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Archive for argentina

The End of the World Train

By Linda Tancs

There’s a certain finality to Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego National Park, the southernmost tip of the Andean-Patagonian forest, a place where a particular variety of red fox resides and birch forest predominates. It’s there that you’ll find the final part of the Andes. It’s also where you can catch the End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo), a historic, narrow-gauge steam railway journey between Ushuaia (commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world) and the park. The hour-long journey (one way) presents stunning vistas accented by the Pipo River, Macarena cascade, a tree cemetery and the forest. An onboard audio tour is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and the train runs year-round.

Argentina’s Final Frontier

By Linda Tancs

The southernmost city in the world and the gateway to Antarctica, Ushuaia is Argentina’s final frontier. In the past, the town has been a missionary base, a penal colony and a naval base for the Argentine navy. Perched on a steep hill, it’s surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel, where adventures with penguins and orcas await. It’s also a prime site where “the longest night in the world” is celebrated. Although the festivities continue from June 20 through June 22, the longest night of the year and the winter solstice take place in the Southern Hemisphere on June 21. That’s the focus for the city’s festival, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists. A key event is a “burning of obstacles and impediments,” wherein participants write down all the difficulties that have prevented them from fulfilling their goals. The papers are then thrown into a large bonfire on the solstice night.

Raising the Flag in Rosario

By Linda Tancs

The National Flag Memorial in Rosario, Argentina, is a monumental complex built near the shore of the Paraná River. The Tower commemorates the May Revolution of 1810, which started Argentina’s War of Independence. An eternal flame burns in honor of the war dead. Unlike other cities, the Argentine port supported the war, and it was there in 1812 that Gen. Manuel Belgrano hoisted the first Argentine flag. The memorial was inaugurated on June 20, 1957, the anniversary of Belgrano’s death.

To the Moon and Back

By Linda Tancs

The shorebird Rufa red knot pursues an annual migration that, over the course of an average 13-year lifespan, represents a journey to the moon and back.  Well, almost.  The average distance to the moon is 237,000 miles; the average red knot will have traveled over 194,000 miles over a lifetime–breeding in the central Canadian Arctic and wintering in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, an exodus of roughly 14,950 miles each year.  But of course there are outliers.  Like the so-called Moonbird, calculated to be at least 21 years young and to have traveled a whopping 400,000 miles.  And that’s no April Fool’s joke.  Undoubtedly, Moonbird is the king of long-range fliers in the avian world.

Beautiful Music in Buenos Aires

By Linda Tancs

Acoustically, Teatro Colón is one of the world’s best opera houses.  One reason is because the orchestra pit, accommodating up to 120 musicians, is treated with a resonance chamber and special curves for the reflection of sound.  Another reason is the horseshoe-shaped hall.  But the music isn’t the only beguiling feature of this music hall, boasting a majestic flight of stairs, sculptures and stained-glass windows.  They say there’s a secret in every corner of this architectural gem, like the underground rehearsal rooms.  Take a guided tour to uncover more of its charms.

The Highs and Lows of South America

By Linda Tancs

In Argentina, you can truly experience the highs and lows of South America.  That’s because the highest and lowest points of the continent are found there.  Mount Aconcagua is the highest point at 22,837 feet.  Less than 10 miles from the Chilean border, the summit beckons via the northern route, a non-technical climb devoid of axes, ropes and pins.  The lowest point is the Valdes Peninsula at 131 feet below sea level.  This whale-watching destination in the South Atlantic, one of the largest mating grounds in the world, is renowned for its conservation of marine mammals.

 

Two to Tango

By Linda Tancs

In Buenos Aires, Argentina you can shake off the winter blahs (and those chilly temperatures accompanying many parts of the globe) at the annual tango festival now through 16 March. Originally the dance of poor dockworkers, the popularity of the tango is evident in the number of worldwide festivals honoring this steamy Latin dance.  So why not go back to the source and experience its flavor and flair for yourself in the city that made it famous.  Rhythmically challenged or not, there are dance lessons, as well as exhibitions, concerts and dancing displays.

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