South America's Paris

Trip Start Jan 16, 2013
Trip End Aug 18, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  , Autonomous City of Buenos Aire,
Monday, August 5, 2013

So after multiple nights with barely any sleep I had to endure another one. I really am not a morning person. Our flight from Salta to Buenos Aires left at 6am from possibly the most boring airport in the world. Literally nothing to do there except sleep. The flight was only two hours so we couldn't really catch up on much sleep. Still slept for the whole flight though. Arrived in the capital feeling a bit worse for wear. The hotel we stayed at was absolutely incredible. Not sure why we stayed in a four star hotel but I wasn't complaining. Unfortunately the rooms weren't ready so we couldn't shower or have a nap.

I planned to get to sleep as soon as possible but our guide decided to take us around all her favourite parts of the city. Not ideal but I manned up and ended up having a great time. Turns out you don't need as much sleep as you think. We walked around all the main monuments and attractions of which there are too many to name. I'll just say that I'm really liking Buenos Aires and it's a very picturesque city. Certain parts of it anyway.

We went to the Boca district which was great fun. The streets are really colourful and there is a lot of activity. We stopped for lunch at this restaurant with some live music and tango dancers. Definitely not a boring meal. Me and a friend decided to buy a Boca Juniors football shirt which was probably the best purchase of my entire trip. I pretty much haven't stopped wearing it since I bought it. The fans here are really passionate so you get some great reactions from random people in the street. It's either someone saying 'Heeyyy Vamos Boca!!' and giving you a hug, or a scowl and obvious disapproval. I thought one taxi driver might actually hit me with the look he was giving me. Walking around in a Boca shirt is never dull. If you ever go to Buenos Aires; buy one.

That evening we went to a tango lesson/show which was great fun. Much to my surprise I am quite the talented tango dancer, gutted I skipped the salsa lesson. Next stop strictly! Thankfully after said workout, we were rewarded with a delicious three course meal. Another cow carcus under my belt. Happily this meal also included an open bar-yeaaah buddy- so needless to say the evening frivolities escalated. Entertainment as we feasted consisted of several flexible Argentinians strutting and pouting as they performed some seriously impressive tango moves. Great fun.

The next day we continued on our quest to complete all tourist activities by visiting the Recoleta Cemetary. It's the resting place of many famous Argentinians including Evita. Apparently her body was once stolen so is now heavily secured. We saw many impressive graves which have been richly adorned by the wealthy families. The place is like a maze so I could easily imagine people getting completely lost. It was a bit of a creepy place to visit but it was interesting and I enjoyed the visit. We think we got scammed by a man at the entrance who asked us for a donation. He drew us a map on a bit of scrap paper and did not look very official at all.

The next day was Sunday so a group of us headed to the market which only opens one day a week. A really long street is completely packed with a variety of stalls selling pretty unique merchandise. One guy had a collection of coins from all around the world and had managed to carve out the empty space leaving just the images. Picture a pound coin with only the queens head. We spent at least half and hour looking at the different designs. It was a really cool market that didn't just have all the usual crappy tourist stuff. I'm don't exactly love shopping but I enjoyed it.

Also went to the docks in Buenos Aires. Tried to sneak on to this tall ship without paying but got caught and ended up paying the two pesos (25 pence). I'm so cheap. The ship was pretty cool but all the doors were insanely low so it was inevitable that you would hit your head at some point. Headed to a very fancy cafe afterwards to try my first hot chocolate ever. It was so popular that we had to queue for fifteen minutes to get in. How many people can say they had their first hot chocolate in Argentina?

Decided to walk to Palermo, a posh district about an hour away from downtown. I whacked out google maps and led a group on a walk through the city until we eventually reached the Botanic Gardens. Wasn't amazing but enjoyed some lovely forest smells that reminded me of home. Tried to check out the zoo but for some reason it is closed on Mondays. Walked aimlessly around Palermo and discovering its 'soho' feel for a while before getting a taxi back. All that walking really tires you out.

In the evening we were told about this really fun event called the Bomba del Tiempo (Time Bomb). It was basically a warehouse with a stage and a bar. Doesn't sound that good but when you add almost twenty musicians playing different kinds of drums it makes for a great night. The place had a great atmosphere and was full of locals and a few tourists.

I really loved Buenos Aires. I'm really tired because it is massive and I can't really afford to do anything but walk around. They call it 'The Paris of South America' and I can see why. Some people said it just feels like a European city but there are signs everywhere that you are in a different part of the world. My G Adventures tour has come to an end so I am back to travelling solo. I say solo but I am actually going with a friend on the tour who happened to have the same itinerary. Flying to Iguassu Falls tomorrow and then headed to Brazil.
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Claudine on

Sounds exciting!

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