One year ago, Sergio and I were starting the second week of a five week adventure, traveling through Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. We flew out of Boston the Saturday after Thanksgiving and in retrospect, I’m so thankful that we took this amazing trip last year and didn’t defer it.
Initially, we flew to Brazil to drop off holiday gifts at Sergio’s Mom’s home then hopped on a plane the next day to fly to Mendoza, Argentina to explore wine country. I’ve only visited wine country in Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California and Hepburn Springs and Daylesford just outside of Melbourne, Australia. Mendoza struck me as more refined than Australia but less busy than Napa and Sonoma. The city of Mendoza is the jumping off point for wine enthusiasts and it is where we stayed, making daytrips to Ucco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo. It’s a cute and clean town but it isn’t until you get out of Mendoza that you can really appreciate the natural beauty of the Andes Mountain range and wine country.
After a decadent few days in Mendoza, we flew to Córdoba, Argentina which has the distinction of being Argentina’s second largest city and home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jesuit Block. We stayed at the Azure Hotel near the Plaza de San Martin and explored the city as well as the surrounding area, making a day trip to La Cumbrecita and Belgrano. For those unfamiliar with Córdoba, it is depicted in the 2019 film, The Two Popes when they flash back to Pope Francis’ life as a Bishop in Argentina during the anti-Communist military dictatorship from 1976-1983 that cozied up with the Roman Catholic Church.
From there we flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina. This beautiful city is filled with great restaurants, beautiful architecture, gorgeous parks and a pulse that makes going out always fun. Sergio and I had visitied B.A. previously but not for many years so we used the week here to explore. For those unfamiliar with the city, it is the largest city in Argentina and of huge political, historical and cultural importance. A third of the entire country’s population lives in the metropolitan area. If you plan to travel to Buenos Aires and need tips, feel free to reach out. I can share what we did, where we stayed and places we enjoyed visiting.
After spending more than two weeks in Argentina, Sergio and I hopped a ferry to Uruguay, staying one night in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. The following day we rented a car and drove out to Undarius. Owned by Fran and Mario, this small property caters to gay travelers and is a 5 minute walk to the gay beach and a 15 minute drive to Punta del Este.
I had never heard of Punta del Este prior to planning this trip and think it caters more to affluent South Americans than Americans and Europeans, but this is a place you’ll hear of more in the future – mark my words. Despite my lack of familiarity, I did recognize the city’s most famous and photographed statue, “La Mano” or in English “The Hand”, which shows a large human hand emerging from the sand on Brava Beach.
Our final leg of this amazing adventure brought us back to Sergio’s hometown in Brazil, Belo Horizonte, spending 10 days with his Mom to celebrate the Christmas holiday. We spent our final three nights in to Sao Paulo, celebrating New Years Eve and starting 2020 poolside at the Renaissance Sao Paulo enjoying one last day of summer in South America before flying back to Boston.
This was an amazing trip, and I can’t help but reminisce. Thinking about what we were doing a year ago has been a healthy and happy distraction and is just one more reason I love to travel. Even if the trips must come to an end, the memories can last a lifetime.