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Published: March 2nd 2009
Day 673 (31.01.09)
After our almost sleepless night on the bus we arrived in BA in the early afternoon and opted for the easy taxi option to find our way to our hostel. After having a bit of a chat with the fella behind the desk we chucked our stuff in the room and went straight out to Recoleta, one of the areas of the city famous for, amongst other things, it's weekend market.
After stopping off to get some lunch we spent an annoying time trying to get some coinage for the bus machine (everywhere else you try and get rid of the weighty coins, in cities you can't seem to get it for love nor money! Pun intended!). Coins in hand we eventually found ourselves rolling across town.
Walking through the local market, we pored over stalls filled with the usual excellent tourist tat and enjoyed a few good ones as well! We found our way to one of the local churches with a historic basilica before taking a walk around the area's big tourist draw, the cemetery. Yes, I said cemetery you're not mistaken. This however was quite an experience! Unlike any other cemetary we
haver seen before, it was filled with the biggest, most elaborate, tombs and sarcophagi with scupltures and stained glass windows adorning many of them. This must be prime 'tomb' real estate as it provided the final resting place for several historic and political figures including the world-renowned Evita.
After walking around and getting a little lost in the maze of mausoleums we found our way out and jumped on a bus home.
Day 674 (01.02.09)
Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest so we did just that. We dragged ourselves out of bed for breakfast and then headed back for another snooze - how very lazy of us! Our excuse is the amount of long buses we've taken in the last few weeks!
Sunday is also a day for the famed San Telmo Antiques market and so, finally getting up, we headed over to this charming little cobbled district to see what was happening. The market was abuzz with locals and tourists alike trawling the many stalls for that special piece all accompanied by plenty of street musicians and performers. We had a fantastic time elbowing our way through the crowds to get a
look at what was on offer - anything from leather horseriding stirrups, to jewel-coloured crystalware, to old gramophones, to vintage books and records - you name it!
Day 675 (02.02.09)
In the spirit of the last couple of days where we'd had our BA adventures in the afternoon we opted for another lazy morning. This was to become a habit that wouldn't change for our whole time in BA!
Finally setting out we hopped on a bus to the La Boca region of town. This is one of the city's poorer districts so we'd been warned not to go at night and not to wander far from the tourist areas. We began at Calle Caminito, a must visit place in BA which, despite being filled with shops containing the usual touristy stuff and touts trying to drag you into their establishment, is really good fun.
The streets around the area are lined with corrugated iron houses painted in an almost cartoon-like rainbow of colours making it extremely eye-catching and original. Bars and restaurants teeming with visitors put on tango shows spilling out onto the streets to entertain you as you eat, drink or just wander. It
was very touristy but a superb place to potter for an hour or so.
After taking in the sights and sounds of the streets we took our walk past the world famous Boca Juniors Stadium before continuing onto the recently redeveloped Puerto Madero dock area and more walking.
With our flip-flopped feet starting to ache from the amount of walking we had packed into the afternoon we walked back through the cobbled streets and cute plaza of the San Telmo region home for a welcome sit down.
We had been recommended a restaurant called La Cabrera to eat at in Buenos Aires and after weighing up whether a posh dinner out would fit in our budget, decided that we would use some of Mark's birthday money to go out for the evening (Thanks again Mum and Dad Smith and Cath and Pete). We'd had plenty of steak which we'd cooked ourselves with it being so cheap to buy here in Argentina but we hadn't yet been out for steak and this tipped the balance for us! After scrubbing up and looking pretty respectable for our treat we jumped on the bus to Palermo to find the eatery.
The restaurant was lovely and the food was absolutely superb. Starting with some amazing dips and bread and moving onto a HUGE slab of mouth-wateringly juicy steak accompanied by 11 or 12 different side dishes. As we ate a storm arrived in town and we were entertained by the lightning flashing the sky purple every few seconds. We waddled away stuffed and with the rest of our beef to take home - yes, it was that big. A wonderful night out!
Day 676 (03.02.09)
We had planned to experience a bit of the renowned night life in BA and although our hostel, Hostel Sol, was cheap, clean and friendly, we thought it a bit quiet and opted for a change of scenery and another hostel recommended by one of our travel buddies. Once again slapping the bags on our backs we found Hostel Estoril (floor 6) and checked into an amazing room contained in a turret on the roof of one of the city's central buildings. Although it was a little more expensive than our other place, if you are in Buenos Aires, we would highly recommend this place as it's funky, friendly and we were immediately
made to feel at home. It has a really social atmosphere and a superb rooftop terrace, a winner in our opinion!
Fully moved in and having had a good chat to the guys from the hostel about what to see and where to go, we opted to jump on the underground once again headed to Palermo. We walked around the tree-lined streets, passing by plenty of cafes, restaurants and cute little shops. Hunger hitting we found a great place, the Pekin Cafe, for an empanada (kind of a small pasty) or two before heading down to the park for yet more walking next to it's ornamental lake and large rose garden topped off with a relaxing lie down and much chatting.
Back to the hostel we cooked some dinner and washed it down with a couple of beers and an evening on the terrace talking with our fellow hostel mates.
Day 677 (04.02.09)
You can already guess how the morning went but in the afternoon we went out to the cheap shopping area around Plaza Miserere to replace a couple of Mark's deteriorating t-shirts before going for a picnic in Plaza Del Mayo overlooking the grand
Casa Rosada and the balcony where Evita famously spoke to crowds gathered in the square beneath.
With evening drawing in we joined in the excellent evening BBQ that was being organised by the hostel and ate more meat than is healthily recommended assisted by a couple of beers/wines. The evening progressed out to a great club called Museum (designed by Mr Eiffel of tower fame) where frivolities and much dancing ensued.
Disappointingly the club closed at 3am (very early for Argentina) and we struggled to find anywhere else to go, deciding the best option was to take the party back to the hostel's terrace. The evening continued and as the sun came up finished with a dip in the hostel's (paddling) pool - all in all a textbook night out!
Day 678 (05.02.09)
As the prevous evening's extravagances had finished at 9am, the morning was a bit of a write off - no surprise there then. As the day continued with some persistent rain we didn't feel guilty spending the rest of the day relaxing with a couple of films.
With Buenos Aires being the home of the Argentinian Tango, we couldn't be here without
Evita's tomb, the most popular in the cemetery
testing it out. We thought combining a lesson and a show would be the best approach and booked an evening at Complejo Tango with another couple from our hostel.
Unfortunately proceedings were delayed by a protest that made its way noisily beneath our window, but we were eventually picked up and taken for the lesson.
It was great to give it a go. It was a little limited as to what you can learn in one short lesson in a relatively big group, but we were able to learn the basic steps and get a flavour as to what it was all about. Not paying for the dinner, as it was a little rich on our budget, we went out for a meal around the corner before returning for a spectacular show performed by six dancers and two 'crooner' singers expressing the history of tango in Buenos Aires. We sat enthralled by this passionate dance with it´s signature leg twining so fast the dancers' legs were a blur. The flashy footwork, lifts and spins were truly breathtaking - it was superb and a must if you are here and like shows or dancing or probably even if you
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