Like the winged creatures from which the feathers of our most favorite enticements are made, when winter comes, some of us migrate south.
Rather than stand in bone-chilling Pacific Northwest steelhead streams (like my friend Steve Kyle) freezing our tushes off while icicles form from our ears and nose, we choose to ply our avocation in more salubrious climes.
That is why Dottie and I, along with Sonoma friends Chad Overway, Jeanne Montague, and Tom and Debbie Engle, are in Argentina, where there are so many big and willing trout in the rivers that we can call it “catching” rather than fishing. Or so we hope.
Our eventual destination is northern Patagonia near the village of San Martin de los Andes. Our migratory route requires a stop in Buenos Aires, where we intend to spend a few days getting reacquainted with the language and cuisine of Argentina.
For Dottie and I, this is a reprise of our trip here five years ago. Once again, we chose to arrange it through Rachel Andras, of Andras Outfitters, who did such a fantastic job of setting up our first trip. Rachel and her husband, Jim, both have experience as guides down here. They still maintain strong connections with the fly-fishing lodges and guides in Patagonia.
Buenos Aires, is sometimes referred to as the “Paris of South America,” and it does have some of that architecture, including stone facades of 19th-century townhouses, grand civic buildings and a wide boulevard.
But aside from that, Buenos Aires has its own distinct culture, style and vibe that is, if comparable at all to Europe, is more Italian, than French.
Folks born and raised in Buenos Aires are called “porteños.” The word comes from the fact that it is a port city and they are denizens of that city. They are the children and grandchildren of immigrants, many from Europe. They are fashion-conscious, hip, active and love to eat out for virtually every meal. As a consequence, BA is filled with thousands of wonderful places to eat, especially if you are a carnivore.
They are also night-owls (dinners normally start at 9:30 p.m.), and they love to party.
Speaking of which, it is carnival season here right now. Virtually every weekend in February and in almost every one of 35 neighborhoods in the city, there are evening celebrations called “murgas.” Imagine dozens of wild, dazzling musical parades, filled with happy, colorfully costumed porteños marching and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. These may fill our nights here.
We also plan to take some city tours with Pablo Piera, a guide we met on our first trip here. Pablo loves his city and his enthusiasm is catching.
It will not be a restful stay, but if rest we must, our hotel is located virtually next to the Recoleta cemetery, in which many famous Argentinians are entombed near Eva Peron. It is a quiet and restful place after an evening of murgas.