Argentina: An awesome adventure
When photographer Alex Mitchell isn’t working on a commercial project or shooting a wedding, he loves to explore the world, camera in hand…
Argentina is steeped in history, with stunning landscapes, huge skies and friendly people. The best time to visit is between October and March, the summer season in the Southern hemisphere. At over 35 times the size of Scotland, it offers everything from cosmopolitan cities to cattle ranches, beaches to the Andes, a history that encompasses ancient civilisations, Spanish colonisation, dubious dictators and even a musical.
Like any area that you’re unfamiliar with, it’s best to stick to the tourist areas after dark and avoid flashing expensive jewellery or phones. That said, the Argentinians are very welcoming, open and demonstrative. There’s lots of kissing and hugging and the Argentinians have no qualms about smooching in public at levels rarely witnessed in Aberdeen except for office parties in December. If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to a party in someone’s home, it’s considered rude to show up on time. Arriving an hour or two late is considered normal. This is a culture where most people eat dinner after 10pm.
Talking of food, Argentina is heaven for carnivores with a love of red wine. You’ll find amazing steaks cooked to perfection on the barbecue in most restaurants, as well as dishes such as provoleta grilled cheese and choripάn, the popular sausage sandwich street food. Argentina has yet to fully embrace veganism, but there are now over sixty vegetarian or vegan restaurants in Buenos Aires. Don’t pass up the chance to discover more about the country’s outstanding wines from the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja. If wine’s not your thing, try maté, the traditional caffeine-rich tea brewed from the dried leaves of yerba mate. Be wary of home-made versions which occasionally have some interesting ‘herbs’ thrown in!
Argentina is so big that, whatever your interests, the country has something to offer, from tango lessons in Buenos Aires to narrow gauge railways winding their precipitous way through the Andes, from local markets filled with bustling Amerindian women with their distinctive multi-coloured costumes and stalls selling leather goods, pottery and empanadas.
Football fans should grab tickets to watch Boca Juniors, in Buenos Aires. They’re known for their on-pitch skills and off-pitch fierce rivalry with River Plate. If you need to get away from the constant buzz of the capital, head to Recoleta Cemetery, an oasis of calm paths lined with magnificent tombs, including that of Eva Peron.
Mendoza, in Argentina’s Cuyo region, is the heart of Argentina’s wine country and is particularly famed for Malbecs. The city has wide, leafy streets lined with modern and art deco buildings, and feels more relaxed than the capital. Many of the bodega wineries offer tastings and tours. Alternatively, hire a car and drive up to the Christ the Redeemer statue on the border with Chile. It’s a spectacular trip, but not for the nervous driver as you climb to 12,214 feet on a dirt track road.
Further north, Salta is a great base for exploring Las Salinas Grandes, the famous salt flats in Bolivia. You can discover how salt is mined and get some incredible perspective photos of the gleaming, high-altitude flats. The drive through the foothills of the Andes takes you through villages like Tumbaya and Volcan, where you can get a glimpse of true rural life.
From Oran in the north to Ushuaia in the south, Argentina is perfect if you have a taste for adventure!