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Published: August 24th 2019
It was Easter-break 2018 and it was time to leave Curaçao again for a bit. Thanks to a voucher with the airline whom I visited New York and Miami with, I got this flight basically for free. I just had to pay the taxes. Of course it was a long journey, first 2 hours and 45 minutes to Miami and then change for another 8 hours. But hey, it took me where I wanted to go: Buenos Aires
It was my second visit to Argentina's capital and largest city with about 16 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. My first visit was back in July 2010. The reason for my visit was to attend the wedding of my friend Gideon (Gidi), who I met in Vietnam back in 2008 and then again in Israel in 2013. Gidi was got married to Julia, his Argentine girlfriend. Several of their friends came from different countries around the world and they put signs with the names of places people came from to attend the wedding. Of course Curaçao was proudly showing! Even though I love and appreciate my friends, I must admit that if it wasn't for the airline voucher I probably wouldn't
have visited Argentina to attend the wedding. The flight prices suddenly became very expensive and I didn't think it was worth spending so much for just 2,5 weeks. Of course I was busy with the wedding and the activities, but I also had enough time to visit some places in the city. Being in Argentina it's funny to hear people speak Spanish with a different accent and using words such as "che", "vos" and "sos". I found Argentina more expensive compared to 2010, much more expensive than I thought. Inflation is high and there is an economic crisis going on. Nevertheless it remains one of Latin American wealthiest countries per capita, behind countries like Chile, Panama and Uruguay.
Buenos Aires is a busy, bustling city and surely worth a visit! The city has a strong European feel to it; with its neo-classical architecture but with a Latino tint.
You'll find many sights in and around the so called "micro centro", which is the city centre with its famous shopping-street "Calle Florida". It is a long, pedestrian mall which is always busy during the day. Not too far from the end of Calle Florida you'll get to the
Plaza de Mayo, the most popular square in the city where the late 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral is found. Another iconic building at Plaza de Mayo is the "Casa Rosada", the presidential palace. In English it means "the Red House"!
World's widest avenue is also found in Buenos Aires: "Avenida 9 de Julio". It refers to 9th of July 1816, date of the declaration of Argentina's independence from Spain. On the Avenida 9 de Julio you'll find the landmark of Buenos Aires which is "El Obelisco". This obelisk dates back to 1936 and it's a national, historical monument built in honour of the 400th year existence of the city.
Make sure to also visit the oldest neighbourhood of the city, San Telmo. The neighbourhood is elegant, well-preserved with a picturesque, Bohemian architecture. Here I visited the Mercado San Telmo, dating back to 1897 and wandered around the neighboorhoud for a bit. Puerto Madero is an old harbour-area that has been completely modernized and transformed into an attractive residential area with a marina, several apartment complexes, shops, restaurants and hotels. The well-known bridge "Puente de la Mujer" is also located here, built in 1998. There is also a little square
here called "Reina de Holanda" which means Queen of the Netherlands, named after princess Maxima Zorreguieta who is spouse to king Willem Alexander of the Netherlands. She is an Argentine, born to Jorge Zorreguieta who was a politician during the dictatorship of Jorge Videla.
One site that I found very interesting was "La Recoleta", a stunning cemetery built in 1822. Several of Argentina's elite-figures were buried there, including Evita Perón who was Argentina's first lady around 70 years ago. The cemetery has more than 4600 graves and marble mausoleums, all above ground. Most of time are beautifully decorated with little statues and built in neo-Gothic and Baroque style. When walking through the cemetery it really seemed like walking through a little city due to the tall mausoleums and paved streets. Several mausoleums have glass doors or windows which you could look through and see the coffins laying there! That was a very peculiar fact of this cemetery.
Going out was also part of the visit and we did this in the Palermo area, to the northwest of the city centre. Palermo is always busy during the weekend and boosts many cafes and clubs! And then there is
food course, didn't write about that yet. When you think about Argentina, you immediately think about meat! I am not a huge fan of meat but for those who are, Argentina would be paradise! People often do "asado's" at home (barbecue) where a lot of steak and chorizos are being eaten. These "asado's" belong to the Argentine culture just like "mate", a type of tea that is being drunk a lot and everywhere. You'll see people with their cup and a metal straw and a thermos flask under their arms .That is how much people love the "mate" here. I must be honest that I absolutely do not like mate, way too bitter for me.
Buenos Aires has a lot more to offer and has something for everyone. Other sights I visited in 2010 are the La Boca area, well-known for its coloured houses and the football-stadium of Boca Juniors called "La Bombonera". I also visited the El Tigre area, located at the Paraná delta. Furthermore I visited also Puerto Madryn in Patagonia, where you can see whales in the winter.
We were seven people in total; Gidi, Julia, four of their friends and I. We decided
to fly northeast towards the Misiones provice, a narrow piece of Argentina between Paraguay and Brazil. The next day we visited the Iguazú waterfalls
. Located in the Iguazú River along the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú is the largest waterfall system in the world! I love waterfall and I have seen many waterfalls (Niagara Falls, Angel Falls, Victoria Falls, Rhein Falls) but Iguazú is by far the most impressive of all! So much water, so much power, so much noise...wow! I couldn't get enough of it! The Iguazú waterfalls are located within a national park bearing the same name and to get to the falls, we had to travel a on a little train first and the rest we had to do by foot. The most impressive part was the so-called "Garganta del Diablo" (Devil's Throat) where you are able to see the water in full force and very up-close! At the end of our visit we took a boat-trip on the Iguazú River. This boat brings you very close to one part of the waterfalls and you will get wet, so go prepared! At first I had doubts to go on this boat (costs round US$60) but at
the end I dit it. Price is still ridiculously high though and I do not think it was worth that price. Either way, I was very happy to have experienced the Iguazú Falls.
Argentina is a huge country and I would love to visit the north and the south of the country one day; places such as Perito Moreno, Bariloche, Salta, Jujuy etc.
Prior to the wedding, from Buenos Aires, we took a ferry for a daytrip. Will write more about this one in the next entry!
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