacation for these excursions? No, I suspect I would be saving up vacation for research sabbaticals and actual vacation. I will not deny the evident possibilities for travel with my chosen profession of geology, but I have not encountered any career paths that include extended travel opportunities nor travel encompassing the entire globe. Therefore, my only solution is to get in as much travel, at my preferred pace of travel, before I am in a solid career and settled down.

This long, tiresome speech all comes down to the conclusion of what my plans for the next few years will incorporate. My inference is that I must come up with more [extensive] travel time before completion of my doctorate (a goal of which I am stubbornly set on regardless if I actually enter a career in academia). To me, the sensible scenarios avoid a major break between Masters´ and Doctoral degrees (of which I would like to complete separately for the benefit of having a break in between and creating experience and connections across several departments at different universities). Thus, straying from the perfect, previously mentioned scenario, I could work two years, saving money back the whole time, and decide during the second year if I should apply to schools or take another year for travel. Now I realize that this plan removes me from the academic mind set for four whole years, but two of those years would be gaining work experience and the other two would be giving me peace of mind and promoting my love of geology by allowing my interaction with landscapes from around the world. Would not two years of work benefit my resume, keep my brain engaged, and provide the means for these travel fantasies? Likewise, I would get to have a significant time allotment to knock of some more of the world before finishing my education. Win-win situation all around?

The hangers of course are what provide the big IF´s. Will I even get the Colorado position, because the immediate financial stability that could provide affects the whole equation. Second I could decide that mining or my immediate immersion into a working environment are not my cup of tea. Or the opposite, my pursuit of higher education degrees may change if I prefer working. I might actually preferring the schooling environment over securing travel time, but this past year has tainted my ability to judge objectively. I am unsure if I could handle another year of intellectual idleness. I may meet someone and want to marry [ha]. There are too many variables independently fluctuating.

This is the end of my rant. I am unsure how to go about this business and feel the need to appeal to an unbiased audience for insight and guidance. I do not want to avoid returning to school, but I genuinely want to take advantage of my youth and the availability of such opportunities. I am nervous about going back to school and not being able to handle everything. Prolonging my absence from academics would do nothing but further that ineptitude and inability. However, my desire to travel is constantly on mind and will not be suppressed. I truly begin planning future travels before I have even begun already planned ones.

There you have it. A current, streaming dialogue that runs through my mind a few times a day.

My romantic get-away

Let the jealousy ensue.

When discussing Corrientes to my dear friend Amanda Gilbert, who probably never reads this, she said it sounded romantic. That has turned out to be the best way to describe it. In fact, the entire last ten days has been one amazing, romantic get-away. I went from Corrientes to Puerto Iguazú to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini. It was like a honey moon, just me and Earth´s stunning beauty. Walking along the peaceful river, lush atmosphere, and incredibly easy-going pace of life in Corrientes. Then Iguazú Falls is still like an enigma that my brain does not know how to comprehend. The shear power and raw beauty of so much water, with complete disregard for how it has and will shape the landscape around it. Finally, the Esteros del Iberá, probably the single-handed most stunning wetland reserve to see bird and animal wildlife. And I supposedly saw it at a bad time when not as many animals are around. Incredible. It should be easy to understand that I have quite quickly run out of space on my camera´s memory card.
Just what I said, a quiet, river front city. My hostel, Golondrina, was literally one block away from Río Paraná. I spent the afternoon walking along the picturesque river to Playa Negra. The weather was splendid, everything was serene, and the drowsy lull of the city put me under a trance. I ran into very few people, and the ones I did see were friendly and full of smiles. I wandered through Parque Camba Cuá on my way back, stopping by the market for some fresh vegetables.
The following day I wandered down the opposite direction of the river, which is lined with a pretty little park area. I saw the artsy block decorated in historical murals, chronicling the city´s history since colonial times. Many places also honor the substantial Italian community. I stumbled upon this music store, La Casa de Chamamé, on the corner of Pellegrini street. The man inside was incredibly patient and helped me to pick out three Tango music CD´s. He literally hand picked CD´s based on my preferences and let me listen to the actual CD´s to see if I liked the music. I should have looked for some Salsa and Folklórica while I was there.
In all Corrientes was a much needed break to get away from people, organize my thoughts, and put my journal and blog together. Golondrina Hostel was very clean and peaceful and everyone pretty much left me alone. Granted I only stayed one night, but it was fantastic.
Puerto Iguazú
The resting stop on the Argentinian side for the world famous Iguazú Falls. Which happens to be a World Wonder but not of the Seven [Top] Wonders of the World. The town is not much. I went to Hito Tres Fronteras, the confluence of Ríos Iguazú and Paraná marking the natural border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Each country has a symbolic obelisk which can all be viewed from any of the others. Otherwise, I really did not bother with the over-priced, tourist inundated place.
By comparison, I was blown away by Parque Nacional Iguazú, A.K.A. Iguazú Falls. The falls are where the Río Iguazú broadens into 1.8 km then plunges 100 m off a basalt plateau in a series of 274 separate cataracts. I made sure to take the very first bus, earning the first entry ticket of the day, to head straight for the Garganta del Diable (Devil´s Throat). Yes, once again something referring to the devil´s throat… Anyways, it is the most spectacular waterfalls. Truly indescribable. I was among the first few individuals to race across the catwalk, to experience the overwhelming sight and sounds before the view became congested with people. The largest amount of water pours over here and I am still struggling to comprehend the shear magnitude and intense power of it all. I remember Niagara Falls as being spectacular, but even with my exaggeration on life my the eight-year-old perspective, Iguazú was greater. I cannot even come up with an adequate comparison of how grand it was.
I also walked the Upper and Lower Circuits to see the rest of the falls, which are obviously of smaller proportions. Then I took a boat to San Martín Island for the great views looking back on the long run of falls from Salta Excondido to Salto Bossetti. Wow! I end the day walking to the measly Salto Arrechea by the Macuco Trail through the forest. The purpose was for the walk through the jungle. The park boasts over 2000 species of bird, mammal, and plant life. I had the grand opportunity to witness playful Capuchino monkeys, who knew the perfect distractions for passersby to snatch food out of bags; adorable coati as they came in groups sniffing out insects with their incredibly expressive noses; coypu rodents; numerous lizard sightings, as well as several Black Tegus; an uncountable amount of birds (especially the very friendly Plush Crested Jays); and the sighting of the day, a PUMA! That is right, I was stealth enough (and they are numerous enough) that I was able to come upon a puma. Though a rude and noisy boy came up with ruined my slow and calculated approach. I did manage some photo documentary, however.
The following day I went to Güirá Oga, a bird recuperation center, with a woman named Anj. The center was not astounding. I did get to see the more exotic predator birds that are less common to sight. Plus, the center actually focuses on rehabilitation and reintroduction back into the natural habitats. Much approved of by me. I met this fantastic English couple, now residents of Australia, at my hostel. They are literally a glimpse of who I want to be in my late thirties. Happy, intelligent individuals, who are incredibly well traveled, nature loving, outdoor enthusiasts. Justin, an independent environmental scientist has lived more places around the world than I have merely visited. Anj, a water engineer, proves travel is still possible while holding down a professional career. They have been in Southern Chile and Argentina backpacking through Patagonia and are heading north in essentially the opposite direction that I came from. They provided me the company of fellow outdoor enthusiasts and I gave them helpful tips for their future locations. The best part was that they were also heading to the Esteros del Iberá after Iguazú.
Colonia Carlos Pellegrini and the Esteros del Iberá
We made the bus ride adventure to C. Carlos Pellegrini together. I say adventure because we left on a night bus to Corrientes, then caught a bus 40 minute later to Mercedes, where we caught the first, and only, bus to C. Carlos Pellegrini. The lack of a single bus route was a cake walk compared to the complete lack of information out there on how to get to C. Carlos Pellegrini without hiring a private driver. We made it is one piece and in less than 24 hours. Job well done. In addition to having no information on how to get there, we also had this preconceived notion that we were going completely off grid. Thus we made sure to stock up on food stuffs before leaving Puerto Iguazú. Much to our surprise, Mercedes turned out to be quite the bustling little place with at least three full-sized grocery stores. Not exactly the hole in the road we were led to believe.None-the-less we simply shopped again to top off our food supply. Which turned out to be the right choice. Despite having over 100 homes containing the more than 900 permanent inhabitants, Carlos Pellegrini does not really have a store besides the random dispenser, all with highly overpriced products. Luckily I had over-prepared and only had one purchase of two quite expensive tomatoes to round out my onion and garlic dish.
Carlos Pellegrini is a relaxed and slow-moving little place; the perfect level of tranquility to experience the nature of Argentina´s impressive wetlands. Truly all I can is Wow! Any nature lover would be crazy not to want to go. I now know why they keep it such a secret. In the middle of the humid wetlands, the Esteros del Iberá have cultivated one of the most important and unique ecosystems in the world. It is literally the world´s second largest wetlands. Carlos Pellegrini is the town to stay and it has its own special flavor with all dirt roads that are picturesquely lined with street lamps; horses, cows, sheep, chicken, and dogs freely roaming at their leisure; and the friendly shops and restaurants. Despite its quaintness, most of the accommodation more closely resembles luxury lodges. And the finely sculpted campground has a very Argentina feel with the 16 fully functioning asados (fire grills) complete with awnings and wooden picnic tables. The best lake views are also found from the campground´s little dock. Absolutely stunning. There is practically no light pollution, nothing taller than a tree, and endless sky. Across my boat tour, nighttime walking tour, and my own wandering along the walking trails, I saw an incredible amount of the bird and animal wildlife. To overwhelm you I will include the list. 🙂
Two species of cayman (Southern Spectacled Cayman and Broad Nosed Cayman), an alligator type; three species of deer (Red Rocket, Gray Rocket, and the orange-colored Marsh Deer); carpinchos, or capybaras, the world´s largest rodent; Plain Vizcachas, rodents which look like robber rabbits with black stripes across their faces; Coypu, Nutria rodents; two species of fox (red-furred Crab Eating Fox and Grey Fox); Geoffrey´s Cat, a black-spotted, yellow-furred, wild cat about the size of a house cat; armadillos; a large black tarantula which joined us for supper one evening; bats; dragonflies; and butterflies. Not to mention the over 360 species of bird, of which I remember seeing: colorful Kingfishers, delicate hummingbirds, parrots, Snail Kites, Black Vultures, Great Egret, the magnificent Rufescent Tiger-Heron, White-necked Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Neotropic Cormorants, Black-bellied Tree Ducks, Red-crested Cardinals, Scarlet-headed blackbird (Federals; very similar looking to the red-crested cardinals), Yellow-billed Cardinals, the enormous Southern Screamers (and chicks), Great Black Hawk, Giant Woodrail, Purple Gallinule, Wattled Jacana, White-headed Marsh Tyrants, Cattle Tyrants, Great Kiskadee, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Spot-winged Pigeon, Smooth-billed Ani, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Red-eyed Vireo, Saffron Finch, very playful Plush-crested Jay, swallows, and woodpeckers. Among numerous others I could not differentiate myself or remember long enough to ask Anj (a dedicated bird enthusiast). Among the heaps of wildlife I did see, there are plenty I missed: the plethora of piranha in the lake, a variety of venomous and nonvenomous snakes (including the boa and other constrictors), howler monkeys (which I could have seen if I went at an appropriate time for), the rare Maned Wolf, giant otters, and the Giant Anteater.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I stayed at the Casa de la Luna while my companions were at the campsite. I enjoyed the luxury of a kitchen, full-sized bed, private bath, and air conditioning! The most astounding part, however, was that I was told this is the worst time to see a wildlife because it has been unusually hot and dry. I literally could have touched the Crab Eating Fox, Jeoffrey´s Cat, or any Capybara. And I feel like I have seen more wildlife with the least produced effort than anywhere I have every been before. It was sufficient for me.
That is it. My romantic get-away.

Geology and other sites

Let´s begin with a little geology. (Definitions provided by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary with Encyclopedia Britannica Company).

Valley: An elongate depression of Earth´s surface usually between ranges of hills or mountains;
An area drained by a river and its tributaries.
Canyon: A deep narrow valley with steep sides and often with a stream flowing through it.
Gorge: A narrow passage through land;
A narrow steep-walled canyon or part of a canyon.
Ravine: A small narrow steep-sided valley that is larger than a gully and smaller than a canyon and that is usually worn by running water.
Gulch: A deep or precipitous cleft: ravine.
Gully: A trench which was originally worn in the earth by running water and through which water often runs after rains;
A small valley or gulch.

Alright, back to my travels. I went on a whorl-wind tour from Tucumán to Cafayate to Salta to Purmamarca to Tilcara to Iruya and back to Salta. All accomplished in just over a week. Phew! I barely found enough time among the daily bus rides, constantly unpacking and packing, check-ins and check-outs, and trying to catch some shut eye while not out and exploring.

After leaving Córdoba, I arrived in Tucumán. There were two Germans in my Córdoba hostel who left on a similar bus and we all ended up at the Backpackers´ Tucumán Hostel together. They however went off paragliding, so I toured the city solo. I mostly just walked my grid pattern across the city center. I said the main Plaza Independencia. Then I stopped at the Casa Histórica de la Independencia, where 9 July 1816, the unitarist lawyers and clerics declared Argentina´s independence from Spain. It now also holds valuable objects from the colonial period, from the Independencia wars, and from the 19th century, as well as a library and photographic and journalist archives. I walked down to the Plaza Yrigoyen to see the Palacio de Tribunales, and then through the Parque 9 de Julio, stopping at the Museo de la Industria Azucarero: Casa Obispo Colombres, an 18th century museum dedicated to sugar industry.

The following day I left Tucumán for Cafayate, a small town in the Calchaqui Valley. I went on the day bus to catch the scenic landscape. The two Germans got off at an earlier town while I continued on with a French girl, Virginia, who also happened to be from my hostel. We went to the Hostel Ruta 40 and reserved bikes for the following day. The nest morning we headed 50 km up Route 68 towards Salta to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil´s Throat). The plan was to ride back to Cafayate through the Quebradas (ravines) de las Conchas and Cafayate. Virginia´s bike, however, was broken and thus she immediately hitch-hiked back to town while I headed out alone. I actually had a great time. It has been awhile since I have been completely isolated from people. I, of course, spent much of that un-invaded time belting out songs while riding down the highway. I also stopped at all the recommended vistas: Garganta del Diablo (Devil´s Throat), Anfiteatro (Amphitheatre), Tres Cruces (Three Crosses), El Sapo (The Frog), Casa de Loros (House of Parrots), Las Ventanas (The Windows), and Los Castillos (The Castles), as well as anything else I thought notable. Specifically, there were two points in the road where the river is actively cutting into the cliff face and thus undermining the road. If only I had gotten to go a few kilometers further up the road from Garganta del Diablo, I would have seen where a practically unused road runs straight into the ravine with it starting again 500 m later where the ravine edge has not been further eroded. I could not get a good picture from the bus but that was awesome. The 50 km were mostly downhill or level, with very few uphill sections. It had some great panoramic views into the valley. Closer to Cafayate, the ride ends with going through the vineyards.

I mentioned the Malbec dominated region near Mendoza. Well Cafayate and the Calchaqui Valley it resides in is the second dominant wine producing region in Argentina. Specifically, they produce Torrontes white wine which is unique to Argentina as no where else in the world has the right conditions to produce Torrontes grapes. After my morning bike ride, I went to the Museo de la Vid y el Vino. This was a fantastic museum explaining the whole process of growing with grape type to soil and climate conditions; the production through reception, squeezing, pumping, pressing, fermentation, decanting, and breeding; and ending with the differences in wine production techniques for determining unique colorings, textures, and flavors. Though I feel as if I have learned quite a bit about wine, I simply want to learn more now. One thing I know for certain, chemistry is tantalizing: C6H12O6 –> 2C2H5OH + 2CO2 (fermentation equation).

I also made my way to Helados Miranda, the creator of wine ice cream. They literally have ice cream made out of Malbec and Torrontes wines. I tried both. Very delectable, and the perfect treat on a sunny afternoon. The genial and entertaining man who served my double cone assured me that too much wine ice cream would result in intoxication.

The next morning I left for Salta. Again taking Route 68, but getting to see the last 200 km of the ravine. Stunning scenery all over the northwest Argentina. I met back up with Virginia and we decided to self tour a few small villages to the north. Always taking day buses, in part because buses are infrequent but also because you WANT to see the views, we quickly working our way through Purmamarca, Tilcara, and Iruya.
We left early in the morning for Purmamarca, of pre-Hispanic origins with a tiny urban layout centered around the St. Rosa Church, where a 700 year old Algarrobo Negro tree is located. The village lies against the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of the Seven Colors). Sedimentary rocks illustrating various geological eras. Colors: light orange-red clay, sand and mud; white-lime rock;brown, purple and violet-lead and calcium; red-clay and iron; green-copper oxide; brown-bed rock and manganese; and yellow-sulfur. We walked the 3 km trail, Paseo de los Colorados, around the hill to see the naturally sculpted red cliffs and breath taking views.

Then we caught a bus to Tilcara, our area base camp, staying there two nights. Tilcara is a quaint, little Andean village. It is simple and tranquil. Though, I should have brought two books as I started and finished one before getting back to my luggage stored in Salta. The next morning, Virginia and I went on a pleasant 6 km walk to Garganta de Diablo (yes, everything seems to have this name!), a geographic feature from tectonic plate movement origins. It was pretty clear in the ravine that some serious pressure occurred at one time with sporadic folding and noticeable scraping marks. Water from the Huasamaya River has come through and created the gorge, exposing what happens to be some of the earliest evidence of trilobites. I obviously looked around to see if I could find anything, but the rock is likely in the deepest parts of the incision, safely barred off from crazy people like me climbing down to my death. We also walked up the Quebrada de Alfarcito, criss-crossing the river numerous times, up to a natural waterfall.

On the way back to town, we continued over to the ruins of Pucará de Tilcara (Tilcara Fortress), a pre-Hispanic fortress–despite the lack of surrounding walls or ramparts–located on an inaccessible hill. It represents cultures of the Quebrada Humahuaca dating back to 10,000 BCE. Though the pucarás occurred during 1000-1480 CE. Really I just went for the astonishing views of the quebrada landscape: Perchel gorge to the north and Maimara to the South, as well as Huichairas ravine to the west and Huasmay ravine to the east. And, despite the many species of cactus overtaking the landscape, I escaped my cacti enclosure completely unscathed by any prickly disasters.

The following day we left for Iruya. Now I know I said the whole point of this trip was predominantly for the views from the bus, but this was a very long day in the bus. It was about four hours going into Iruya, we had less than two hours to see Iruya, then four hours back, followed by 4-5 hours back to Salta. Despite doing almost nothing but sit on my lazy butt, I was still quite worn out by the end of it. Anyways, Iruya is a tiny mountain village, literally at the end of the road as everything stops in front of the church. Truly a picturesque location perched in the enclosing mountains and cliffs. The only disappointing part is that we were not there long enough to actually go on any quick treks to the vista points surrounding the village. But it was worth the trip. Entering the Quebrada Humahuaca was like seeing a tiny crack on a smooth surface while slowly zooming in. First you see the ravine and surrounding mountains, then the landscape becomes undulated with hills, and finally you work your way into the myriad of crevices which once were a single incision. Breath-takingly stunning!

We parted after returning to Tilcara. I headed back to the south to Salta, while Virginia stayed to head north into Chile. Returning to Salta, I had meant to give the city more time for exploring, but instead I spent the time organizing myself. I was quite behind on my journeling and blogging, as well as needing to finish establishing my final travel routes and approximate time frames. After the non-stop moving since Mendoza, it was nice to have a day to myself. Also, I met some people from my hostel and finally went to my first Peña.

They are properly referred to as Peña Folklórica, or Folk Rock. This can be any music event involving several singers, poets, folk dancing, and orchestras, typically in confined spaces before audiences seated at candlelit tables, often enjoying a parrilla or empanadas. Hence, dinner and a show in a restaurant. I find they usually take place between 9 PM and 1 AM, the typical supper hours. Also, members of the audience are sometimes invited up for improvised dance (which of course had to happen to me…). It was actually really fun. The music is always really loud, but I suppose you are normally eating and thus do not need to have a conversation, maybe? Ha. We fortunately, or unfortunately, went on a Monday when everything is practically dead. We had a group of six: two brothers from Louisiana, a guy from D.C. area, two girls from Belgium, and myself. We started at one place with a 5-6 man band and several dancers and hopped across the street to a 3 man band with, it turns out, the same dancers who were simply running back and forth across the street. It is nice to see both sides of the full band to a small band mix. Also, the dancers wore traditional folk costumes of rich colors, feathers, sequins, capes, and head masks. And like I mentioned, I was called up at one point. I still am not sure what the steps are supposed to be… We ended the night at the only open bar, where the live music was slightly less loud and we could actually converse more. One of the brothers was a fellow geologist! and the other just finished his Peace Corp term in Paraguay. The other three were just travelers like me, though all of us of the long term sort. We had lots to chat about. It was quite an evening, and I think I am ready to try out a full-fledged Peña on a Saturday night when things are really hopping. 🙂

Argentina, a new page.

Argentina, a new page.

I must admit that the pending thoughts of going home sort of dampened my short while in Chile. Until having that issue decided and over with, I did not realize that it was affecting me. That said, I have flight tickets home confirmed, the rest of my travel agenda established, and now I am just riding the wave until April 25th. My only responsibility until then is to make it to Buenos Aires. Hopefully I can handle it.
First stop, Mendoza.
The Chile-Argentina border cross was one of the most efficient crosses I have made yet. We pulled into this large building with queues for the vehicles. Very ingenious set-up. Each vehicle gets its own customs building with two windows, one for leaving Chile and one for entering Argentina. You only wait for the people in your bus/vehicle, everyone is happier and thus more willing to be helpful, and while waiting in line the bus conductor and attendant take care of sending your luggage through the scanners.
From there I arrived to Mendoza in the heat of the afternoon and started walking towards my hostel. Moments later I realized that I had a 19 kilo pack strapped around my waist and a very full bladder. No accidents, but let´s just say that was the fastest mile and half I have ever walked. I went to the Hostel Estacion Mendoza, inevitably, due to its location closest to the terminal.
Mendoza is the fourth largest city, though it does not give off a huge city vibe, and the wine capital, most notably for Malbec, of Argentina. It is also surrounding by several national parks and outdoor recreation activities. This was definitely my type of place.
Staying true to the grid-pattern coverage of the cities, I wandered the main center of Mendoza in like fashion. I will admit that I have realized how little physical activity I seem to partake recently, which I directly correlate to my perception of having gained weight and lost tone over this last year. Bummer. However, the terminal is usually never that fair from wherever my selected hostel resides, so it can only be good for me health wise and budget wise to refuse the use of taxis (unless it is unsafe or late at night…). As well as touring the city center, I wandered through the Parque General San Martin, a 420 hectare park with immense areas of luscious green grass, tree-lined pedestrian paths, and other outdoor amenities. This park is easily one of the best park systems I have encountered throughout my South American wandering and remains one of the best I have found in Argentina. Thus my first day in Argentina included lots and lots of walking.
A bonus to my arrival was the fact that my dear friend, Melanie from Belgium, whom I worked with in Cuzco had been working in Mendoza and was still there when I arrived. It was great getting to see her again, and we had a fantastic last hurrah together. I got to meet people in my own hostel as well as mingle with her crowd at a different hostel. This turned out to my benefit because I was able to put together a little group of people to go on a bicycle wine tour with me. There was a brother and sister combo from Washington, Denny and Abby, who I met at Melanie´s hostel. Then two girls, Julia from Sweden and Tara from Germany, I met from my hostel. And the last girl, Paula from Texas, I actually met on my bus to Mendoza who I happened to run into again one night. We had a great, wine-filled day. We started at the Museo del Vino La Rural, a wine museum with the best collection of traditional wine making tools and history. Then we dropped by Entre Olivos, an olive tree farm where they make delicious olive oils, olive pastes, salsas, marmalades, dulce de leches, chocolates, and dessert liquors. I tried everything of course and sampled a spicy pepper liquor, a creamy liquor similar to Bailey´s, and absinthe. After this warm up to our day we made it to three different wineries in the end including the region´s oldest winery, an entirely French winery, and a small traditional family winery. The tour concluded back at Mr. Hugo´s where we rented our bikes and they had an abundance of free wine for anyone who did not get their fill. I have been on two tours of Sonoma Valley in California, but I liked to Argentinian take on the subject. I learned that U.S. wine is considered so awful mainly because we are not at good elevations for the grapes and that our vineyards are simply too young. At the wine museum we saw a field with 400 year old vines. They clone the same vine to keep younger generations coming up at the same time, so there is a mix, but our oldest U.S. vines can only be 100 years max due to prohibition. I also learned that Argentinians have obscure traditions of watering down their red wines, putting ice cubes in their red wines, and literally mixing reds and whites together to make the rose or blush wines. They are working on changing these customs.
To top off the day, there was a barbecue at Melanie´s hostel that night with bottomless wine and heaps of steak, ribs, sausage, and blood sausage, with a lone green salad and rolls to balance out the meal. I of course had to partake, not only to experience an Argentinian parrilla, but also because it was Melanie´s going away party and another staff member´s birthday. It is a good thing I had so much to eat because that was one wine filled day for me.
Moving on, Córdoba.
The following evening I headed for Córdoba along with Paula, the Texan girl from my first bus into Argentina. We arrived early the next morning and went to Alvear Hostel. I was quite pleased with the choice because they let us eat breakfast even though we had just checked in! It is always the little things that make a hostel great. Plus the breakfast was pretty descent.
After breakfast and some freshening-up, Paula and I headed out to explore the city. Córdoba is supposedly the cultural capital of Argentina with a plethora of museums, galleries, and theatres. Of these endless options, I had chosen three museums that I really wanted to see. Two of them were closed for the entire duration I was in Córdoba. None-the-less, Paula and I walked all over the city center and saw the Iglesia y Residencia Compañia de Jesús Museo Historico UNC. There is a huge history of the Jesuits in Argentina in their mission to convert everyone to Christianity. They founded this university and school of the Montserrat in 1610 with a grand library and accompanying church. However, Pope Clementius XIV dissolved the Society of Jesus in 1773 and when the Society returned to Córdoba in 1860, the place was under Federal State ownership. However, it is now a museum which displays the old hand-written and hand-bound leather covered books from the library as well as numerous old maps depicting the changing provinces and cartographic ideals of those times.
My third museum option (at least one was open) was the Museo Superior de Bellas Artes Evito in the Palacio Ferrerya. An art museum, it contains some 400 pieces over twelve rooms in three floors. The art was interesting but only one exhibit really drew me in. That was of Manuel Molina with Copies of Famous Art Pieces. He showed some well known pieces (such as the Mona Lisa) and how they have been replicated and reproduced over time with changes in fine details, paint type and quality, and brush stroke technique. I was truly intrigued by the exhibit. Though maybe that is because I recently read a book about Interpol and they had a section dedicated just to art theft and falsified copies. Other than that, I mostly went just to investigate the remaining semblances of the palace, which was built in 1914 by Ernest Sanson in a Louis XVI style. Some of the original hand-laid mosaic floors, silk walls, ceiling frescoes, and other designs still remain.
Then we walked towards the Parque Sarmiento and were able to enter the Museo Provincial de Ciencias Naturales for free as we quickly rushed through in the last ten minutes before closing time. It turned out to be quite a good display with excellent collections of fossils, taxidermy animals, rock and mineral samples, etc. To end the long day, we went to the Paseo del Buen Pastor for a live music concert with lighted fountain water show as the sun set.
The following day we headed to Alta Gracia, a tranquil town of winding streets and shady parks. We first took a leisurely walk along the river towards the main park before heading to the Museo Casa del Che. This is Ernesto “Che” Guevara´s childhood home called Villa Nydia. Despite having been in South America for eight and one half months, I know very little about this iconic political hero. I liked the museum because it was full of information about Che´s childhood and young adult life that lead up to his later activities. I will share a few random facts with you.
1) His South American tour by motorcycle with friend Alberto Grenado–most of you might recognize the reference to “The Motorcycle Diaries,” yes that is about Che Guevara–was actually his second time out in the world to witness the blatant social inequalities prevailing not on in Argentina but all through South and Central Americas. Only a few years after this second journey was he given the nickname “Che” and began his associations with Fidel Castro.
2) Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez visited this museum on 22 July 2006, as part of the Presidential Summit held in Córdoba.
3) I finally made the connection to the “Che tour” in Valle Grande, Bolivia. In November 1966, Che entered Bolivia to lead the revolution there. After a few successful skirmishes, the Bolivian army hunted him down. He was caught after receiving a leg injury and taken to La Higuera School for interrogation. On 9 October 1967, at 1:10 PM, Ernesto “Che” Guevara was shot dead by officer Mario Terán, acting under orders from Bolivian President René Barrientos. Che´s body was found 30 years later in a communal grave in Valle Grande, Bolivia. Hence there is a “Che tour” out of Samaipata for Vallegrande in Bolivia.
4) The final tid bit of information. Cuban photographer Alberto Díaz Guttérrez, under the pseudonym of Alberto Korda, took the most famous of photos of Che ever taken. On 5 March 1960, at the funeral of the 186 Cuban citizens killed in a raid on the French vessel La Coubre. Rising from his seat in the back, Che appeared on the dais with his gaze lost towards the horizon. In one instant Korda took the most famous and celebrated photo, which is reproduced innumerable times. Years later, the Italian Communist editor, Feltrinelli saw the photo on Korda´s wall and edited it, thus making producing the famous profile image most people would recognize even if unaware the image is of Che.
After this museum we relaxed for a picnic lunch on the grass alongside the Tajamar, the still-standing dam and reservoir from the 1659 Jesuit community. After are rest, we walked around the reservoir and passed the Reloj Publico (a pronouned clock tower built in 1938 to celebrate the city´s 350th anniversary) to the Museo de la Estancia Jesuítica de Alta Gracia y Casa del Virrey Liniers. This is a Jesuit residence of 17th century, then the viceroy´s home in 1810. It has a connecting church, Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Merced, which is supposed to be stunning but is currently closed for floor restoration. After the estancia (ranch) we headed away from the peaceful and beautiful Alta Gracia back to Córdoba. I left that evening for Tucumán. Paula was heading for Buenos Aires, thus did not continue with me, but I had a great time having someone to see sights with again.