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Published: June 27th 2010
Just behind this is a monument to the fallen of the Islas Malvinas. We took our pictures from this side.
We had given ourselves plenty of time to catch the bus from Posadas on the Argentinian side of the border as we expected hassles from our lack of Paraguayan passport stamp. But as things went smoothly we had plenty of time hanging out in another bus station.
But not quite as much time as we thought. For some reason Paul decided to check the time at five to eight, and with that sick feeling in the stomach was told it was five to nine. We had forgotten the hour time difference and our bus left at 8.45pm. Thankful of South American punctuality, we found our bus wasn't even in the terminal yet, but it took til well after the bus left for our heart rates to resume normal service.
Our bus company had promising pictures of champagne and whisky on its walls (and we had heard stories of aperitifs being passed round from other travellers) but all we saw was one Pepsi and one coffee in 15 hours before ariving in Rosario, birthplace of Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Most of the memorials to Che are a bit disappointing. The only indicator of his house is a hostel named after him
Our worst hostel so far
Sod's Law, when two hostels have the same name ... you pick the wrong one!
and the statue in the park is rather under-stated with little information about him or his life.
Rosario is a small enough city, but a bloody long walk from the bus station to the hostel owing to the fact Paul thought the hostel was somewhere else. A dozen blocks turned into thirty and Nic's sunny disposition turned a little overcast lugging a rucksack around in the heat.
As well as being home to Che, Rosario is home to the Monument to the Flag, an impressive tower with good views over the city. It's near the the memorial to the fallen of the Falklands conflict ... a sobering reminder that our two countries weren't just enemies on the football pitch in the 80s.
From Rosario we went to Buenos Aires was our final Argentinian destination. We spent a week there over the course of two visits (we popped into Uruguay for a few days in between ... like you do) and loved every minute, minus the 8 hours we spent in our first hostel.
Taking a recommendation we turned up at Hostal San Telmo, paid our money and got shown to our room. Sparse. The toilet (shared
Bright and friendly ... and Paul is in the photo too.
facility) filled so slowly between flushes that people got bored of waiting and just left their deposit on show for the next person to move on. As the shower was in the same room, we skipped the ablutions the following morning. Outside a plaque explained the building was once part of an upmarket neighbourhood, which got ravaged by Yellow Fever and those that could afford it got out. In their place, squatters who could afford nothing and chanced living in the plague zone moved in for free. Once the epidemic went away the rightful owners came back but were shot at and scared off by the criminals, prostitutes and lowlifes who moved in. Looks to us like they might not have ever moved on.
Anyway, a classic case of mistaken identity. We were supposed to be in the Hostel Inn San Telmo. We moved to Rayuela the next day and enjoyed it far more. We did bring with us a little momento though ... the bedbug bites!!
Rayuela was a fun hostel with great breakfast and a good mix of guests. The Uruguayans at the hostel were going on about their 4 World Cup wins (apparently they
At last a national holiday that we enjoyed.
count the 1924 & 1928 Olympic titles too) in a way that made 44 years for England pale into insignificance. They also drank a lot, partied a lot and dragged everyone else along with them.
La Boca may be rather down-market, but they know how to put on a show for the tourists. Tango going on everywhere, plenty of market stalls, restaurants and the colourful buildings for which it is famed. The football supporters were walkng the streets playing their usual anthems, devoid of a game at La Bombonera. Even Maradona was sitting around reading the newspaper ... well,a good lookie-likey.
The mood was a little more sombre in the Plaza de Mayo. The Mothers of the Disappeared are still meeting every Thursday for a vigil to their "lost" children, but after more than 30 years, one can't help but feel they will never get answers to the final resting places of children stolen from their beds by the military junta.
More upbeat were the bicentennial celebrations. We were lucky enough to be around for the first night of the party. Hundreds of people dancing, playing music and eating free ice-cream (from a stall that was always waiting for the next batch when we walked past it!). And to round off the evening, Christian (the hostel owner) was doing the cooking. Steak and chips supported by plenty of red wine served at nearly midnight - authentic Argentinian.
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