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South America-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - July 2006  |  by marc and nora L.

ARGENTINA #1: Buenos Aires

Arrival in Buenos Aires

We arrived in Buenos Aires and organised a place to stay with the Tourist Info guy at the airport before taking the shuttle bus into town. He dropped us at the hostel which for the price was pretty basic considering it didn´t even have any windows in the room and their idea of a double room was a room with a bunk bed! We didn´t check in and followed the guide books advice to a really nice place around the corner....."almost luxurious" was the comment. It was a big room partitioned by ply wood boards about 2m tall...this was private rooms...and bunk beds uh huh?! After looking in a couple more and almost giving up we headed for "The Garden House". Sounds nice huh? Well it was very nice and the double room had full height walls and an actual double bed! Relax!

Casa Rosada ("Evita´s Balcony")

Casa Rosada ("Evita´s Balcony")

So Buenos Aires.....well it is a big, buzzing, bright and beautiful city full of life and we love it. It has a very European Capital city feel and it has everything that you may want to do, see, eat or drink. The centre of the city could be said to be at Plaza Mayo. This is where you will find Casa Rosada (Governmental Palace) which is the place from which Evita addressed the crowds from the balcony. On learning this you can imagine how much my repeated singing of "Don´t cry for me Argentina" was doing Nora´s head in In this same sqaure you will also find the Cabildo (the only surviving building from colonial times) which was under restoration when we were there, the Catedral Metropolitana which are all suitably impressive for a capital city. Leading off from this beautiful palm tree fringed square are some of the grand avenues of Buenos Aires al of which are packed with big imposing late 19th century high rise buildings. We visited Cafe tortini which is a 150 year old cafe situated on Avenida de Mayo.....nice but nothing you can´t find a 100 times over in Vienna! right at the end of this Avenida we found the Plaza del Congreso on which stands the imposing Greco-Roman style National Congress building.

beautiful architecture

beautiful architecture

along plaza de mayo

along plaza de mayo

some nice apartments in the city centre

some nice apartments in the city centre

confused patriotism

confused patriotism

If you have seen any images of Argentina after an Argentinian victory in the world cup then you will have seen images of the 67m tall Obilisco because this is the where car loads of horn beeping footy fans come to celebrate a big victory.

Avenida 9 de Julio - widest avenue in the world (140m) - the Champs Elysees in Paris is 'only' 70m wide

Avenida 9 de Julio - widest avenue in the world (140m) - the Champs Elysees in Paris is 'only' 70m wide

First encounter with bife

First encounter with bife

San Telmo & Steaks

The area where we stayed is called San Telmo which is a really pretty area of crumbling facades and cobbled streets and its full of atmosphere. This is where we found our favourite (well...at least it was our most frequented) restaurant ´Des Nivel´. It was the first restaurant in which we tried the famed Argentinian steaks (Bife de Lomo, Bife de Chorizo).....this place is heaven for meat lovers!! We ate big and bloody steaks for 5 days in a row......oh what a glorious change from the dried pasta and tomato sauce of the past 6 months. Aside from the taste these steaks are made even more fantastic dur to the price....for about 4pounds (or 6EURO) you can eat an enourmous perfectly cooked steak with potatoes and a litre of beer.

Another great food which they serve on the streets here in Argentina is the Empinada which is like a little mini cornish pasty filled with either beef, chicken or cheese....really nice and at about 15p are a real bargain! You find guys selling this kind of thing on every street corner or at every market. Oh and these guys are big fans of the hotdog as well. You can buy them everywhere and for about 20p (30cents) you can buy a loaded hotdog and a drink.

2nd (and not last) encounter with bife

2nd (and not last) encounter with bife

Typical argentinan PARILLA

Typical argentinan PARILLA

The parilla chef

The parilla chef

Recoleta

A really nice ´barrio´ just North of the city centre which is famous for the cemetery in which Evita is buried. Of course we too went to see the cemetery but it is a cemetery like no other. Its not just headstones and graves.....this place is nothing short of a mini city of grande looking tombs, many of which with their own private chapel inside....amazing! The place is surrounded in really high walls and set out in a big grid of streets and avenues and its actually a nice peaceful place to wander through. The cats are something else that stand out here too. There are loads of ferel cats living within the cemetery walls just roaming around and sometimes even appear to be sitting guard at tomb entrances.

We were there on a Saturday and outside of the cemetery there is a huge arts and crafts market which takes over an entire park and adjacent streets. We get the feeling that we will see so much nice stuff here in South America which would like to buy but just now we would still have to carry it with us for another 2 months and with full rucksacks thats not easy so hopefully we will still see things we like closer to departure time.

Recoleta cemetary

Recoleta cemetary

Recoleta cemetary

Recoleta cemetary

Recoleta cemetary

Recoleta cemetary

Evita´s grave at Recoleta

Evita´s grave at Recoleta

Relaxed San Telmo

Relaxed San Telmo

Professional tango dancers

Professional tango dancers

Some more professionals

Some more professionals

Some rather rough looking tango dancer (she might have been beautiful 50 years ago.....but its more likely that she never was)

Some rather rough looking tango dancer (she might have been beautiful 50 years ago.....but its more likely that she never was)

marc is having a go (could she look any more annoyed?)

marc is having a go (could she look any more annoyed?)

marc and his infamous tango-look (Embarassing I know!)

marc and his infamous tango-look (Embarassing I know!)

let's tango

let's tango

i was so good

i was so good

Colourful La Boca

Colourful La Boca

Diego Maradona - to be found everywhere in buenos aires!!!

Diego Maradona - to be found everywhere in buenos aires!!!

San Telmo

The main street running through San Telmo is Avenida Defensa and this place really comes alive on Sunday afternoons as it is home to the buzzing San Telmo Antiques Market. The street is packed full of 1000´s locals, tourists and pick pockets browsing the 100´s of market stalls, drinking and eating in the 100´s of cafe and restaurants being entertained by tango dancers, singers and other street performers. Great place just to wander around on a Sunday afternoon.

San Telmo and street performers

San Telmo and street performers

So typically argentinan

So typically argentinan

La Boca

The area known as La Boca is home to probably one of the most famous teams in South America....this is where Maradona perfected his skills in his youth! Its also famous for being not only particularly dangerous for tourists but also for its amazingly colourful wooden and corregated iron houses which run on and around about four streets. We read and heard so much much about the dangers of La Boca and were advised to take a taxi directly in and a taxi directly out and also to leave our cameras at home. Reluctantly we did as advised and took a taxi. As soon as we arrived at the Vuelta de Rocha we realised that all the warning had been blown massively out of proportion. Our first sight was a bus load of Japanese tourists each of them holding in clear view of everyone very expensive looking cameras! We got out the taxi and had a look around immediately telling each other that we would come back tomorrow with cameras in hand. Before we left though we did sit and have a coffee outside one of the many tango cafes which dominate the street corners here and witnessed possibly the uggliest female Tango dancer in Buenos Aires stumble uncomfortably around the stage with her face in various stages of contortion before before we were ripped off by the waiter with some astronomical service charge. I can´t help thinking though that this ridiculous ´tourist tax´ should at least be proportional to the beauty of the dancers which are put before you.....in which case they would have clearly paid us......an awful lot of money!!!

El caminito in La Boca

El caminito in La Boca

La boca

La boca

Another colourful house in La boca

Another colourful house in La boca

Drying some clothes in La boca

Drying some clothes in La boca

© marc and nora L., 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Hello - 5 more days!!! On the 12th of September we are setting off! Our plan is to travel round the world for a period of 10 months. 1st stop: Thailand (1 month) and cambodia 2nd stop: Via Singapore (overland) to Australia where we plan to stay for approximately 4-5 months. 3rd stop: New Zealand (2 months) (north and south island) 4th stop: South America (approx. 3 months) (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and if time and money allows we might visit costa rica)
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 11 months
End of journey: Jul 31, 2006
Travelled countries: world-wide
United Kingdom
Thailand
Malaysia
Cambodia
Singapore
Australia
Australia & Pacific
New Zealand
South America
Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
Peru
Ecuador
Canada
The Author
 
marc and nora L. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 14 years.
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