Almost 48 hours after my last exam I caught a train to Paris to take a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina to see yet another side of the world as I hadn't been to south-America yet!
Even though I only had two weeks, I do think I was able to get the most out of it.
Starting in Buenos Aires.
My first afternoon I just had a stroll around the centre and saw the major sights one of which is La Casa Rosada (left).
This huge really pink government building serves as executive mansion and as office for the president and sits on the eastern side of la Plaza de Mayo (under).
La Plaza de Mayo is the place to be for anything revolutionary-related as it was the scene of the May 1810 revolution that led to the independence of Argentina.
As you can see from the picture above it's a wonderful place to sit if you can handle about a million pigeons flying/walking/eating EVERYWHERE.
I usually can't handle birds of any kind, certainly not in those amount but just across from where I was sitting there were people feeding the damn birds so they all kind of went their way.
But it is, nevertheless, a wonderful place to sit, enjoy the sunshine and talk to strangers.
So my first day of world freedom I spent walking around enjoying life and looking up every once in awhile to find beautiful buildings like these (-->) against a clear blue sky and a blinding sun.
On Sunday (day 2) there were the San Telmo markets, where I went to with a very nice English girl with whom (among others) I shared a dorm with.
Every Sunday la Défenca in San Telmo becomes a pedestrian street packed with all these cute little stands filled with almost anything really, from the most touristy things to real Argentinian art.
After a very interesting walking tour in the morning with some new friends around the city's lesser known historical monument I took the bus to La Boca.
This barrio in the south-east sits near Buenos Aires's old port and is well know for it's colourful buildings, many tangoclubs (of which the caminito is best known) and, due to a lot of early Italian setters, a lot of fine Italian taverns.
It's quite a nice place to walk around for a couple of hours but the contrast between the few blocks built up for tourism and all the rest of the La Boca neighbourhood, which is poor and where a lot of petty crimes are is significantly.
In the early afternoon of the 26th I took a bus heading for Puerto Iguazú, Argentina's most north-eastern city and main launch pad for the world renown Iguazú falls; my destination!
So after an almost 18-hour bus ride I arrived in Pto. Iguazú in the morning. Once in the hostel and showered, I slapt on some sunscreen and anti-mosquito spray and headed for the falls! It was said to rain all week but when I arrived it was sweaty hot and the sun was shining happily so I took the first bus to the falls!
It was absolutely just aw-inspiring !!
Entering the huge national park I took the little walk through the jungle rather than the train. This is where I met one of these little guys!
This is a coati. native to South-, Central- and south-western North America. They're family of the raccoon but have a longer and slightly upward-turned nose.
It was so cool to see them playing around with like 5 to 10 of them at a time.
The actual Iguazú Falls, from the Argentinian side.
My very first UNESCO world heritage site!!
Words cannot express the beauty of this place. It just makes you go quite. The vastness and power is just incredible. It made me absolutely humble.
Here the earth sank about 82 meters in a U-shape into the ground creating a 150 wide gap causing millions of litres of water to plunge into unseen depths.
The next day I headed for the Brazilian side of the falls with some new friends.
At first I didn't really want to hop the boarder, too much fuss I thought. But I'm very glad that they persuaded me to go to the Brazilian side because that too, was a sight I didn't want to miss for the world!!
Cataratas del Iguaçu
Even though only 20% of the falls actually are on Brazilian ground, this side gives you an amazing panoramic view of everything and so much more!!
After an absolutely splendid day in Brazil complete with an all you can eat buffet and great new friends I ended my stay in Puerto Iguazù with a sunset walk to Las 3 fronteras. At this 3 country point you have a great view of neighbouring Paraguay on the left and Brazil right of the river. They each have a big stone pillar in their country colours on their side of the river.
Next up was Estancia Sayta !
After a 24 hour bus ride, excluding the 24hour 'layover' after 12hours in the middle of nowhere in an old, damp, not so clean, to expensive for what you get hotel I arrived in Salta.
Salta is quite a big city in the north-west of Argentina, right in the Andes indeed.
I was to meet a driver at the bus station who would bring me deeper into the mountains to Sayta. A horseback riding company where I would stay for my last days/week in Argentina.
I spent 4 wonderful days at Sayta. It was such a great experience to see this entire different way of working with horses and life for that matter! Wine, meat and horses. The Gaucho way of living if you will.
I hadn't been on horse back for quite some time but from the moment I mounted it was like I hadn't ever been out of the saddle (even-though this was a very different saddle). Casually walking through tiny towns, huge (tobacco) fields or cantering along side the high way or through mountain scenery was absolutely great and made me feel so alive again. I only realised how much I missed riding when I got back on horse back out in the wide world where I belong.
As I'm not used to the quantities of (delicious) red wine and meat I got sick and spent most of my second to last night in the bathroom and my last day chilling in the shade or sleeping which was quite alright too and the people were ever so kind and helpful so I really can't complain much. These things are all part of backpacking and I'm glad to take that part with it because you get rewarded in so much more magnificent ways, all the delays, waiting, smelly buses, tummy aches and sunburn faces, shoulders and arms are all worth it.
Sayta - "Where time stands still" in the Aymar language
A smelly 24 hour bus ride followed by a comfortable 13 hour plane and another exhausting 4 hour train ride brought me back home to my own bed after yet another awesome adventure in the weird and wonderful world.
Words cannot express my gratitude for so many things and people I was able to do and meet during my trip. It gave me new found life wisdom and courage to start my second semester studying veterinarian nurse.
stay tuned for my next great adventure, this time travelling east to CHINA!
more information, bookings, ... on Sayta Ranch don't hesitate to send them an email! or visit the site: http://www.saltacabalgatas.com.ar/eng/
Argentina, January 22 - February 7 2016