Wining And Dining And Repeating — Father And Son In Argentina

You may think now is the time to go to Argentina. I, on the other hand, have been making Argentina a playground of mine long before an anarchocapitalist got elected president.

Not only am I invested in having a great time in Argentina, I’m invested in promoting statelessness — so much so that I have my own vineyard and wine label, Apatrida (Spanish for stateless). So as we prepare to wrap up a father-son Latin America trip, get ready for quite the trek around wine country, including stateless wine country, with a lot of bottles on the menu and sides of delicious food and spectacular Andes backdrops. And throw in a big birthday too, plus a taste of other parts of this wonderful country. Vamos!

Crossing the Border

In case you need some catching up on my father-son trip through Latin America, we began our expedition in Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of the year, right after my trip to the South Pole. After a few days exploring Rio, we headed to the rainforest for an epic cruise down the Amazon River before heading off on a nice long road trip up the coast from Sao Paolo back to Rio again. We flew from Rio down to Foz do Iguaçu to see one of the largest waterfall systems in the world, where we took a boat into the rapids and had fun getting soaking wet. 💦

After exploring the Brazilian side of the incredible Iguaçu waterfalls, I hired a taxi driver who would take us across the border to see it from the Argentinian side. I’d heard that people often have to switch taxis at the border, but I wanted to make things easy for us, so I found an Argentinian taxi driver there on the Brazilian side who was happy to drive us back to his own country.

Technically, we just had to cross the border but in order to do that, we had to take a long detour. First, we had to go from the waterfalls back to the nearby town of Foz do Iguaçu, where we returned to our hotel by the airport to collect our luggage. It took almost an hour from there to cross the Brazilian border, get our passports stamped, cross into Argentina, and get our passports stamped there too. It was a relatively straightforward process even for my father, who is not particularly well-traveled.

Then we had to head all the way back to the waterfalls, which took another hour on the Argentinian side. Although the towns are practically right next door to each other, they are separated by the river, so crossing the border takes quite a while. There used to be a ferry that would take people across the river, but now they have a bridge that you can drive across. I’m sure the journey would have taken even longer and been more of a hassle if we had to take the ferry, but taking the bridge didn’t feel like much of a shortcut. 😒

Monkeying Around

On the Argentinian side of the waterfall, we stayed at the Gran Meliá Iguazú Hotel, which is the best (and the only) big hotel near the falls. From the hotel, you can see the waterfalls in the distance, and closer by, you can see a ton of monkeys.

A view of the falls from our hotel

There were so many monkeys all around the hotel, and some were even crawling along the rooms’ balconies. I booked us a room with a nice view of the falls and plenty of monkeys around. My dad got a great kick out of the monkeys, and he had the time of his life sitting on the balcony and luring monkeys over to him with peanuts from the hotel bar. At some point, he had a couple of monkeys hanging out on the balcony with him, and one sat on his shoulder and tried to steal his cigars. 😂 My dad had a lot of fun chilling on the balcony, taking in the views, and playing with the monkeys.

One of the many monkeys that made our acquaintance in Iguazú

By the time we got to our hotel on the Argentinian side, it was too late to explore the waterfalls, so we had a nice dinner at our hotel and went to bed early in preparation for the next day.

The Other Side of the Waterfalls

I woke up early the following morning to walk around the Iguazú Waterfalls. It had been my first time visiting the Brazilian side of the waterfalls, but I had already been here on the Argentinian side a couple of years prior. While it wasn’t my first time seeing it, the huge cascades of water still looked extremely impressive. As I mentioned in my last few articles, my father has some medical problems that make it difficult for him to walk very much. So, he stayed at the hotel to eat breakfast, enjoy the views, and taunt the monkeys while I explored the falls on foot.

Waterfalls and I have at least one thing in common…. We’re always moving!

In comparison to the Brazilian side, the Argentinian side of the falls was quite crowded. Overall, the Brazilian portion was much nicer because there weren’t so many people there. The Argentinian side was so packed with people that it was difficult to walk freely. It took me hours to do the hike around the waterfalls because I had to walk slowly to ensure that I wouldn’t bump into or trample anyone. 🙄 Nevertheless, it was still beautiful, and I had a great time there.

Checking out some smaller cascades around Iguazú

I met my dad back at the hotel after the waterfalls, and from there, we took a taxi to the airport. After a brief layover in Cordoba, we arrived in the city of Mendoza.

69 and Full of Wine

We spent our first night at a nice Park Hyatt Hotel complete with a casino.

The view from our hotel room in Mendoza wasn’t as nice as our view in Iguazú.

We walked around Mendoza a bit to see some of the sights. We went to see the big square in the city center, which had a big fountain with dancing water and some interesting buildings around the square. After walking around there for a while, we found a nice little bistro in the neighborhood to enjoy a delicious Argentinian dinner.

Argentinan sorrentinos are basically ravioli with mozzarella and ham. I washed down this heavy meal with a cold IPA, which is the only drinkable beer in the country.

The next day was my dad’s 69th birthday, and I was so happy that he was there to celebrate it with me in Argentina. Next year we’ll have a big party in Germany for his 70th, but I wanted to make sure he had fun celebrating his last birthday in his 60’s. 🥳 My dad loves good wine, so I planned a nice day (a few drunken days, actually) for him to enjoy lots of good vino.

A view of the Andes Mountains looming over wine country

On my dad’s birthday (and the day after that) we had fun going on many wine tours and tastings. We stayed for one night at The Vines Resort and Spa, or as it’s locally known, Los Vinos. It’s a very nice, very expensive hotel, and it was the perfect place to spend the night on my dad’s birthday.

The refreshing hotel pool

On our first day there, we went on a wine tour with a guide from Mendoza who has an American company. I always book my wine tours through him when I’m in the area because he knows how to organize a great tour in that region. This time, not only did he lead us on a great tour, but he was actually a bit of a lifesaver.

We had a problem the morning we arrived there because my father has diabetes and he didn’t bring enough medicine with him to treat it. I was very worried because diabetes can become deadly very quickly if it’s not properly treated, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Luckily, it turned out that our wine tour guide’s father was a doctor, and he was able to help us. We learned that you don’t need a prescription for diabetes medicine in Argentina, so we were able to get his medicine quickly and easily, and it was smooth sailing from there.

On our wine tour, we had the opportunity to explore some of Lujan de Cuyo, which is known for its wine production and is located right at the base of the Andes mountains.

A view of the vineyard framed by the Andes Mountains in Lujan de Cuyo

After exploring the area, we were dropped off at a winery about 90 minutes south of Mendoza. We visited several more wineries from there, where we tasted some wine and then drank a lot more. 🍷

At what point does it stop being a ‘wine tasting’ and become a ‘wine guzzling’ instead? 🤣

We had lunch at Finca Decero Winery, drank more wine there, and took a nice walk around the vineyards at Tierra del Malbec.

A nice lunch with no shortage of wine at Finca Decero

My Acre of Heaven

In the evening, we were dropped off at our hotel before sunset feeling nice and tipsy. We still had time to visit my own personal vineyard before the sun went down. The person responsible for my property took us out to see how my acre of Malbec grapevines were growing.

Welcome to Apatrida, my personal vineyard.

We walked around there for a while while they explained the status of my vineyard to me. They told me that there was a hailstorm in December that would cause a 20% decrease in the yield this year, but that the grapes were of a higher quality even though there were fewer of them.

My healthy Malbec grapes

After fermentation, my grapes will be aged for at least ten years to produce a high-quality wine. I’m glad that I started this venture while I’m young so that I’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor later in life. 😌

My dad quite enjoyed tasting my wine too!

We drank a few glasses of my wine, of course, and enjoyed the summer weather. The Andes mountains still had some snow on them, so the scenery was really beautiful even though it wasn’t particularly cold out.

A view of the snowcapped Andes behind my vineyard

When we got back from my vineyard, we went out to have a nice dinner at a nice local restaurant.

Wine Drunk

The next morning we took off on another wine tour in a different region. This time we went to the Uco Valley, which had lots of other wineries awaiting our visit. We spent another luxurious day drinking tons of wine and essentially getting very drunk. We also had a very delicious lunch at a great restaurant with a multi-course menu and, of course, an excellent wine selection.

Another good meal with my dad, this one at Bodega Andeluna Tupungato in Valle de Uco.

At some point, we switched hotels, although I can’t remember exactly why, thanks to the wine haze. I do remember that we had another amazing meal that night for dinner in Mendoza.

Taking in the beautiful Andean sunset at our first hotel

Back in Buenos Aires

We took a flight very early the next morning to Buenos Aires, where we would spend the final three days of our father-son tour through Latin America. Our trip so far had been wonderful, and we enjoyed Buenos Aires a lot to top it all off.

Saying goodbye to wine country after three days of guzzling wine

I had booked us an Airbnb in the neighborhood of Palermo because I expected my girlfriend Karina to arrive right after my father left, but she didn’t end up getting in until a few days later.

Welcome to Palermo!

So my dad and I got to enjoy a nice stay at the Airbnb, which had a great view and a hot tub too. It served as a great launching point for us to see some of the main tourist sights of Buenos Aires.

The hot tub at our Airbnb

I took my dad to my favorite local bar to drink some cocktails, and then we went for a reservation I’d made at a famous steakhouse called La Cabrera. We met some of my friends there and enjoyed eating delicious juicy steak. 😋

There were some nice desserts there too! These pies are called “pastafrola.” Would you prefer to try the strawberry or the sweet potato pie?

The next day we took a boat tour of the Tigre River, which is something I always do in Argentina. Just about an hour from the center of Buenos Aires is an area full of canals that flow into the Rio de La Plata nearby. To me, it feels just like a little Venice, but with much more nature.

Relaxing on the river

We took the boat tour with a guy that I knew out there because I had already done this boat tour at least three times. But this was special because it was my dad’s first time, and my friend Roman who’s usually in Paraguay joined us.

The quiet river

We enjoyed cruising through the canals together, eating some good cheese, drinking local wine, and taking in the scenery.

This was our last of many boat trips together in Latin America.

Later that afternoon, we explored more of the touristy parts of Buenos Aires, including going around some of the different harbors downtown.

Back in the touristy part of town

Our Last Days Together

The next day, we went to a nice old cafe for lunch and then visited a beautiful church in Almagro called Basilica Maria Auxilliadora y San Carlos.

The exterior of the church was beautiful….

This is the famous church that baptized Pope Francis and where his parents were married. It was very colorful and beautiful to see.

…. But it was even nicer inside!

At night we went to a very nice cigar lounge in the wealthy neighborhood of Recoleta. My father enjoyed smoking some cigars while I partook in a few cocktails. We also visited the famous cemetery of Recoleta where some old Argentinian presidents, Nobel prize winners, and Eva Perón were laid to rest. The cemetery was huge, and it was impressive to walk through. My dad took it easy because he has difficulty walking too much, but he still enjoyed exploring the old cemetery.

Taking in the views as we walk around town

We went back to the touristy waterfront of Puerto Madero, which was right near the bar and La Cabrera, where we had dined the other night. We walked to another bar from there to enjoy more drinks.

We found a cool hidden bar there called “The Hole.”

That night we had pizza at Güerrins, a famous pizzeria that’s almost a century old, to celebrate World Pizza Day. Güerrins always has a long line and it’s normally crowded inside, but it was particularly crazy on World Pizza Day.

Have you ever waited in such a long line for pizza?

Luckily we didn’t have to wait in line for too long because we were there earlier than the locals like to eat, but there was a line around the block by the time we were leaving. The pizza was delicious, anyway, and it was well worth the wait.

A good pizza is worth waiting for.

Goodbye for Now

After a few great days together in Argentina, it was already time to say goodbye to my dad. I brought him to the airport to see him off, and when we got there, he realized that he didn’t have any cash in euros for when he arrived back home. I tried to exchange his pesos for euros but it wasn’t possible, so I sent him back to Europe with a fat stack of Argentinian pesos. I don’t think he ever managed to exchange all those pesos back in Europe because no one wants them there.

My dad’s last chance to look back at the beautiful skyline before heading home

My dad took a direct flight back from Buenos Aires to Frankfurt, and he managed it well with no problems along the way. Overall, we had an amazing few weeks together on our big trip, and I was glad to give my dad the experience of traveling so far away from home in a country he’d always wanted to visit.

After saying goodbye to my father, I returned to my Airbnb and anticipated Karina’s arrival. The year was still young, and there were many more adventures to come…