We love to travel and even on our own holidays we are always researching and experiencing travel ideas to pass on to our clients! Own very own Mags travelled with husband Terry and friends to Brazil and Argentina ... here is his account of their adventure!
Flying down to Rio.... It just sounds so exotic. And it is - from almost everywhere in the city you are under the gaze of the magnificent Cristo Redentor atop Corcovado, soapstone arms outstretched, art deco robes draped over his 30 metre frame. The most romantic way up is by the little railway but unless you're really, really early and rather swift you will queue for some time. But it is so worth it. The view over Rio, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, is fabulous, even though it does include the sprawling, tumbling 'communities' (don't say favela!) that spill down the hillsides towards famous Copacabana beach.
Take a separate day to take the two cable cars (where James Bond famously fought Jaws!) up to Sugar Loaf mountain. Fabulous views again and great photo opportunities.
We drove along the coast to Paraty, the old Portuguese colonial center with cobbled streets and 17th- and 18th-century buildings dating back to the Brazilian Gold Rush. Pousada D'Ouro is a charming B&B where we took ages over breakfast, shopped till we dropped then lounged by the pool awaiting a restorative massage.
(Terry's always happy with a guitar in his hand!)
Boats and buildings in Paraty above
A three hour flight to Buenos Aires and you're in a whole different city, more European in influence but with tango in the streets. We had a guide for the morning who took us to the mausoleum of Eva Peron as well as the building where Madonna sang 'Don't Cry For Me, Argentina' from the balcony.
Another three hour flight and we were almost on a different planet in Patagonia! Vast sweeping landscapes rising to mountains and glaciers, long straight roads skirting turquoise lakes, hares leaping through the scrub, wandering guanacos (think llama's cousins ... ), winds so fierce you have to park into the wind or face losing the doors.
A long drive on gravel roads took us to Estancia Nibepo Aike, a working ranch. We milked a cow then drove to watch the Perito Moreno glacier (below) thunderously drop huge chunks of ice which float off as junior icebergs. Lights out in the estancia at 10pm - because that's when the power goes off until 8am for breakfast...
Another 3 hour flight and we checked in at the next estancia, La Quinta, just outside el Chalten, nestling against a backdrop of condors soaring over jagged peaks and glaciers. The drive this time was over rutted gravel tracks actually lower than the rivers they followed and included plank bridges barely wider than the car.
We ate the best, and possibly biggest, steak ever (about the size of a house brick) courtesy of the free roaming herd of Herefordshire cows at the estancia.
Then it was back to Buenos Aires for a final night of more steak and local artisan beer before the 13 hour flight back to Heathrow.
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