An open letter from Philippe Brown to Señor Presidente de la Nación Argentina, Mauricio Macri, on the subject of luxury bespoke travel in his country:
Estimada Snr. Presidente,
Forgive me if this impassioned plea seems a little forward. But to come straight to the point: My mixed parentage has given me dual nationality, British and French. While this is awfully handy, truth be told, I’d happily trade my French citizenship for that of the Argentine.
Let’s begin with the natural beauty of your country. From the tropical north to the barren glacial south, from the Andean peaks to the pampas around Buenos Aires to the roaring waterfalls of Iguazu – which I recommend approaching first by air in an ultralight, then from below by speedboat – it’s hard to think of a nation with a greater diversity of incredible landscapes.
I do have my favourites. The hiking and biking around Salta are amazing. The Península Valdés and its wildlife are treasures. There’s no finer view than across Lago Nahuel Huapí from lakeside Villa la Angostura. And I adore the historic estancias in ranch country – we’ve often arranged for travellers to settle in for a while, brushing up on their riding skills with the gauchos.
Then there’s Patagonia, from the Rio Colorado down to Ushuaia and over to the masterpiece of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Like my dear friend Hudson, I am a Patagonian at heart. In settling that wild region, your predecessors did well to invite the toughest Croats, Serbs, Basques, Spaniards, Italians – and, of course, the odd Brit. With such stock, it’s not surprising Argentina has always thrived despite adversity.
Amidst hardship in the early 1900s, you created tango, which has morphed into techno-tango (though our travellers prefer learning the old ways from a national champion). When things weren’t great in the 1990s, progressive architects revitalized parts of Buenos Aires that are now flourishing. Then there’s your cultivation of the Malbec grape, and the genius of vintners like Nicolás Catena Zapata and his colleagues around Mendoza and Salta (where I’ve often taken guests on exclusive winery visits).
What else? Visiting Evita’s grave with one of her descendants. Hiking in the Andes with an Argentinian woman who climbed Everest. Getting soccer tips from a national star in La Boca football stadium. I could go on. But the executive summary, Snr. Presidente, is that I’m in love with your country (as are our clients). So please have your officials forward all relevant paperwork, and I’ll hope that we can expedite matters at your earliest convenience.
Atentamente, P. Brown
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