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Published: March 16th 2016
Argentina was the first country that I had been in that I had no idea where I was going to or had any sort of plan and as usual I’ve left my blog for far too long to update which is why (as usual) its going to be a shortened version.
I left Buenos Aires and headed for Iguazu Falls, only because someone in the previous hostel had recommended it and said it was THE thing to see in the country. The bus journey was uneventful apart from being 18 hours and not a lot of stops. Sitting in a reclining seat next to an overweight guy makes you wonder why people want to travel that way, but then you think of the costs and realise as a backpacker that you have to take the rough with the smooth. Bus travel in South America is the best way to travel instead of flying as you see more of the country that you are in and there is no railways as such. I had made the unusual decision of booking my hostel online in advance instead of just turning up and it’s usually a better idea as you can get a look at the various hostels as they are always in the same sort of area of a town.However booking in advance gave me a hostel that was 5 km out of town and looking more like a run down Butlins from the 1950’s. Getting the local bus from the bus station to the hostel, the driver was obviously a happy chap as he waved to every person that he went passed and even stopped along the way to get off the bus to have a full blown conversation with one of his friends! Not the fastest way of travelling I guess, but he pulled the vehicle over after 5 km and shouted me to get off. Not knowing if I had done anything wrong or not, he pointed across the road to where I saw the sign for my hostel. The feeling of the place and the lack of interest from the receptionist told me that I was not going to be having fun there. I was in an eight bed room sharing with all females, which is not usually a problem except I’ve found that non backpacking females are the messiest people out of everyone. That aside they seemed to be there on holiday as they all slept through the day and partied all night which is not really what I was there for, I was there for the waterfalls. As I arrived late afternoon and as the town was too far to walk down to i decided to chill in the big hall and catch up with emails.
The next day after a restless sleep from lack of aircon where the girls had changed the temperature from a cool 21 degrees to 28 degrees in the room, I looked out and saw that the weather had taken a turn for the worse and black clouds were all around. The chance of rain looked likely so don’t think that going to the waterfalls was going to be any good. So I did something that i had not done for months and that was to get a book that I had ‘borrowed’ from Bangkok and spent the day reading, which I did next to the pool. Even though it was cloudy, the air was warm and the sun did peek out every now and again. It was one of the most relaxing days I’d had in a long time and the book is recommended for anyone that reads ‘Bangkok Haunts’. I have to admit that I find it hard to relax when every day I’m in a new place and I get the urge to go and explore so taking time out is rare.
Next day the sun was out and feeling totally refreshed it was time to go and see the famous waterfalls. The bus ride in was short and although I have not spent much money on seeing stuff lately due to the lack of funds, it was hard to open my wallet to hand over the £25 entry fee but I knew I would be kicking myself if I had come all this way north without seeing them. The area was packed with tourist and with a lack of signage to explain where you were or where to go, i headed over to a pathway where i had spotted some people walking down and followed them. The track was a 45 minute trek and took me to an impressive waterfall but it wasn’t the Iguazu Falls. Having realised that I had taken the wrong track I went back to the original start and got the train that took me to where I should have been in the first place. A walkway takes you high over the wide river and to the centre of the falls and I have never seen such an amazing sight. The Falls are about half a mile along and the power that comes from the amount of water falling is astonishing. Nature at its best and i was there on the walkway just staring at it for about 20 minutes, memorised by it all. It really is hard to say what I saw in simple terms as I feel that words would not do the Falls justice. Only way to experience it is to actually go there and see for yourself. There are 3 stages to the waterfalls, I had done 2 of them and time was running out to do the middle track which gave you a bigger view of the falls from further away. So many pictures were taken and I wish i knew how to pictures on this website so i could share it. i did meet a Canadian woman who said that she had done both Brazilian side and now Argentinian side and told me that Brazil was a better view. Hard to believe and there was options for the next day to get a bus trip over the border but I thought I would save that for another month when I eventually got to Brazil. The bus ride back to the hostel was longer then getting there but I had a smile on my face knowing I had seen something awesome.
Another restless night with hardly any sleep due to the women who had just woke up when I got into the room and getting ready to carry on their night time activities of partying, with the heat in the room still at a high but it was shoved down as soon as they left! I awoke with the feeling that I had seen everything and time to go and head off to the next place. With no idea of where to go and no recommendations, I used Google to help me and found someones itinerary from a trip they done a few months earlier so thought i’d follow it a bit. So booked a bus to go to Rosario, which was overnight and took about 18 hours. Getting into the city I found the hostel quickly. I had a walk out and grabbed some food as the food given by the bus company would not even fill a 2 year old child. Going back to the room I bumped into Cam, an Australian bloke that I shared a room with in Buenos Aries. He was another world wide traveller and seeing as much of the world as he could like me, but it was a shock to see someone so soon in Argentina that we decided to see as much of the city the next day. It was interesting that night when talking to the staff of the hostel and knowing I was English, they asked my opinion on the Falkland Islands. I was totally honest with them explaining that I had been in the military and had served there once before which ‘impressed’ them but they were of an age that the war was history and they knew at the time the leaders of Argentina were wanting to take the peoples minds off the problems of Argentina and needed an excuse to make them popular. I said the same for UK and Margaret Thatcher. I did tell them that it was up to the people of the Falklands to decide for themselves who they wanted to own them and they are British through and through due to the referendum they held a few years ago.
I know i always start with the next day, but thats usually because I honestly have no idea of what day it is. When on the road every day seems to be the same and the only way I know what day it is, is usually when I go on Facebook and someone says in a status ‘thank god its Friday’ or ‘I can’t believe its Monday already’ which gives me an indication where in the week I am. Whatever day it was, Cam, me and another guy from the hostel went on the longest trek round the city. The original homeplace of Che Guevara which had a small sign outside of where he lived. He may be famous but in Argentina he’s still classed as an outlaw? Maybe a bad word but he’s not popular even now after all these years, a revolutionist before his time? Walking towards the river we found the memorial to the guy who designed the Argentinian flag and it was impressive. It was something that you would have thought would have been in the capital. It was massive and walking towards it you got a sense that this was the citys main claim to fame in that the original flag was first raised here. Statues surrounding a main stand with images of the founder of the flag. Seems its best to see it at night with all the lights shining on it but we were on a mission to see as much as we can. Afterwards we then went onto a restaurant that I found online that is owned by Messi (the footballer) family which the 2 guys I was with got VERY excited with. On going in, there is a massive picture of Messi after scoring a goal and that was it. No memorabilia or anything to say that this is Messi family or his birthplace, but we did have a pizza and a beer and took in the sights of the place. Leaving the restaurant we headed along the river bank and one thing I’ve noticed about Argentina was the amount of graffiti everywhere. There is a lot, even on road signs and you sort of get used to it but when you're walking along some nice areas you cant help but wish that the people would try and stop it. Unfortunately because we had one beer then they guys decided they wanted more so it was a hunt for another decent bar which ended up in the pub area of the city which was empty due to siesta time. We did find a couple of bars and did a lot of people watching which is my favourite pastime any ways. A few beers later and running out of money I headed back to the hostel with time to reflect. I have done so much in over a year and money was still a problem. How long is a person meant to travel before they run out of places or gets numbed by new sensations. I stayed in that night on my bed working out if it was time to go back. The lodger had already told me that he was going to be moving out as he and his girlfriend were expecting and they were ready to get their own place.I have thought about so many times earlier in the travels when I’ve gone online to check on the prices of flights but this time I knew in my heart it was time to go back. When you consider that from the start of my journey the longest I had stayed in one place was 2 weeks and usually every 2/3 days I was on the move to a new city or town and I was missing normality. With this in mind I was to leave the next day to a new place. An early night and bags packed I was off to a new adventure but not as excited as usual…. yeah its time for home!
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