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Published: February 11th 2009
Having spent a delightful week with family and friends in a largely cold and grey London, we finally set out on our long-awaited trip to the South Atlantic and Antarctica. Our first stop was Buenos Aires where we touched down around noon and emerged into warmth and sunshine - a much appreciated contrast to December London. Always eager to prove my credentials as a savvy and seasoned traveller (even if only to myself), I spent a rather pointless fifteen minutes saving ten Pesos on the first taxi fare we were offered. Mission accomplished, a mad cab driver hurtled down the outside lane of the autopista in third gear (was fourth just not working, like his air conditioner?), rushing us into the heart of the city where he dumped us with much grunting and sucking of wind outside the Hotel Elevage on Maipú Street.
While we made our own flight arrangements between Singapore, London and Buenos Aires we had booked the Antarctic expedition sector with Noble Caledonia, and had also taken advantage of their hotels and internal transfers in Argentina. The Elevage was an acceptably comfortable three-star hotel (our room was tiny), but brilliantly located a block from Calle Florida, the
centre’s main shopping street.
It felt great to be back in this unique South American capital, and I set out for a short walk (while Lisa, of course, took a nap) which ended up being a pretty hot two and a half hours’ stroll around nearby Plaza San Martin, down Calle Florida to Plaza de Mayo from where I circled leisurely back to the hotel.
In the evening we walked about ten blocks - stopping for some essential clothes shopping on the way - for dinner at Justo Corrientes, a meat restaurant overlooking the marina at Puerto Madero. We secured a lovely table by the water, and feasted on Argentine beef that ranks among the best in the world. We tried to kill a few calories by walking back to the hotel, but unsuccessfully, I fear.
Much of the next morning was spent shopping on Florida, Lisa filling in a few gaps in her cruise wardrobe. Later we walked to the Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco on Suipacha, only to find it didn’t open until 2:00 p.m. So we strolled on along Avenida Alvear to Recoleta where we lunched al fresco at Café Victoria in
the park on Calle Ortiz. We then tracked down Lisa’s favourite ice cream shop in the world, Volta (intersection of Quintana and Ayacucho), where it took her three attempts to find the flavour she had been looking forward to eating for seven years (for the record, it was Sabayon Italiano). After this we walked most of the way to the Museo de Bellas Artes before deciding a siesta would be more rewarding and taking a cab back to the hotel.
Lisa felt “eaten out” so in the evening I wandered down with my Herald Tribune to a neighbourhood brasserie a block east of Florida where I satisfied myself with a pizza and another Dulce de Leche ice cream. We organised ourselves for an early departure the next morning and were very soon asleep.Next ➤ ➤
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