Argentina/Brazil – Iguazu Falls
February 13, 2008
(February 9, 10) One of the “musts” in every travel book on South America is Iguazu, with its 200 to 300 waterfalls depending on the amount of water available in the lake that supplies them.
In order to see them from both the Argentinean side and Brazilian side, we spent two nights at the Iguazu Grand Hotel. This turned out to be a wise decision because everyone says the Grand on the Argentinean side is the best in the area but also because it is only 15 minutes from the airport on the Argentine side (there is also one on the Brazilian side where we landed on our two-hour flight from Rio).
The falls are quite magnificent, and on both sides the countries have gone to great expense to make the visit a comfortable one. Argentina has laid brick walkways and metal catwalks for access to some of the best views. Brazil’s walks are concrete but they have a glass elevator at the end of the trail to take you back up to get the park bus to meet your car. Evidently the falls on the second day of our visit were not at peak as the dams that control them scheduled a release for the day after our visit. Still they are awesome.
Now that we are in Argentina, the food and service, to us seemed quite different—more refined and more European than we had found in Brazil. Dinner in the hotel’s main dining room was interesting, with some capeletis in four distinct flavors for Gary and manioc-flour gnocchi for Varian. The hotel’s grillroom for another meal was less successful. The grilled chicken was tasteless.Our one dinner in town, at La Rueda, was a great steak experience. We had “bife de loma,” and found it tender and tasty. We shared the dinner with Marilyn and Darryl from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, also on a private tour of the falls whom we met standing in line waiting for the small-gauge open-air train back to the park entrance on the Argentinean side.
For wines, we particularly liked an Argentinean cabernet sauvignon, vintage 2004, from Bodega Norton.
Our two-hour flight out to Buenos Aries was delayed six hours so we checked our baggage, got our boarding passes and went back to the hotel to pass the six hours in much more pleasant surroundings than the small airport.