A piece of Europe in South America!

Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
Trip End Mar 23, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So, after about a two second debate between a 17 hour bus ride or a 1.5 our flight we made our decision and booked a flight.

Our first impressions of Buenos Aires was from above while landing at the domestic airport, which is located in the city centre. The city is absolutely huge with apartment and office buildings stretching in all directions for kilometres.

Upon landing we made our way directly to the hostel. On our way our second impression was how green the city is. Despite its size and urban feel it is amazing how much greenspace is preserved, filled with old trees and well maintained gardens.

Our hostel was located about a twenty minute drive from the airport and about a fifteen minute walk to the neighborhood of Palermo, one of the coolest posh neighbourhoods in BA. We were given a four bed dorm (two sets of bunks) but fortunately we wouldn't have to share it. The hostel was very nice and the staff were very helpful and friendly.

The next morning we signed up for a city tour, which is probably the best way to get to know the city even though it only scratches the surface. But we had five days in the city so we used the tour to identify sites that we would like to go back to and visit in greater detail.  It was a great way to see the city and the more we saw the more impressed we were.

After about a month and a half of travelling we decided to make our second full day in BA "all about Mike and Shannon day" (maybe not the best name for all those people reading our blog from your cubicle thinking that every day of ours is all about Mike and Shannon these days!). We spent the day pampering ourselves: laundry, pedicure (Shannon only), haircut (Mike only), dress shopping (both...we're preparing for carnival in Rio - just kidding). That night we ordered pizza and watched the Olympics opening ceremony on ESPN Argentina at our hostel to conclude the day.

The following day we booked an excursion to an Estancia, a traditional Argentine ranch about one hour outside the city. There we got to ride horses, listen to traditional folk songs and watch Tangoand traditional folk dancing. But most impressive was the Asada, the famous Argentine BBQ. The setup was quite impressive, featuring a BBQ about twenty feet by four feet full of beef, sausage and chicken (check out picture below). Overall a fun day but we found the group a little old. There were about three hundred people and most were over seventy, taking a daytrip from their cruise ships. However, we did get into a great conversation with a drunk Spaniard who was about eighty. He sang us a couple of songs, but they were probably directed more to Shannon than to Mike.

On our final day in BA we continued putting a dent in the huge city. We enjoyed some of the beautiful greenspace in the botanical and Japanese gardens. It seemed around every corner was a plaza or garden donated or representing another country (France, Germany, Japan, Italy, etc.). In the afternoon we strolled through a large flea market in the centre and then came across the most famous cemetary in BA, Recoleta cemetary. Now a cemetary doesn't normally sound very exciting and in fact is a bit creepy, however this one was quite exceptional (albeit creepy). The tombs were absolutely enormous, like tiny houses making the appearance of the whole place almost village-like. Some of the most famous Argentines are buried here including Evita.

That evening we spent our final night in Argentina in the neighborhood of Palermo. We were really quite impressed with BA and Argentina in general. A beautiful country, with a mixed culture of Latin America and Europe.

Now time to move on...next stop is another trip of a lifetime to Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval!

PS - in case you are wondering why there are only a couple of pics of Shannon, it is because she was suffering from pinkeye and refused pics without sunglasses!
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