Tuesday 13th Feb - Sunday 19th Feb 2012
13.02.2012 - 19.02.2012 28 °C
Having slightly refreshed from my hang over with a brief and not-so-comfortable sleep on the ferry, we arrived to Buenos Aires! (meaning 'good air' as apparently when the first settlers came here, they originally tried to live in a swamp basin, but were defeated by the local tribes and so re-located to higher ground, with cleaner air! Little factoid from George!) x
The hotel we stayed at was LOVELY... Juan took us for a walk around the main street (Florida Street) and for some lunch in the shopping mall. The lunch was served in a cantine style, with different types of food in little sections... we went for the stir fry option as I think everyone was starting to feel the lack of vitamins in their diet! I had a Salmon stir fry which was DELICIOUS and a fanta which was illuminous!
Juan then took us back for the briefing and outlined on a map all the main sights of the city, which neighbourhoods were safe to walk around and where the best places to eat/ shop etc were.
Hannah, Jess and I then went to get a traditional Argentinian snack called an Alfajoures, which is eaten with tea/coffee and is basically a sandich of two cake-like cookies with dolce de leche in the centre and coated in chocolate! NOM NOM!
After a quick shower, we met up in the hotel lobby for some dinner... Juan was seeing his parents that evening, but recommended a local steak house where you paid 105 pesos for all-you-can-eat steak and salad buffet, with a bottle of wine and a dessert included! The retaurant was in the posh marina area of the city, and was called 'Chase the Cow' (in spanish)... we walked through the city as the sun set, past the gorgeously affluent yachts and the bridge which is designed to represent two tango dancers (but in fact looks nothing like one!) x Dinner was delicious, and was a good laugh to be with everyone without Juan around.
Taxi back for bed... the air con in our room wasn't working, so was a rather sweaty night, but still comfortable... plus we had a TV with English channels, so Allison and I watched some 'Teen Mom' x
In the morning, I stayed at the hotel to check my bank on George's Ipad... my card was playing up at the HSBC and I was worried due to the people that had money stolen... but everything was fine and the machine let me withdraw money that morning, guess it was just having a little tiff!
Grabbed an activia and an Alphajoure for breakfast (healthy!) and then headed towards the north, to the neighbourhood of Recolletta with George, Hannah, Jess, Rachel, Rosie, Christina and Allison. Bought a ticket for a bus tour to get a feel for the area/ distances between sights then went to the square at the top of Florida street which has a monument to General San Martin, who got Argentina their independence.
The bus tour took us through the neighbourhood with a funny incredibly-English speaking man in our headphones, telling us what was around as we drove.
We stopped first at a little white chapel and saw a red phonebox. The chapel was cute but the most interesting and impressive sight was the grave yard next to it!
The guide explained that traditional Argentinian graves do not bury the dead underground, but instead, erect a small ornate house, with a single glass door at the front, with the coffin placed on display inside!!
Some of the grave-houses were BEAUTIFUL, with marble statues or carved stone/ iron mouldings decorating the outside... some were clearly VERY old and the most expensive one had solid gold tilling and crystals!
We saw Evita's grave, where she is lying with her husband, but I was a little disappointed with it... due to her status within the country I expected it to be amazing but it was just black marble with some metal plaques which had been donated in her memory... guess maybe the family didn't have enough money for a fancy one!
Back on the bus we passed the silver flower, which is a sculpture made of silver-coloured metal that is solar powered and opens/closes with the sunlight! Pretty cool idea I thought! We also drove past the botanical gardens and the planetarium.
That evening was the fairwell meal for everyone to say goodbye... we dressed up nicely and went to a Tango show! It also happened to be Valentine's Day so Juan bought us all a red rose (except George) x
Tango lesson was first, where we learnt the basic box step and then the figure of 8... there were several men so we actually got to practise the dance in a pair once we'd learnt the steps... we even had to learn the tango pose for the end of the routine which involved wrapping your leg around the man and making your 'tango face' (no smiles... smouldering!) was GREAT fun and only marginally embarrassing! After our lesson, we had a three course dinner, lots of red wine and watched a tango show with the professionals which was a highlight of the trip so far!
Rachel, Jess, Hannah and I were too excited once it had finished that we decided to continue the party in an Argentinian club called KIKA, which was fun, but expensive and they didn't play the best music selection! Finally getting to bed around 4am!
Had a lie in the next day and met the same group as yesterday at 12pm to visit the La Boca neighbourhood, which is known for it's tango, particularly 'Caminito Street' which again, has lots of brightly coloured houses and cafes where they have live bands and tango shows! Bought myself a photo as a souvenier! :-D x
Back to town for lunch, where we bought 'empanadas' which are traditional argentinian snacks... very much like a pasty!
Then George and I had to check out the hotel and make our way over to Millhouse Hostel, which is very party-orientated but has no air con!
We checked in, then went to say goodbye to the others who were leaving the next day! Sad that we won´t be together anymore, but have made some great friends! x
George and I were in the same room at Millhouse so we went for a little walk and got some Chinese for dinner, before a few drinks at the hostel and an early night... no covers though as it was BOILING! x
The next morning I woke up early to meet Bree for breakfast so I could say goodbye properly! Then George and I walked down to see the congress building and then the big shopping mall called 'Abasto' for a McDonalds chocolate sundae (a BIG feature in my time in BA!)
]we then got the D-line subway to the furthest stop at the end of town and walked through the lagoons/nature reserve in the north of the city and back past the planetarium and silver flower... my feet were starting to ache, so we got a bus back to the hostel just as the weather turned nasty... HUGE thunder storm and then absolutely terrential rain by the time we went for dinner!!
The next few nights, to save some money, we made ourselves pasta at the hostel instead, which was great! x
At the weekend, George and I chilled out, the weather wasn't getting much sunnier, so we spent our days looking around the markets in Recolleta and San Telmo for anything worth buying... saw these awesome coins from all over the world which had bits of the metal cut out of them to make them into interesting pendants, but they were VERY expensive, and would probably just end up in a draw so I didn't bother to buy them.
I've had an AMAZING time in South America so far... with highlights defo being the boat trip in Paratay, the markets in Uruguay and the Tango show/lessons I´ve had in Buenos Aires! (hopefully I will remember the steps!)
Things I am going to miss:
- Eating cake as part of every meal in Brazil.
- The sunshine and the beaches, and 30+ degree heat!
- Having a consistent group of friends to chat to and explore with.
- The tango!
Things I am not going to miss:
- RUDE Brazillian people.
- The inability to communicate past basic phrases.
- Being dribbled on consistantly in the street by Air Con vents!! YUCK!!
Really looking forward to Australia... lets hope it's even better than South America has been!! xx