The Paris of South America
Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
332Trip End Jan 19, 2007
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Up late we head out in the heat (about 29 degrees), the city is bustling and a marked contrast to Antarctica or even Ushuaia! We wander around through a park with lots of heart sculptures decorated differently and then towards the beautiful old train station, Torres de Londres (like a mini Big Ben, but sadly closed to climb up). The architecture is very Parisien as are the very wide avenues and boulevards. We buy our bus tickets for a couple of days time to Mendoza and have lunch in a canteen which sets us back about 3 quid for a huge meal and drink. It is so cheap here - we love it!
More walking back to the hotel where we ditch our huge pile of laundry nearby and then walk to the Galerias Pacifico shopping centre which has lovely ceiling frescos and can you believe it a Christmas tree? It really doesnt feel like we are near christmas to us! (Am sure people are having that conversation the world over. Boring eh?) We try some Freddos icecream the best here apparently (weighing ourselves this morning has obviously not shocked our system sufficiently!) and it is excellent stuff. Then go to Plaza de Mayo to see the Cathedral which looks more like the Bank of England from outside but is great inside and we watch people queueing for confession, round the saure is the Governors house and the infamous Casa Rosada with balcony but without Evita. A lot of it is barricaded of as another demonstration/festival is going on in the square which appears to last most of the weekend. After some internet we head back to the shopping centre for a non-existent tango show at 20.00 but instead see the tail end of one outside. Feel very scruffy in such a smart city but am temporarily boosted by being offered a perfume sample from a salesperson until I see it is Burberry. They probably just think I am a chav.
We ponder whether or not to go to one at another restaurant but it is v touristy plus there is a great tenedor libre and parilla up the road for 9 pesos each (6 pesos to the pound). Great food inc calamari, whitebait and steaks etc plus desert. With wine our whole meal costs a fiver. Think we may return.
Off to bed for an early night and watch a horror film which doesnt stop us sleeping at all. My feet hurt and we are shattered.
Later visit the church and the Recoleta Cemetry which has huge monumental graves. There was/is obviously plenty of money around for the rich to blow on things when they are dead. Obviously visit Eva Peron (Evitas) grave although I am ashamed to say I know very little about here. Will have to read up on it at some point.
Then head further north to the Polo stadium (if thats what they are called). It is currently the open championships and we queue up for tickets that set us back a couple of quid with the masses, although its not phenomenally busy.
25/11/2006 (16:30) La Dolfina vs Indios Chapaleufú II Score 15 - 14
Walked home looking at the expensive menus on our way before heading to the pedestrianised shopping streets and the huge white obelisk to take some night photos. Then went to another buffet place which was expensive at 10 pesos but was even better than last nights. Dangerous.
Then went to see The Departed with Robert de Niro, Leonardo D Caprio and Matt Damon which was pretty good. A very long day again. Dave has got out of tango lessons again but I have to say my feet still hurt too much.
Is great to be in a city for the weekend as it sort of reminds you of home, waking up to empty streets on a Sunday morning, plus this weekend there are lots of sport things going on which is great for us. We get the bus to La Boca west of town and a more deprived neighbourhood in parts. Start off at the dock area and then to Caminato which is famous for multicoloured buildings, craft stalls and tango in the streets.
Boca Stadium Photo :
The man in the Boca shop is v unhelpful but tells us all tickets are sold out (not sure I believed him) so we bought some from a tout for about a tenner each. Need to be back nearly 2 hours before the match apparently to get a space!
Then went on walking down to San Telmo through the car boot sale in the park and then down into the heart of the antiques market. Felt like we were in Portobello road at home. Kept wishing my parents were there as they would have loved loads of the stuff! After lots of wandering and realising there was no real point as looking much further as chandeliers are not very en vogue for backpackers we went to lunch at La Vieja Rotisseria which was pretty packed. Full of locals and tourists and we ordered the same as the couple next to us and some obligatory wine and got chatting to them. They were v friendly and nice although didnt understand all that they were saying. He was a Boca fan and obviously pleased we were going. She told me that we spoke better Spanish than them - think they meant in the purest sense of the language rather than our fluency!
After lunch dumped our camera etc back at the hotel and headed back for the footie. Was getting very busy even though it was 2 hours before the match. I was quite nervous about potential trouble but neednt have worried. We bought some Boca clothing so we looked slightly less like gringos, not sure it worked. The stands we were in were 2/3 full by the time we got there and we were about to watch Boca play Colon. Got a great view though and watched the stadium fill up and the excitement mount. They sing great football songs here and are really into it. As the match started and ´we´ scored the excitement mounted but even when Colon scored a penalty the crowd continued singing the song they were on without missing a beat. Football was not quite premiership but atmosphere was better. We had to leave before the end to get our bus in time for Mendoza but saw 3 goals but Boca managed to score another 2 after we left!
Back to hotel to get bags and then to the bus station we got a cama bus for Mendoza. Leather armchair seats, dinner with wine (still cant believe that!) and best of all, on board bingo. What more could you want in life? Oh and we arrived pretty much on time!