5 weeks chillin' in BA
Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
51Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
What I did
Lots of Steak
We have been in Buenos Aires for 5 weeks now and we leave tomorrow for Lima in Peru. We have been staying in our own apartment in San Telmo and it has been an enjoyable, relaxing time for us! Turns out travelling non-stop can take it out of you, so we have rewarded ourselves with a very chilled out period in an very cool city. We have done a number of touristy things, such as visiting La Boca, Recoleta Cemetery, visiting Palermo's many parks, tango shows and of course enjoying the Copa America
The whole reason we were in BA at this time was for the Copa America, so I may as well start with that. We saw 3 games, Brazil Vs Venezuela, Mexico Vs Uruguay, and the final which was Paraguay Vs Uruguay. The Brazil match was disappointing, Eilidh and I were expecting a rout, with Brazil the strong favourites. A staunch Venezuelan defence however proved the victor, as the game finished 0-0. Eilidh was not exactly chuffed that her first ever live football game produced 0 goals, especially when Brazil were playing. Brazil actually ended up having a very poor tournament, getting put out on penalties to Paraguay in the Quarter Finals, the same can be said for the hosts Argentina, who were also put on penalties in the Quarter Finals by the eventual winners Uruguay. Our second game was to see Uruguay against Mexico, this one finished 1-0 to Uruguay, we were in the stands with the Uruguay fans. Excellent atmosphere, lots of singing, very much a family atmosphere with multiple generations of fans in the stands. Both of these games were in La Plata, in the reasonably new Estadio Unico. A very nice stadium, that was modern and conducive to large crowds. The same cannot be said of the Estadio Monumental, River Plate's stadium, where the final was held. With Uruguayan and Paraguayan fans all clamouring to be inside, it was more of a bottleneck situation than an organised queuing system. Anyway, we got in with a bit of pushing and shoving, and got situated on the 2nd tier of the south stand. This stand must have been the away end as it was surrounded by barbed wire fencing, fortunately it did not really disrupt the view. With flares going off, and the two sets of fans competing for loudest group with their various songs, it was a great atmospherewon easily 3-0, in what was a entertaining and exciting match.
We also made some new friends, Agat and Seb, a French couple who moved here around 6 months ago, after also doing a trip round South America. Agat used to work with Eilidh's cousin Jane back in Scotland, and they both went to Stirling Uni, so was good to have a bit of banter about the sunny shores of Scotland. We went for dinner and drinks a number of times, with them showing us some excellent steak, Mexican and Peruvian restaurants. Eilidh, Seb and I also went to La Bomba Del Tiempo, a live drum show (see video here, totally amazing). After which we headed to a tango bar/veggie restaurant, called the Cathedral, very authentic Argentinian scene, with cheap vinho tinto and not your typical tango tourist scene. As we munched our veggie pizzas, locals danced the tango, making it look easy. Agat and Seb also plied us with some invaluable knowledge about some things to do on the rest of our journey, very handy, cheers guys!
Whilst we were in BA we also wanted to try our hands at learning the local lingo, so we took some Spanish lessons. We had an excellent teacher in Pato, a Bolivian living in Buenos Aires. He spoke excellent English which was massively helpful, and also cut us a great deal as he is a friend of Agat
We also met back up with Jeremy and Cardiff, our drinking buds from Mendoza. Unfortunately they were both heading back to California, so we had a meal and some drinks with both of them, before Jeremy headed home. Cardiff went back a few days later so we spent the weekend checking out San Telmo's famous market as well as sampling a few more of the lovely Mendozan wines.
We have spent a large portion of our time here sampling the many delights of Buenos Aires restaurant scene. The steak has been as good as everyone said it would be, you basically get a 350g fillet steak (lomo in Arg) for about £8. Its huge, tastes amazing and is cheap cheap cheap. This did lead us to having to take a week off of steak at one point, as we actually started to feel a bit sick of it (I know, I didn't think it was possible either). Luckily that feeling passed rather quickly and we will definitely be heading out for steak tonight for our last meal in BA.
One of the highlights, culturally, was going to Recoleta Cemetery. This is where the rich and famous of Buenos Aires society are buried. Some of the tombs are more like small churches, they must of cost a small fortune. The cemetery is like a city in itself, with streets and avenues running in all directions. We saw Eva Peron's (Evita) grave, as well as number of other important figures in Argentina's history. Check out the photos of some of these graves, crazy
La Boca, was perhaps the most touristy area we visited. When I say area I mean 2 streets. Most of La Boca is pretty run down, not the sort of area you would want to be around after dark, however there are 2 streets down by the sea called Caminito that is tourist central. All the houses are brightly coloured, many with weird puppet like things standing on balconies, generally looking kinda freaky. There are loads of restaurants, tourist shops, tango shows and art work around, all in all cool to see once, but we did not go back. Just a bit over the top really The highlight of this trip for me was to see La Bombonera, Boca Juniors stadium. Its pretty huge and although we didn't get to go inside, it was still cool to see all of the previous stars having had their feet (or hands for goalies) immortalised on the pavement outside the stadium in a Hollywood like style.
So after 5 enjoyable weeks in Buenos Aires, where we have almost started to feel at home we are getting ready to get on the move again. Our wee apartment has been great, it has been really nice to have a our own place where we could spread out, without having to worry about all the various hassles that come along with staying in hostels. We will be going back to hostels tomorrow night in Lima however, we will be staying at the Happy Up Here Guesthouse. We are flying from Buenos Aires to Lima, nice not to have to worry about a long bus journey, and will then be starting a new leg of our tour. There is going to be a pretty stark contrast between how we have been living in BA to what we can expect in Peru. We have decided to get back to summer time and will be heading north post-haste. It has been bloody cold in BA for most of the time we have been here, so we are going to make a concerted effort to get back to the beach.