Waiting for the monk!

Trip Start Apr 06, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
The Art Factory

Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, November 26, 2010

We finally arrived in Buenos Aires at 11.30 the following morning - quite a trek considering we left Mendoza at 4.30 the previous afternoon. About an hour outside of BA our bus gave up the fight and we came to a halt on the side of a motorway, all piled off, and sat around for an hour waiting for an equally battered looking bus to come and save us and take us the rest of the way. We walked out of the huge Retiro bus station feeling a bit dazed after so long on the bus, but soon woke up as we plunged head first into the mayhem of Buenos Aires and it's 13 million people on a busy weekday morning. We jumped on the subte (subway) to take us into town and headed straight to Millhouse - a hostel recommended to us by the irish girls and apparently the place to be in BA. Unfortunately it was full (don't think we were young enough or single enough to stay anyway) but we found a place just around the corner that would do fine for a couple of nights whilst we checked out a couple of other hostels and get something sorted for when Chris arrives in a couple of days.

Barely able to contain our excitement about the thought of having a third amigo to hang with for a few weeks, we spent the next couple of days enjoying the sun in BA, strolling around San Telmo's cobbled streets and big saturday market, and putting the BA cake shops to the test. We spent a lovely day over in the plush Recoleta district of the city. This area became the high-class neighbourhood of BA back in the 1870s following a yellow fever epidemic which sent the rich and famous fleeing from other parts of the city. It's a very attractive part of town, with giant Jacaranda trees everywhere covered in beautiful purple flowers, open parks and plazas, a pretty church that dates back to 1732, street stalls and cafes, and of course the cemetery. Laid out like a miniature city itself with wide tree-lined walkways and huge mausoleums, the recoleta cemetery is the final resting place for some of the wealthiest and most powerful people of Argentina, including Eva 'Evita' Peron who served as the first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952 at the young age of 33. If you have the nerve to do it you can walk right into the lobby of one of the hotels in the plaza and take the lift to the top floor for some amazing views of the neighbourhood and cemetery - I can't believe we pulled it off being two scuzzy backpackers who obviously weren't staying there but we did it without getting chucked out so all good.

Another characteristic of Recoleta are the paseaperros - professional dog walkers who strut around with loads and loads of dogs of all shapes and sizes. They take about 20 dogs at a time, and tie the other hundred or so to a tree to wait their turn. It's a funny sight to see. Just outside of Recoleta is the awesome giant sculpture Floralis Generica - an 18 ton steel and aluminium flower that opens and closes in the sunlight. The sculpture sits in a pool of water and so there are some cool reflections in the six, 20 metre high petals of the park and surrounding buildings. Close to the sculpture is the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - a free art gallery with a big collection of fine art, modern art and sculptures to nose at for a couple of hours.

We moved hostels on saturday to a place in San Telmo called The Art Factory and got three beds in a dorm booked up for the next few nights. That night in the hostel there was a live band, so we knocked back a few drinks and met some nice australian and dutch people in the bar to natter the night away with. Before we knew it it was only a matter of hours until we had to be up and on our way to the airport, so we crashed out with an early alarm call set for the AM!
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