Poor Rosario, it had a lot to live up to. Buenos Aires had been wonderful. In fact the last time we fell for a city as hard was Berlin, over ten years ago. That obsession has led to twice yearly visits ever since. As BA won't be nearly as easy to get to from the UK, who knows when we'll return? So frankly I was reluctant to leave at all. Which did not make me feel kindly towards Rosario.
The bus journey was ok, but the route into the city was a little shabby, which didn't help me feel any more positive. We picked up our onward bus tickets to Cordoba before leaving the bus station, then walked the 30 minutes to Livin' Residence apartments. It was fine, but no Lemon Apartments. It was smaller, slightly more worn, and not as well equipped. There wasn't much wrong with it to be fair, it's just Lemon was hard to beat.
We stocked up with supplies at a nearby Carrefour. But I needed to go out to dinner to cheer myself up. We chose Rock & Fellers (despite the stupid name). It had good reviews and had been
described as being like a Hard Rock Cafe, but better. Everyone spoke about the rock. While we didn't expect heavy metal, we'll happily take a bit of soft rock, The place was huge, and packed. Obviously it's very popular. We were put on the waiting list and given a buzzer.
Around half an hour later we were buzzed and shown to a table. UB40 were playing. Now, I know that when most people talk about rock their definition is different to ours. But come on! I didn't expect Slayer, but this was taking the piss. In fact, bar a bit of Eric Clapton (not my personal taste, but acceptable), there was nothing much resembling rock all night. Disappointing. The food was ok. Nothing amazing but not bad. I know I'm not really selling this place, but overall we did have a good night. There was a nice atmosphere, and the two jugs of beer didn't do any harm.
The next day we phoned reception for breakfast to be delivered. An odd system, but as you often don't get breakfast in an apartment we were glad to get something. We then explored the historical centre and popped to the
Decorative Arts Museum (partially closed) and the Contemporary Art Gallery (fully closed). We stopped for a burger at a burger van, actually quite good. The riverside promenade was nice, I expect it's great in the summer. It was a good day. But I was still missing Buenos Aires.
I cooked that night to save a bit of cash, using up the rest of the couscous. The plan was to try out a potential rock bar, but it didn't open until 10pm. To be honest by then we couldn't really be bothered, but we trudged out anyway. When we got there the music was so quiet we couldn't hear it, and there was a drumkit on stage and a covercharge, suggesting a live band was due. While we do of course like live music, we just couldn't summon the will to pay then wait around for a band we knew nothing about. So we sacked the whole thing off and bought a bottle of wine to take back to the apartment.
There was not a whole lot more to see in Rosario, but we had saved the area around the Parque de la Independencia. First stop was the City
Museum. It was ok. Nothing was in English however. As the current display was heavy on information (on indigenous people) rather than actual artifacts this made it all rather useless to us. The staff couldn't have been kinder or tried harder to help though. The permanent exhibition, an old pharmacy, was more interesting.
We then had a gap of nearly two hours waiting for the next two museums to open. We just enjoyed the park, people watching (ok, ok, dog watching). We also popped to see the Newell's Old Boys stadium, the club where Lionel Messi first began playing for their youth team (he was born in Rosario). By this time the Provincial Museum was open. Again all in Spanish, but at least this time there were more artifacts on display. We finished up at the Fine Arts Museum. Nice enough but small. It had been a pleasant day, but I wouldn't call any of the museums unmissable.
As we are in Argentina we plan to eat as much steak as possible. So that night we headed for Chicharra Asador a las Brasas. It opened at 8pm (as do most Argentinian restaurants) and we got there at 7.57pm
so walked around the block. This turned out to be a fortuitous decision as there were about a dozen bats flying around. I love bats, and they were flying really close to us which was great.
Finally we got to the restaurant just as we were about to eat our own arms off (it was a light breakfast and we'd skipped lunch). It looked somewhat fancy and we were a bit scruffy, but they did not seem to hold that against us. We ordered a huge steak (bife de chorizo) with mashed potato and a Malbec which the waiter assured us was 'good wine, cheap price'. He was right, £10 and delicious. In fact the whole meal was delicious. Not as tender as the steak in BA but a wonderful flavour. The final bill came to about £35. A bargain compared to a similar meal at home. Steak is such good value here. We've come to the conclusion that it makes sense to pay the £10 or so extra for decent steakhouse. Spending £25 on a cheap and cheerful meal might seem a better bet on a budget. But it is not nearly as satisfying as spending £35 on
a memorable meal in a place with crisp white tablecloths, sparkling wine glasses, uniformed waiters, and a steak as big as your head.
So that was Rosario. Just like BA, the people have been friendly and kind, and are just lovely. Rosario is an agreeable town and I'm glad we visited. I think it would be a nice place to live. But as a tourist, three nights was plenty and I'm looking forward to moving on to Cordoba.
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