Home > Argentina > Alta Gracia, Che and the Condors.

Alta Gracia, Che and the Condors.

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

In search of highlights and educational opportunities, we head out to Alta Gracia, a well known Jesuit Estanza. Given the slow roads, we arrive 45 minutes before it closes for the siesta, it is a whistle stop tour. As it turns out, 45 minutes is plenty, we even have 5 minutes spare! The collection of about 10 rooms (each about 3m by 3m) has a bit of history in each, from pre-Incan, through the Jesuits to the 19th century. The place has a nice farmstead feel with a cloistered courtyard, but it struggles to reach “highlight” status.


low key, but very pleasant

overlooking the 16th century pond

Moving on, we track down where Che Guevara lived for a number of years as a child and stumble upon an understated but very sensitive museum where we try to explain to the children,  with our limited knowledge, whether Che was a good or a bad guy. No conclusions reached, so we pose for a few pictures next to where Fidel Castro once visited and head back to the car to get lost in the labyrinth of streets devoid of signage.

La Poderosa ("The Mighty One")

playing around with Che

Fidel -jumping on the bandwagon and turning up late - again.

As we are within striking distance, we drive over the Sierra to the “Valley behind the hill”, across the vast plain and up to the Sierra Grandes to the Parque des Condoritos. We climb higher and higher until we reach around 2500 metres, and without warning are rewarded by a pair circling condors high overhead. These birds are massive, with a wingspan of over 3m they are the heaviest flying bird in the world. As we pull over to watch, we are joined by a further 3 or 4 black chested eagles. All considered, this is pretty exciting, and given that most places around here do not match the guide book hype, this bit did so we watch a little longer before heading back down the chicanes, to be greeted by a paraglider landing his parachute thing on the road in front of us. As a matter our courtesy we did not run him over, and with our quota of exciting events reached, we head for home.

high altitude view back over the condor reserve where we had just come from

day in one - view back to the estanza over the pond, kids with Che and one of "THE" Andean Condors.



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