sho sho sho, what an eventful couple of days! It really is hard to believe that this time last week we were still in SA!
The looong flight was painful – made worse by loud obnoxious kids all around us. Arriving at the airport and making our way through customs then through the arrival terminal, didn’t quite prepare us for coming through the doors and being bombarded with touts from the loud Spanish taxi drivers! Thank goodness we got chatting to a fellow SA lady in the customs queue who guided us towards the bus kiosk and helped us purchase our tickets to the city.
I love seeing a city for the first time – seeing how different everything looks but still so similar to home. The view of Buenos Aires through the bus window was unfortunately a little shrouded by the rainy weather but we nonetheless saw glimpses of the buildings and city skyline. The bus service dropped us off right in front of our hostel, which made us extremely grateful to say the least.
Our first day was unfortunately marred by us losing our camera on the plane. We realized this all too late and it
Ideal Social Hostel
Our home away from home
was also obviously not left at lost n found. This put a damper on our spirits somewhat but we didn’t let it get us down for too long. We had a city to explore! Thank goodness we have our trusty point n shoot.
Our first night was a first-rate intro to this passionate city! After getting to our hostel late, we headed down to the nearest pizza place for our first meal of the trip (obviously excluding airplane food -bleh). Sheesh, within 20 minutes the place was teaming with blue and yellow clothed acne covered teenagers singing, chanting and waving flags. Yes, we had stumbled into the finals of the local football championships – La Boca Juniors versus some team from Brazil. We were jet lagged, exhausted and still so overwhelmed with being on the other side of the world – we gobbled down our beers and pizza (well, pretty much a loaf of bread with some tomatoe sauce, cheese and ham, yep, world’s thickest base pizza!) and hot stepped out of there before getting caught up in the craziness. And thank god we did, as we heard the following day that the local La Boca’s had lost –
Our hostel is in a fantastic position – right in the middle of the city and everything is walking distance. A scrumptious breakfast is also included - consisting of the very popular local specialty, Dulce de Leche (pretty much like Caramel Treat), with a croissant and toast. Yum! Thank god we do a lot of walking during the day as this stuff is seriously addictive and hip hugging!
We are one block away from the famous 16 lane-wide Ave. 9 Julio (apparently the widest in the world – they are very proud of this!) and the iconic Obelisk.
And of course, you cannot come to Buenos Aires without experiencing the Tango! Right next to us is a popular Milonga (Tango dance hall used by locals– and no we didn’t embarrass ourselves by joining in) which we visited before heading to a ‘Parilla’ restaurant for a famous Argentinean meat ‘platter’. We now refer to this dish as a red-meat ‘gorgy’. A Parilla usually includes a sirloin steak, rib eye steak, blood sausages, chorizo sausages and sweet breads PLUS a side dish of grilled cheese and chips and all of it in American size portions!
is pretty expensive so after the meat extravaganza, we’ve had to be satisfied with basic pasta dishes cooked in the hostel’s kitchen!
We’ve spent our days exploring the city and visiting the normal tourist attractions. We did a very interesting and fun walking tour with a local BA ‘porteno’, Juan. He gave us a different perspective on the city and a glimpse into the ‘real’ stuff that goes on behind the tourist lines. After the tour, a group of us including Juan, ended up at a restaurant eating and drinking until late into the arvie.
9 July was Independence Day here, and the city put on a massive free concert down on Ave 9 de Julio. We didn’t stay for too long as it was freezing cold and they seemed to only be playing psychedelic South American trans music with guys in matching lumo ponchos…very interesting but not much our style..
We visited the popular Recoleta Cemetery – where Eva Peron’s grave is situated. This cemetery is massive with hundreds of ornate and large mausoleums, statues and tombs. We’re not really ones for cemeteries so we did a quick walk around (I was getting a bit freaked
out by all the visible coffins and tombs!!) to appreciate the sculptures and engravings and made our speedy exit.
Overall we’ve really enjoyed BA. It has been a perfect start to our trip in letting us ease into the Spanish as well as familiarizing ourselves with the completely different culture! The city has a very distinct European feel about it with the stunning architecture and busy narrow streets. The history of the city as well as the passionate culture of the local people – they are passionate about everything from football to politics to the best Dulche de Leche! - is evident everywhere you look! We saw a number of protests and passionate exchanges in the streets!
We leave BA tonight and fly up to Peru, to start the next leg of our journey – exploring the snowy peaks of the northern Andes.
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