The Travel Log


The Travel Log shares travels and adventures by fellow classmates near to home or far away. 

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Share your travels  ........ You don't need to travel great distances to make a vacation special.  Share your vacation with our classmates. 

Taking in the culture, sights, sounds & fly fishing, too

Jeanie and I arrived in Buenos Aires this past Tuesday morning for an approximate 3 week visit to Argentina.  The initial idea for the trip was fly fishing in Patagonia, one of the great trout 

 fisheries in the world. And, since Argentina is such a long airplane ride (10 hours from Miami) we decided to expand the trip beyond the fishing and stay a while.

Buenos Aires (BA to the locals) is a world city; historical, cosmopolitan and mainly populated by European immigrants.  The Spanish created a port city here in  the early 1500’s on the banks of a river that they they named Rio de la Plata, to ship their gold, silver and other South American loot back to Spain.

The  enormity of Rio Plata is difficult to comprehend.  Its headwater is in the Andes on the western side of the South American continent, and flows through the Brazilian jungle before emptying into the South Atlantic.  BA is approximately 200 miles from the Atlantic and at this point the river is approximately 30 miles wide, across to Uruguay on the other side.

We used an in-country travel organizer for this trip and Alex turned out to be invaluable in navigating and understanding BA.  The place is huge!  Alex took us on private tours of the neighborhoods each day for a few hours, and then Jeanie and I would walk on our own for a few hours.

City Centro is the original Spanish fortress and city, and is now where most of the national government is situated.  The square shown in picture (left) with Alex and Jeanie is the historical Spanish center of government for South America, with the original viceroy palace shown in the background, and still in use.  On the other end of the square is the current presidential palace (similar to our White House); the “Pink Palace”(picture below-right).  This is where Eva Peron addressed the masses, from the balcony just below the flag pole.  However, unlike in the musical. “Evita” did not sing to the Argentinians.





La Boca (picture below)  is where European immigration started after Argentinian independence from Spain in in 1810.  Most of the immigrants were poor Italians who arrived and settled in the port area, creating a slum of hovels constructed from ship’s timbers and metal siding; however lightened with the brightest paint available.  The area remains a slum today, with most of the original hovels still used as housing.

La Boca is most famous for the tango, the music and dance of Buenos Aires, that evolved from the whore houses along the docks.  Jeanie checked one of  her  must-do’s off by hooking up with a “hottie” instructor for some tango lessons.  And NO, the guy standing to Jeanie's right in the picture was not part of the tango lesson!

Tango and opera are both highly developed entertainment in Argentina.  We took in tango shows in the evenings and the professional productions reminded me a lot of operatic performances that I’ve seen, however with much more sensuality.

Recoleta is one of the more upscale areas of BA and is known for its cemetery that is now a  major walking park and tourist attraction.  Cementario de la Recoleta is the historical burial ground for the rich, powerful and famous. It’s approximately 15 acres containing 6,400 elaborate tombs and mausoleums.  (Picture on right) Jeanie and Alex, along with throngs of tourists from around the world, are walking along a “street” to Evita’s family mausoleum.

BA really is a charming place that reminds me many Italian cities, including being very seedy in places.  This seediness is made by the friendly, energetic Portenos (residents of BA) and the thousands of acres of stunning parks (picture below with Jeanie standing in the walkway) throughout the city.  The Portenos are outdoors people and make good use of this resource.  It is high Summer this far south of the equator and with the effect of Rio Plata, very hot and humid (102 yesterday!)

We are leaving BA this morning, Saturday, to fly out to San Martin de los Andes and eventually the Patagonia River Ranch for a week of fly fishing.


It’s Saturday, Valentine's Day, and we’re leaving the Patagonia River Ranch this afternoon after a week of fly fishing.

PRR is a destination fly fishing lodge near San Martin de Los Andes, situated on approximately 120,000 acres of cattle land, with 7 major rivers running through and nearby.  The rivers all flow out of Parque Nacional Lanin in the Andes and are crazy-full of large, wild Rainbow and Brown trout……..a world-class destination for serious fly fishermen. 

The ranch, 20 miles from the nearest town, is self-sufficient with its own power system, livestock for meat, vegetable garden, fruit orchards, etc., and was an absolute great time.  There were 14 guests, a full house, during our week with 35 staff to look after us.  Among the staff were 7 fishing guides to take us out chasing the wily trout and 5 gauchos who managed the ranch-owned livestock.  Jeanie is not fond enough of the fishing to spend 10 to 12 hours each day on the river so took full advantage of the hikes, horseback touring, local cooking classes and other activities.

The fishing days were full, with long distances floating down the rivers.  Because of the limited 

road network, the takeout (or put-in) usually required a long drive to/from the ranch; sometimes up to 2 hours.  The rivers are large, and can get quite deep, so much of the fishing was out of the drift boat.  Drift boat fishing is not my favorite, however there was plenty of opportunity for wade fishing in some of the shallow, fast water (much more to my preference).  The real challenge was trying to make long, accurate casts in the high winds of 25 to 35 mph.

Even with long days, heat and high winds the fishing was great.  Big (15 to 25”) trout and lots of them!

PRR is a 5 star operation, including the food.  River lunches were also interesting, however the one shown here was over the top.  Jeanie fished this day, just to experience the river food.  The young man at the table is Juaquin, son of the master chef, Claudio. 



   I’m tired.Argentina is famous for meat meals, usually cooked over an open fire.  This was one of the evening meals at PRR; a cookout, or asado.

We fly off to Mendoza today for 5 days of touring the wine country and driving up in the Andes.


We’re back at the Mendoza Airport this afternoon, Thursday, February 19th, on our way to Buenos Aires and then an overnight flight back to Miami.

We had a great  time in the Province of Mendoza over the past 5 days, mainly touring wine estates and exploring the Andes foothills.  I did not quite understand and plan for the vast distances, so our Andes drive up to the border with Chile did not happen due to time constraints.

Argentina is the 5th largest wine producing country in the world, with many unique grape varietals, dating back to the Spanish Jesuits of the mid-1500’s.  Jeanie and I enjoy wine and decided to include Mendoza as part of our stay in Argentina to see another part of the country.  Approximately 500,000 acres of grape production stretching from the towns just south of Mendoza City, through the Valle de Uco, and 150 miles south to San Rafael are used in the province’s wine production.  We covered much of it during our touring.

The area is basically a desert that has been cultivate over the centuries by a clever system of aqueducts and canals, many dating back to Indian civilization, before Spanish colonization.  In addition to wine production, Mendoza Province is a vast orchard of apple, pear, peach, plum, and walnut trees.         

A highlight of our stay in Mendoza City was our bed and breakfast in Lujan de Cuyo.  Alberto and Maria converted their farm to a walled-in oasis of gardens and fruit orchards about 10 years ago.  What hospitable and gracious folks, and their Casa Glenenias was quite a find.  This was our base for 3 days of exploring around Mendoza City and the Valle de Uco.      

Wine touring and tasting in Argentina is a gastronomical “combat” sport.  Unlike in California, we were served and expected to taste all of the wines in each estate that we visited……each a healthy pour.  And, the food served was excellent.  I was pretty much “tipsy” after the second stop at 12:00 noon.  Fortunately Octavio, our guide, and Carlos, our driver, helped move things along.  As you can see from the following, the settings  were quite nice, and Jeanie and Octavio are completely relaxed.    

We rented a car and drove the 150 mile south to San Rafael.  Another opportunity to learn how to drive like a “crazy” native (Argentinian).  Much of this drive is just east of the cultivation and is a desert that reminds me of driving across Nevada.   

Our 2 day stay in San Rafael was at the Algodon Wine Estate.  The San Rafael wine production climate is much hotter than Valle de Uco and Mendoza City, with the resulting wines being much more intense, and much more to the traditional Argentina taste.  The trip down to this area was worth the drive and the Algodon property very comfortable. 

Like many of mine and Jeanie’s trips abroad, we have just scratched the surface of Argentina, even after almost 3 weeks here.  It is a beautiful country with very friendly and gracious people, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here.  Meals and food are a focus of life in Argentina, and we ate well, and very I expensively at all of our stops.  And, we have really appreciated the warm, sunny climate while our neighbors in Ann Arbor shoveled snow and dealt with -15 degree nights..

Last night at dinner we met a couple from Vancouver, British Columbia who left home in early August and were on their way back up the South American continent from Tierra del Fuego……in a pickup truck!  They’ve traveled 23,000 miles from Vancouver, making much of it up as they go.  I’m intrigued with their experience, so maybe that’s our return trip to Argentina and South America.



Robert and Jeanie motorcycle tourin the Pacific





Northwest. (click here for library copy






The Schultz African Safari- 2010

    Read about the adventure



Paul and Molly in the Canadian Rockies
September 2010

Click here to read the story

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Looking for past Travel Logs? You'll find them in the Library .

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey."  (John Hope Franklin)