lovely girls at Panideli (a delicious cafe/bakery at the bottom of our building), who helped us to contact the agency - and provided us with a perfect Sunday Brunch while we waited - so I suppose there's probably worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon!
It was really nice to have our own pad for the week (once we eventually got in!).
It was just what we needed - clean, spacious, quiet - and with the added bonus of being able to have a roasting hot shower or bath (mmmmm) whenever we wanted! The area we stayed in - Palermo Soho - was fab! the best way to describe it would be 'shabby chic' - loads of upmarket buildings and picturesque parks alongside crumbling old pavements and graffiti! The strange thing about it was how how tranquil it was during the day - just a sprinkling of shops, cafes and delis - but it totally transforms at night, when the countless ultra cool bars, restaurants and clubs seem to appear from as if nowhere!
The area where we had our Spanish class was a total contrast - modern and bustling! It was roughly an hours' walk from our apartment - or slightly less if you
yourself into the morning rush on the Subte (which we actually really rated - mega cheap, quick and regular)! It was a great way to start the day (the class, not the subway!), and we really must say a massive thank you to the ladies at Verbum - Maite, for helping to organise everything, and Susana, who was an extremely patient teacher, lovely person and actually made the class really enjoyable for both of us - gracias amigas!
They also gave us loads of advice on things to do and how to get about - including directing us to the best pizzeria in town - the Guerrin, who do possibly the best pizza we've ever tasted, and at around £3 for lunch for 2 you really couldn't beat it! The food in general has been exceptional - loads of choice, amazing quality and fantastic value - such a relief after Brazil! The only meal we didn't really enjoy was our lunch at the Wok, a 'per kilo' restaurant (where you literally load your plate with whatever you fancy and get it weighed - great!). The food itself was lovely - what wasn't so great was some sneaky b****** pinching our bag!!!!!!!!! It was such a horrible feeling when we realised, but the staff were great and managed to find it happening on their CCTV - which we actually had to laugh at as we were all smiley happy while some grey jacketed idiot just strolls past and swipes our bag! We were directed to the tourist police (where the translator couldn't actually speak English!), who couldn't actually deal with it but took us along to the local precinct (by police car) where the computers were down - argh! So we made an appointment to go back the next day after our class (where we were kept waiting for another 3 and a half hours - what a way to kill some time in Buenos Aires!). Thankfully, most things in the bag were replaceable (like my ipod, sunglasses, watch, our Spanish homework and dictionary, make-up, torch, a back-up card, some cash and other wee travelling bits and pieces), although there were a couple of sentimental things that I was upset about. However, at the end of the day we're both OK, and even with the time and hassle of sorting it all out (insurance companies - joy!) and trying to find replacements, there are alot worse things that can happen!
So what else was there to do but try to enjoy the rest of the day - it sounds silly but we didn't want to let it ruin our time there! So we decided to visit some of the big sights, including the HUGE Recoleta Cemetery (which was both eerie and beautiful, and where Evita was put to rest), and the parks around Palermo, which were even bigger and more lovely than we expected. The Japanese Gardens
in particular were outstanding - a real haven from the madness of the city and such attention to detail. By the time we got home that night we were exhausted - but glad that we'd got out and taken our minds off other things!
Unfortunately, the next day was taken up with police, insurance etc, but on the Thursday we headed down to Caminita, yet another entirely different section of the city! It's colourful and lively, with flamenco and tango shows on the street and quirky little bars and shops everywhere. However, the main reason for heading down there was its proximity to La Bombonera, home to Boca Juniors football team. We took the stadium tour, where we got a good look at Maradona's private box(!) - definitely worth a visit!
We decided that Friday was to be our night out on the town - we'd finished our Spanish class (so no having to get up at the crack of dawn), and Argentina were playing Bolivia in the opening game of the Copa America! So we trailed around the bars in our area and found a lovely place called 'Rosa's', with cute vintage decor, an entire library of games and a great atmosphere - not to mention the fabulous wine at around £3.50 a bottle! Needless to say getting home is slightly hazy!
As Saturday was our last full day in the apartment, it seemed sensible to take advantage of the situation - with a bed-in!
We'd been having a great time on the go, but a cosy day eating munchies and watching movies (there just so happened to be 3 great flims - Rob Roy, Elizabeth and Mr & Mrs Smith - on the only English speaking cable channel) in our lovely apartment was a total treat - obviously it's just not possible to do that while you're moving from place to place and staying in hostels!
All that was left to do on Sunday was to get packed-up and get back on the road - this time into wine country! Our week in B.A. has been very educational (learning the lingo and how to deal with thefts!), it's been great to be able to get a proper feel for the city (sometimes it's easy just to skip through in a couple of days) and it's been nice to get off the tourist trail for a wee week - but it's exciting to be heading off to our next destination!
Arriving in B.A. brought the first slight stress of our journey so far! We'd got into Retiro Terminal on time at 10am, and were very proud of ourselves successfully negotiating the Subte (with all our luggage!) to get to our rental apartment to be let in at 11am. After an hour of waiting (in the freezing cold!) and a few failed attempts to get in touch with the rental company, we were taken under the wing of the