Latin America


Itinerary: Buenos Aires – Salta – Salinas Grandes – Purmamarca – Valles de Calchaquiés – Cafayate – Parque Nacional Talampaya – Mendoza – Peninsula Valdez – Bariloche – Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi – El Chaltén – Parque Nacional Los Glaciares – El Calafate – Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

After a long flight and a layover in Sao Paulo we arrive late Saturday evening at the international airport Ezeiza near Buenos Aires. It takes a while before we have our luggage and then we take a taxi to the city. That is still half an hour away and it is already 1:30 a.m. when we check in at our hotel in the center of Buenos Aires. Tired from the journey, we go straight to bed.

The next morning it is cloudy and rainy. After breakfast we walk out. Although it is not raining very hard, we quickly dive into café Los Angelitos to drink coffee. Los Angelitos is a very old cafe, which was home to writers, musicians and criminals in the early twentieth century. The cafe is still completely in the style of that time. In the meantime it seems to be raining harder outside, so we take our time. After a second cup of coffee we continue on, regularly taking shelter under shelters to avoid getting too soaked. We pass the Palacio del Congreso, the parliament building, and the Senate building opposite. But it is not very relaxed with this weather, so we decide to dive into a metro station. We take the metro to the San Telmo district, where we run through the rain to Parilla Desnivel. This steak restaurant is popular with both Porteños (as residents of Buenos Aires are called) and tourists. It’s lunchtime and time for a tasty Argentinian steak!

Buenos Aires

When we come out again after lunch, the weather has cleared up. The clouds and showers have given way to the sun. We leisurely stroll down San Telmo’s main street, Defensa, and across the 18th century Plaza Dorrego, where a market is held every Sunday afternoon. San Telmo is very different from the Congreso neighborhood, where our hotel is. A cosy, village-like neighborhood with old colonial buildings and cobbled streets, numerous cafes and restaurants and especially many antique shops. From San Telmo we walk further south, to the district of La Boca. The southern tip of this working-class district, known for the Boca Juniors football club, is a tourist attraction. The houses with corrugated iron facades, which you see everywhere in this district, are painted here in bright colors. It looks nice, but it is very busy and quite touristy.

Buenos Aires is a large, modern and cosmopolitan city (the metropolis of Buenos Aires is home to 17 million people, a third of the population of the whole of Argentina). But as we walk in San Telmo and La Boca, I notice that many buildings are in bad shape. A lot of it is empty (sometimes only the facade is still standing) and nothing really seems to be done with it. There are also many old cars driving around (the Peugeot 504 from the 1970s is anything but a rarity here), often in appallingly bad condition. Apparently they don’t know anything like a periodic check here; if it starts, it can hit the road, seems the idea. It is from this street scene that you can see that the Argentine economy is not doing well yet. Argentina has been bouncing from one economic crisis to the next for decades. In 2002, the country even went bankrupt. The inflation rate of twenty percent per year also shows that things are not going well yet. The main cause is poor management. Although the military dictatorship is a thing of the past and Argentina is now a democracy, the country still struggles with corruption, political scandals and sharp political contradictions.

All in all we walk quite a few kilometers about the city. Back in San Telmo it’s time to relax. We sit down at cafe Britanico for a drink and later we move to cafe Plaza Dorrego. When we are waiting for the metro at the end of the evening, it turns out that it is not running for unclear reasons. We therefore take a taxi back to the hotel.

Buenos Aires

The next day the sun is high in the sky again and we walk into the city again. At the end of the street where our hotel is located is Plaza de la Républica, with a 67-meter high obelisk, built in 1936 to mark 400 years of independence. The obelisk is located in the middle of Avenida de 9 Julio, the very wide road (in many places six lanes wide with free bus lanes in the middle) that runs right through the city from north to south. The center of downtown Buenos Aires is called Microcentro. Here you will find a mix of modern high-rise buildings and stately colonial buildings. This part of Buenos Aires, where you will also find the main shopping streets, has a much more modern look and is better maintained.

The central place here is Plaza de Mayo. On the east side of the square is the white Cabildo, the former town hall from the eighteenth century. The other side of the square is dominated by the red-pink display of the Casa Rosada. From the balcony of this building, Eva Duerte-Peron (better known as Evita) gave her famous speeches to the population. Evita was the wife of President Juan Peron, who ruled the country with a heavy hand after World War II. Opponents of the regime were jailed and critical media banned. Evita was at least as influential and partly because of her Peron also carried out many reforms that benefited the poor population. Until the army (with the support of the wealthy elite and the United States) led by General Videla staged a coup in 1976. This was the beginning of the Guerra Sucia, the Dirty War. Between 1976 and 1983, between 10,000 and 30,000 Argentines disappeared without a trace. The mothers of the missing have united and these ‘Madres de Plaza de Mayo’ still gather every Thursday afternoon in Plaza de Mayo to demand justice. The square is in any case the place where regular demonstrations take place.

In Plaza de Mayo you will also find a piece with white crosses in memory of the fallen during the war for the Malvinas (the Falkland Islands) in 1982. It strikes me that there are statues and plaques depicting them in more places in the city. to remind. The battle for the Malvinas has clearly not been forgotten here in Argentina. The islands are still in British hands, much to the dismay of the Argentines. The war had one positive side effect: it marked the end of military rule.

Buenos Aires

The office of the Argentine president is still located in Casa Rosada. The building used to stand on the water of the Rio de la Plata, but in the nineteenth century, land reclamation east of Microcentro created a new district: Puerto Madero. Initially this was a harbor area and the brick warehouses and old cranes on the waterfront are the silent witnesses of this. Today it is a hip district with apartments, office buildings, restaurants and a marina. Partly because of the Puente de la Mujer, this part of the city is somewhat reminiscent of Rotterdam with its Erasmus Bridge. Via Avenida Cordoba, including the Galerías Pacifico dating from 1889, we arrive in the Retiro district. In this clearly wealthier neighbourhood, just past the leafy Plaza San Martin, is the Retiro station, say the central station of Buenos Aires. With the Torre Monumental, a kind of Big Ben lookalike, a present from the British in 1916.

Recoleta is also a wealthy neighborhood and is best known for the cemetery of the same name. The rich and famous Argentines are buried here. Or rather: above ground in mausoleums. Cementerio de la Recoleta is a kind of ‘neighbourhood’ with ‘streets’ along which mausoleums stand, large and small, modern and classic, some new and others (very) old. Some of these family graves are over 150 years old. The bizarre thing is that you can look inside many of them (either because there is a window in it, or because the gate in front of it is open) and you can just see the coffins. Some have clearly not been there very long, others are covered in a thick layer of dust or have already half perished. The family grave of the Duerte family, with the coffin of Evita, is also located on Recoleta and is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the city. We end the day on a terrace on Plaza Palermo Viejo, in the middle class neighborhood of Palermo. Time for a beer and empanadas.


After two days in Buenos Aires, we fly from Aeroparque airport in two hours to Salta, in the northwest of Argentina. After checking in at our hotel, we walk into this town, which was founded in 1582. What a difference with Buenos Aires! Salta is a small colonial town around a central square, Plaza 9 de Julio, with palm trees, a restaurant, museums and a somewhat kitschy pink cathedral. It is beautiful sunny weather and a pleasant 28 degrees. We make it a relaxed afternoon. After we have walked about, we sit down at La Tacita, a small, simple place where you can eat delicious freshly made empanadas. In the evening we also indulge in culinary delights at café Del Tiempo, with steak and a delicious bottle of Malbec.

Puna de Atacama

Salta is our base for a day trip in the northwest of Argentina. This area is called the Puna de Atacama, an elevated semi-desert, between the foothills of the Andes Mountains. This is a very different world from Buenos Aires: dry, rugged, remote and barely inhabited. The people here have a much darker complexion and look more like Bolivians than Argentinians. Because of the mining industry, a train connection was once built in this area, which is called the Trèn a las Nubes (the train to the clouds) because of its high location. But there was not enough money and mining has since disappeared. On the way we stop at the Quebrada de Toro, which is dotted with large cactuses and have lunch in San Antonio de los Cobres, a typical Andean village with simple low houses and dusty streets.

One of the highlights of the Puna de Atacama are the Salinas Grandes, a 525 square kilometer salt flat, located at 3,350 meters above sea level. In the rainy season the salt flat is a shallow lake and in the dry season the salt settles. The Salinas Grandes are much smaller and less white than the (very impressive) salt flats of Uyuni in the south of Bolivia, but nevertheless photogenic and well worth a visit.

Salinas Grandes

Via the Cuesta de Lipan we drive to the highest point of the day trip: 4,177 meters. At this altitude you can suffer from altitude sickness, but luckily you can buy coca leaves everywhere. If you chew on it, you will have less or no trouble with the altitude. Drinking a lot of water also helps and, unlike coca leaves, does not give you a numb tongue… Our last stop is Purmamarca, another typical Andean village, beautifully situated between the red-brown mountains, which are called the Cerros de Siete Colores because of their hues. At the end of the afternoon it is still a two and a half hour drive back to Salta. On the way, our minibus has problems with the brakes. That is why we ride the last part with another bus from the same tour operator (which is full of Flemish people). We end the day with a beer and empanadas at the same place as yesterday. It’s been a beautiful day.

Valle Calchaquies and Cafayate

The next morning we pick up our rental car in the center of Salta: the Chevrolet Classic is a second generation Opel Corsa and one of the most popular cars in Argentina. We leave Salta in a southerly direction and take Ruta 68 towards Cafayate. The weather is drizzly and the first part of the route is quite boring. It is very quiet on the road and I notice that the villages we pass through are almost deserted. Where is everybody? After an hour and a half we drive into the Valle Calchaquiés. From here the landscape is truly magnificent. The red-brown rocks are reminiscent of the southwestern United States. The beautiful landscape and the beautiful views are reason to stop often and take pictures. Along the way you will pass two impressive gorges: the Garganta del Diablo and the Anfiteatro, but the entire route is very beautiful and highly recommended!

Valle Calchaquiés

Around 2 p.m. we arrive in Cafayate. This town, and the region around it, is known for its wine: Malbec and Chardonnay, among others, but also lesser-known grapes such as Tannat and especially the local favorite Torrontes. Of the many wineries we visit Bodega El Esteco, where we get a tour and do a tasting. Cafayate itself is small and not very special, as we discover after we have checked in at our hotel. But you do have excellent terraces where you can enjoy a bottle of Torrontes and empanadas. Or you can eat steak at Parilla El Rancho with a bottle of Tannat. Or both.


The next day is a long travel day: from Cafayate to La Rioja, driving almost 500 kilometers. Long, straight stretches of road in a mostly dry and barren landscape of stone and rock, with here and there more vegetation, including meter high cacti. The only variation is in the mountains in the background, which are sometimes a bit further away and sometimes a bit closer. There is little rainfall here and most rivers have dried up. This is a large and sparsely populated area, where you get a good feel for the vast expanse of Argentina. From north to south Argentina measures 3,500 kilometers and with an area of ​​2.8 million square kilometers it is the eighth largest country in the world. It is very quiet on the road, even today we encounter few cars and it is also quite quiet in the villages. In those villages it is not always clear where to go, because direction signs are missing and street signs are also rare. We left at 8:30 a.m. and at 4:30 p.m. we are at our hotel in La Rioja, an uninteresting town that is no more than a stopover for us.

Talampaya and Mendoza

The next day we get up early and drive in about two hours from La Rioja to Parque Nacional Talampaya. You can only visit this park under supervision in a minibus. Over the dry bed of the Talampaya River you drive into a four kilometer long gorge, between the reddish-brown rocks. Gorge is the result of millions of years of geological processes, which have resulted in 150-meter-high rock walls that rise vertically. At the entrance of the gorge you can find rock carvings, images that are estimated to be more than two thousand years old. You will also come across animals here and there, including maras, a kind of cross between a hare and a guinea pig. At the end of the gorge you come to a wide valley with eroded rocks. A very photogenic place.

Parque Nacional Talampaya

After our visit to Talampaya, a long drive to Mendoza follows. This is another 5.5 hours drive, again in a dry, desert-like landscape, with long, straight roads. At 6 p.m. we arrive in Mendoza, the first larger city since Buenos Aires. After I take a shower, we walk into town to have dinner. The long drive has left us hungry, it’s time for steak and a bottle of Malbec, the wine the Mendoza region is known for.

The next morning we explore Mendoza. We walk past the Andalusian-style tiled Plaza España and its big brother Plaza Independencia and drink coffee on a terrace on the car-free (but quiet, because Sunday) shopping street. Just like in Cafayate, we also want to visit a winery in Mendoza, but because it is Sunday, most of them are closed. That is why at the beginning of the afternoon we drive to Maipu, just outside Mendoza, where Bodega Carinae is open. We get a short tour of this small family business (owned by a French couple) and an explanation of the wines the house produces. The vines of Carinae are up to ninety years old (the older the vines, the better the grapes in general) and we taste that a little later during the tasting. Delicious wines.


At the end of the afternoon we return the rental car and we have some time to relax before we have dinner in the evening. I’ve just laid myself down on the bed when I suddenly feel something vibrating. Like a heavy truck driving by. But the shaking continues and gets louder and the whole building starts to shake. I realize: this is an earthquake! After about a minute, the shaking stops as unexpectedly as it started. Later it turns out that the epicenter of the quake was near San Juan, 150 kilometers from Mendoza. The quake had a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale, but was so deep in the ground that the effect on the surface was not too bad. There is no damage and certainly no panic at all, we just shook for a while. A very, very strange experience!

Peninsula Valdes

Monday is a travel day. Because Mendoza airport will be closed for three months due to the construction of a new runway, we are taken to San Luis airport in 3.5 hours with a free bus. From there we fly, with a stop in Buenos Aires, to Trelew. From there we have a transfer to our hostel in Puerto Madryn, on the Atlantic coast. This entire journey lasts from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., so once in the hostel it’s time to go to sleep.

Reserva Faunística Peninsula Valdés

The next morning after breakfast we are picked up for a day trip to the Reserva Faunística Peninsula Valdés. This 3,600 square kilometer peninsula, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is best known for its fauna: here you will find guanacos (family of the llama), nandus (family of the ostrich), sea lions, elephant seals and penguins. Between June and December you can also see whales in the Golfo Nuevo, on the south side of the peninsula. It is beautiful, sunny weather when we board in Puerto Pirámides (with a life jacket) to look for the whales. We are lucky and see several, according to the guide females with young. The huge animals (they can grow up to fifteen meters in length) swim with the boat and come very close. Very nice to see!

Then we drive to the north of Peninsula Valdés. Like the northwest, this peninsula is also an arid part of Argentina: only 15 millimeters of rain falls annually, resulting in an arid, semi-desert landscape. Colonies of sea lions and elephant seals reside at Punta Norte. From a distance you can see how they lie (apparently quite lazy) on the side of the water. After lunch at Estancia San Lorenzo, the highlight of the day, in my opinion, is the visit to a colony of Magellanic penguins. I have also seen this small penguin species in South Africa, but there you can only view them from behind a fence. Here on Peninsula Valdés you can get much closer and just walk right between them. The males are out at sea to gather food, so the penguins present are all females. It is breeding season and many females have just given birth. Tiny penguin chicks, some already fluffy, others just hatching. So cute! And the mama penguins are happy that we come and see them.

Reserva Faunística Peninsula Valdés

The next day we take it easy. We walk about Puerto Madryn, walk down the pier and in the afternoon I sit in the garden of the hostel to read for a while. At the beginning of the evening we leave for the bus station. Tonight we will travel by night bus to Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche). Long-distance buses are widely used in Argentina: it is cheaper than flying and Argentina hardly has a rail network. In fifteen hours we drive from Puerto Madryn from east to west through Argentina to Bariloche. The bus is very comfortable: we have booked the most luxurious seats (‘cama ejecutivo’), which can be put almost completely flat. The food on board is only mediocre, but the ride itself is not disappointing. I actually manage to sleep for a few hours. By the time I wake up and look outside, I see mountains: we are back to the Andes! The last three hours we drive in a beautiful landscape with green valleys and mountains with snow on the tops and the sun high in a clear blue sky.


Around noon (an hour later than planned) we arrive in Bariloche, a small town, beautifully situated on the Nahuel Huapi Lake. Bariloche is located in the middle of the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, surrounded by mountain peaks of about 2,000 meters and from the boulevard (or what must pass for that) you have a panoramic view over the lake and the mountains behind. After we have walked about the town, I lie down with a book on the lawn near the central square.

The next morning it’s about 22 degrees, with some clouds and not too much wind: great cycling weather. With city bus 20 we drive to kilometer marker 18.5. From there it is only a short walk to Bike Corillera, where we have reserved two mountain bikes. Today we will cycle the Circuito Chico, a beautiful route in Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. The route is about thirty kilometers long and if the area were flat, you could cycle it in one and a half hours. But the environment here is anything but flat and with the necessary photo stops and relaxation moments in between, it takes us almost the whole day. The road contains a few steep climbs, where you have to downshift considerably, but the beautiful surroundings are well worth the effort.

Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi

Along the way you will pass many beautiful bays, such as at the luxurious Lao Lao hotel, and a little further, where you can take a walk of about twenty minutes in the forest, after which you come to the edge of Lago Moreno with a view of the mountains. A wonderfully quiet place with calmly rippling water and no other visitors. At Bahia López I lie down in the sun against a tree trunk. Relax for a while and then hit the pedals again. After a nasty climb, my legs are so tired that I can no longer climb the steepest parts. Luckily I’m not the only one who suffers from this. All in all it is a wonderful day, which we conclude with fresh trout, one of the regional fish specialities.

El Chalten

On Saturday we leave Bariloche and fly to El Calafate, in the south of Argentina. From there we drive in four hours by bus to El Chaltén. Most of the ride (again) takes you through a dry and barren semi-desert landscape, until the mountains of the Fitz Roy massif come into view in the distance. We sit in the front of the bus, so we have a first-class view of the snow-capped mountain peaks that are getting closer and closer. Impressive!

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

El Chaltén is a small village with only 1,600 inhabitants. This is our base for the northern part of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. The village has only existed since 1985 and is located at the foot of the Fitz Roy massif. We have a long mountain hike planned for the next day. Several hiking trails lead from the village into the mountains. However, you can also take a minibus to a point north of El Chaltén, about half an hour away via a dirt road. From there, a trail runs along the Rio Blanco into the mountains. It is beautiful sunny weather and about 16 degrees, so great walking weather. At a certain point the mountains disappear from view for a while as you walk a long time in the forest. Walking between the trees you would almost forget that glaciers are just a stone’s throw away. But between the trees you can see the first one now and then. A little further the Glaciar Piedras Blancas shows itself. Magnificent! A large mass of ice that lies like a thick blanket on the mountainside. At the bottom, the melt water ends up in a lagoon via a small waterfall. Very nice to see!

However, the goal of this walk is an even more beautiful glacier: the Glaciar Los Tres. Most of the walk is doable, until the last kilometer. After crossing a river, a sign indicates that the last stretch to the glacier (one kilometer to go) will take another hour. That last part goes up steeply, over rocky terrain. It’s a tough climb and judging by the other hikers, I’m not the only one who thinks that. You have to be careful not to slip. However, the reward at the end is more than worth the climb: once at the top, an amazing panorama unfolds in front of you: the Cerro Fitz Roy (3,400 meters), Poincenot (3,000 meters) and Saint Exupery (2,500 meters), the ‘three’ in Los Tres, and the surrounding mountains form an enormous natural backdrop, with two enormous glaciers in front of it and an equally large glacial lake with clear blue water. What an amazing view! Although you can see these mountain peaks from a distance anywhere in El Chaltén, they are right in front of you here. Very impressive!

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

After I have thoroughly enjoyed the view (you can keep looking endlessly…) the inevitable way back down follows. Down over those loose stones is even more careful than up. Back at the flatter part of the route, you can take a different route back to El Chaltén. It runs through the woods and along a wide valley. Along the way, a strong wind picks up and you experience how changeable the weather can be here. The first part to Los Tres was ten kilometers and so is the way back to El Chaltén. So in total I walk twenty kilometers today. I don’t have a lot of experience with such distances and certainly not in mountainous terrain, but the beautiful surroundings help enormously. After seven hours of walking I reach the end of the walking route. From there I walk back to the village, longing for a refreshing shower.

After rinsing off the dust and sweat, I walk to La Vineria, a nice little place with a whole wall full of Argentinian wines. I opt for a delicious Torrontes, which I have earned after this intensive, but beautiful day. When you’re at the (almost) end of the world, you don’t expect culinary delights, but the empanadas I order with the wine are the best I’ve tasted all trip. Or would today’s physical exertion have awakened my taste buds?

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

After a day of physical exertion, the next day a relaxed excursion to the Glaciar Viedma is on the program. This forty meters wide glacier flows into Lago Viedma, a large lake south of El Chaltén. It is a twenty minute bus ride and then we board a large catamaran for a 2.5 hour boat trip. However, it will not be a very relaxed excursion: on the lake blows an extremely strong wind, which comes from the mountains over the glacier. The closer we get to the glacier, the stronger the wind. The waves regularly cause a shower (even on the top deck) and you have to hold on to the railing to avoid being blown over. Ice floes float in the water everywhere near the glaciers. Large white chunks of ice, some bright blue (especially the ones that have been ‘turned over’ and whose clear bottom now floats to the top). We sail between the ice floes towards the glacier, as far as we can get. That requires careful navigation by the skipper, because you don’t want to end up like some kind of Titanic… The glacier itself is impressive, a wide wall of ice that runs up the mountainside. And beyond that, a threateningly dark sky. Back in El Chaltèn, La Vineria’s wine and empanadas are too good not to enjoy a second evening.

El Calafate

It is already Tuesday when we leave El Chaltén and take the bus back to El Calafate, on the shore of Lago Argentino, where we arrive at our hostel at 3 p.m.. In El Calafate, which is the base for the southern part of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, everything revolves around tourism. The main street Avenida Libertador is therefore a succession of tour operators, restaurants and souvenir shops. We walk about, get lunch for tomorrow and I spend the evening in the hostel with a book.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

The highlight of the southern part of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is the Glaciar Perito Moreno, about an hour’s drive west of El Calafate. This enormous mass of ice, 70 meters high and 70 kilometers long, is in constant motion: every day the ice creeps forward two meters. It is one of the few glaciers in the world that is not shrinking as a result of climate change. At a number of higher vantage points you can look over the enormous ice mass. The ice continues as far as you can see. On a boat just in front of the glacier you experience how impressive that seventy meter high wall of ice is. Occasionally large and small pieces of ice fall from the front of the glacier into the water with a lot of noise. Perhaps what I like best is the incredibly bright blue in the ice, which is created by the sunlight and also changes with the position of the sun. It is almost magical and makes for very beautiful pictures.

The third way to experience the Perito Moreno is by doing a glacier walk. With crampons under our shoes we take a walk of one and a half hours on the ice. I’ve never stood on a glacier before, but it’s very simple. The crampons (metal plates with sharp points that are tied under your shoes) provide good grip and the guidance is good. It is very special to stand on top of that white mass. The top of the glacier is hilly and uneven, sloping and with sharp peaks, and there are holes and crevices and small pools of meltwater everywhere. All around you you see nothing but ice, and your fellow hikers, but above all an incredible amount of ice. And you know you’re only seeing a small piece of an immeasurably larger ice field. Very impressive! After the walk it is lunch time. We sit on a rocky outcrop by the water with a view of the glacier. What a lunch spot! Together with the Glaciar Los Tres, the Perito Moreno is definitely one of the highlights of this trip.

Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

The next day we go on a day trip to another part of Los Glaciares: the Rios de Hielo, or the rivers of ice. The only way to get here is to join a large catamaran along with many other tourists. The Brazo Norte, a branch of Lago Argentino, is called Rio de Hielo because of the ice floes that float there. These come from the glaciers we visit today: the Glaciar Upsala and the Glaciar Spegazzini. The weather is not so nice today: it is cloudy, it rains now and then and there is a strong wind. Again, many floating ice floes. Some are bright blue, others white. The Glaciar Upsala can only be seen from a great distance, because because of the ice floes we can’t get any closer. The Glaciar Spegazzini is huge. Here too a high wall of ice with sharp peaks and behind it a long blanket of ice that comes high from the mountains. In terms of size, the Spegazzini is just as impressive as the Perito Moreno, although I liked the latter the best. From the glaciers it is about an hour return trip. Due to the strong wind and the waves, the catamaran goes up and down. In the course of the afternoon we are back in El Calafate and we have some time to relax.

Friday is our last day in Argentina. We go to the airport of El Calafate (where it is only a few degrees above zero at that moment) for the flight to Buenos Aires (where it is no less than thirty degrees at that time). We are back where we started this journey. We have another meal at Nesnivel (the best steak restaurant of the trip) and then I walk about the city for a while: from San Telmo via Plaza de Mayo towards Retiro and then back to the hotel. On Saturday morning our flight will leave for the Netherlands, where we will arrive on Sunday. It has been a wonderful journey. We have seen and done a lot: from the metropolis of Buenos Aires to the dusty streets of Salta and Cafayate in the arid northwest, from the penguins and whales on the Atlantic coast to the mountains of the Andes at Bariloche and of course the amazing glaciers in the south from Patagonia. That summary immediately shows how incredibly diverse Argentina is. Add good food and fine wines to that and you have a very great trip!