A 2 hour train journey, a 1 hour tube ride, a 13 hour flight, and 2 “so pleased I didn´t pay to see this at the cinema” movies later (!) we arrived in our first port of call- Buenos Aires.
From the air my first thoughts were blooming heck it is so flat! And it is, which after walking the city for the last 3 days is a god send. We we´re on a city introduction tour to ease ourselves into travelling so we had a bright, cheery man to pick us up from the air port. On the drive to our hotel, my second observation was that the for a city, Buenos Aires is very green. Lots of squares and parks and loads of trees. And these trees are tall…4 to 5 stories tall which make the houses almost look hidden under the canopy of green.
So after arriving at our hotel at 9am, we were out again by 10.30 to explore the San Telmo region of the city which plays host to a famous antiques market on Sunday. Now this market went on forever…it felt like a mix between Brick Lane in London, but without the tat, and an arts and craft fayre at a County Show, but not as overpriced! So we spent the morning wandering the street market, stopping off for some street food on the way for lunch- a chorizepan (aka sausage sandwich!)
On Monday, as part of our city introduction package, we got a bus tour of the city. Our guide did well to keep everyone happy in each of their languages, fair play. There were 2 Germas, 2 Brazileans, 4 Spanish and me and Hedd representing the English. The highlight of the tour was stopping off at the La Boca- the poorest neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. All the houses are painted in bright orange, blue, yellow, purple colours and couples dressed up in tango dress wandered the streets. In the afternoon we walked to Puerto Madero- one of the richest areas of Buenos Aires- which is location of the old dock warehouses which have now been turned into fancy offices, restaurants and apartments; much like the old Liverpool Docks mixed with the warehouses of Wapping in London; and treated ourselves to an ice cream! That evening we went out for what Argentina is famour for…Beef! We both had´Befe de Chorizo´, aka rump steak, and these things were thick. Needless to say we were stuffed afterwards!
Tuesday we walked alot! Walking down Av 9 de Julio (the widest avenue in the world apparently) we made our way to the French region of Buenos Aires called Recoleta in search of the resting place of Eva Peron (Evita). Now this isn´t as easy as it seems. We found the cemetry okay but the shrine/tomb was not marked on the cemetry map. So what followed was ´Challenge Anneka´/Índiana Jones´type mission to find her family tomb….alas in the end we followed a pair of old Spanish ladies who knew the way! The tomb was very unassuming, black marble, with red roses left by one of the many visitors she has daily. Afterwards we made our way to an adjacent park (there are lots in Recoleta!) where they has a massive art installation of a metal flower which is on hydrolics so in the day its petals are open, but at night they close. It was pretty impressive. We then tried to continue on this artistic appreciation with a visit to the National Museum of Fine Art….erm, went a bit over our heads! It didn´t help that the information boards were just in Spanish though and we stared meticulously at a Van Gogh painting for a while (the only artist we recognised!) so that redeemed us slightly!
The highlight of our 3 days in Buenos Aires has to be last night at Cafe Tortollini Tango show. It was amazing. We had to go down into the cellar at this Cafe and there we found lots of circular tables with the stage at one end. The show had its own band and tango singer and there were 4 couples dancing for an hour or so. I think the show had a story to it, about love, prostitution, money…but I think the detail got lost in the Spanish! But never the less we enjoyed it and it was a great way to spend our last night in Buenos Aires.
So today in Wednesday and we have a mamouth 18 hour bus journey to our next stop Puerto Madryn. Our bus leaves at 3pm and we get to our destination (hopefully!) at 9.10am tomorrow…ouch! I´ll let you know if we survived in my next entry!
Buenos Aires in a snapshot:
- Weather: 22-24 degrees with cool wind
- Food: Beef, pizza (big italian influence) and enpendadas (like cornish pasties!)
- Drink: Vino of all colours and Quilles (local beer)
- Craziest thing I saw a tourist do: Bike tour of the city (the roads are mad!)
- Oddest thing I saw locals do: Coffee to deliver (literally a waiter with a tray with coffee, sugar, milk all in china cups running to deliver to customer else where!)
Hedd´s words of wisdom:
It might not be necessary to learn Spanish after all. We seem to be doing ok on “abla ingles”, “hola”, “gracias” and “vino blanco” so far. We even managed to go into a DIY shop and buy a sink plug (we forgot ours). Might not sound too hard, but given the guy spoke no English and couldnt make out Helen´s drawings of a sink with a plug, we did very well!!
P.S. Photos to follow…I forgot my uploader!