January 2019 – length of stay 61 days
Being the second country and having crossed the Argentinian border through Patagonia, it didn’t make a lot of changes for us. We were still “cooking” with a toast sandwich maker coz the wind was even crazier in Tierra del Fuego, we were still dreaming about warm weather, we were still going to bed by 9pm max, our Spanish still sucked and Solene was still loving the electric blanket, Brett not so much as his half broke down.
As an escape from the cold, the Backtrax tent has never been so much used. First, it is a hangover friendly tent as once zipped up, it is peached black and we could easily sleep in and when it was 1 degree Celsius in the morning, we enjoyed staying in bed for a couple more hours. Before entering in Patagonia, we were wondering how the tent would go with a strong wind. We can now say, the tent isn’t bothered! We opened & closed it without anymore effort than usual with wind going at 95kms/h. And after a couple of nights, we slept like babies having a complete trust on the tent on real bad weather.
People are nice but we found them a bit intrusive. They do not have a big culture of personal space. For example, they would take picture of us or the car without asking or being acknowledged. Or, they would park right next to us when there is a big space to park somewhere else and play loud music. Once we were cooking breakfast, a lady came up from nowhere and jumped into our outdoor kitchen and said something in Spanish which we didn’t quite understand so we asked her to repeat slowly. She did repeat but not slower, way louder. Speaking louder won’t help us to understand better your language! Argentinians like travelling and they were very interested on the car and our travel. I guess, that’s why they interact so much with us!
Argentina is a really good country to explore. Here are our favs:
Perito Moreno glacier, the only stable glacier on earth. Seat down for a while to catch an iceberg falling off from the boardwalks.
Iguazu falls – well, just go, it is a grandiose nature!
Fitzroy range in El Chalten with so many hikes at all level of difficulties that lead to pristine lakes, glaciers, and up-close peaks.
North of Argentina, the Quebrada of Humahuaca. Totally different landscape with pinnacles, canyons, colourful mountains, cacti everywhere, it was Brett’s favourite landscape.
Bariloche and the lake region. It looks like a stunning archipelago.
Buenos Aires. You don’t feel that is a city of 15 million people as there are many suburbs with their own vibe and architecture. Many parks as well where we enjoyed riding our bikes. And lots of food and booze!
We don’t understand you Argentinians! Everywhere in South America (as far as I know), Spanish language is the same, slang is different in every country but the pronunciation stays the same. Well, not in Argentina. Let’s take an easy example like “I am Solene and our car is a Toyota”
Normal Spanish: Me LLamo Solene y nuestra auto es una toYota
Argentinian Spanish: Me CHamo Solene y nuestra auto es una toCHota
The “ll” is pronounced “ch”. The “y” is also pronounced “ch” (if not by itself).
Well, it just sounds weird guys!
Food & booze
The parilla is our new way of cooking. You can cook everything on the fire or charcoals. Argentinians are proud (and can be) of their meat. Surprisingly, my new favourite is a blood sausage called morcilla. The Argentinian recipe adds onions onto the morcilla and it is delicious! “Everything on the fire” is the rule, even their yummy provoleta cheese. Then you finish your meal by THE best ice cream. In each town or suburb, there is an ice-cream shop with about 30 different flavours, they are exquisite and you can take some home!
Obviously, they have good wines (and not only the Malbec), good breweries as well but Argentinians are all about Fernet & mate (which is a tea). It is a bit generalist but at all age and at anytime of the day, Argentinians have their cup of mate to drink & share coz there is a culture behind the mate. You fill up your mate cup with mate leaves and hot water that you pass to someone. Then, once this person has finished, you fill up again on water and pass it again to someone else and etc... Eventually, when all of your friends have drunken it, you can have some yourself!
Bigger than Chile, there is obviously more space to free camp in Argentina. We have wild camped 90% of the time and not only just free camps but amazing camps, by rivers or lakes, or in front of glaciers, mountains. We were alone unless we were in national parks like Ushuaia or El Chalten (Fitzroy range) which was great to meet other overlanders. It is also in Argentina that we have realised it is not that bad to sleep on petrol stations when you are driving for a couple of days or more (our fav was YPF).