Buenos Aires: The Paris of South America

Trip Start Oct 06, 2008
Trip End Apr 18, 2009

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

After arriving Buenos Aires, we checked in to our hostel and spent the day exploring. Buenos Aires has been segmented into several districs with completley different personalities, and we decided to explore the bohemian district of San Telmo first, since our hostel was located in its centre. The district used to be the capital's centre before the aristocats apparently fled due to fears of a spreading cholera epidemic, so what remains in San Telmo today is a series of colonial-style houses along narrow cobblestone lanes, usually renovated into cafes or antique stores. We spent a full day walking San Telmo's historic streets, then retired early for the night.
Being New Years Eve, everything was closed the next day, so we decided to visit the posh waterfront district of Puerto Madero. All of Buenos Aires' posh hotels and restaunts line the waterfront, but everything here had closed aswel in preperation for the New Year parties - not that we could afford to eat here anyway! That night, we brought in the New Year at the hostel, where a party had been organised for the guests. All of our attempts to go to a nightclub afterwards sadly failed, due to the lack of taxis and the incredible ammount of money the nightclubs charged. So instead, we remained at the hostel bar and drank with a couple from Yorkshire that we befriended! 
With everything closed on New Years Day, and after a late night, we didn't get up until very late on January the 1st! We spent the day lazying around, but that night, we were able to book a tango show, which also included a meal and a (dreaded) tango lesson. Considering that I'm not the most graceful of people to say the least, the lesson went quite well! The dinner and show however were both fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. 
The following day was my Birthday, and since I am very interested in the history of the revolutionary icon Che Guevara, we visited Rosario, his birth town on my birthday! We arrived at Rosario after a four hour bus journey, freshened up, and that evening Catrin treated me to a meal at one of Rosario's best restaurants, famed for its steaks! I rolled back home that night, stuffed after endulging on a fantastic meal and an ice cream sunday! On the next day we went on a pilgrimage tour of Rosario, where we saw a murial; a bronze statue (appropriatley cast by using the bronze of 75,000 keys of abandoned houses, donated by families that fled Argentina during the military dictatorship in the '70s); and an appartment block that contained Guevara's fisrt home. Whilst waiting outside for a photo opportunity, a woman entered the house but left the door off the latch by accident - so I ventured in for a privilaged look and quick photograph! We also saw Rosario's famous monument, the National Monument to the Flag, its grandour impressing us from the ground and the view impressing us from the summit! On our way back to the bus station that evening, our taxi driver suggested that he would drive us back to Buenos Aires "mui rapido" in an hour and a half. Considering that it took just over four to make the journey on the bus, we quickly declined!
The following morning was a Sunday, so we explored the fantastic weekend antique fair in San Telmo, where antique stalls, tango dancers, street performers and artists lined the streets. After wandering through the mass of people for a few hours we went sightseeing in Buenos Aires' central distric, where we saw the Casa Rosada (The Presidential Palace with its famous balcony where Eva Peron made her famous speech); the main Cathedral; the Cabildo (city council during colonial era); and an enormous Obelisk in the distance. 

We spent the whole of the next day in the affluent district of Recoleta, famed for its French-style architecture and its impressive cemetary. Although its main thoroughfare is lined with designer shops on one side and enormous mansions on the other, it was the lavishness of the cemetary that struck us most. This is where the rich and famous of Buenos Aires are put to rest (such as Eva Peron), and we spent a whole morning staring at the incredibly grand and excessive mausouleums. Afterwards we went for a walk through the ritzy neighbourhood, seeing numerous impressive buildings, including the gothic Buenos Aires Engineering School, and the huge 'Floralis Generica' (a metalic flower that opens its petals at sunrises and closes them at dawn!).
On our final day in Buenos Aires, we visited the working class dockland district, La Boca, known for its colourful houses. We also visited La Bombonera, the home of world famous football team Boca Junious. We saw the pitch and their museum, and to be honest I didn't think much of it, so I dread to think what Catrin thought! After a busy day exploring La Boca, we went to uwind in Palermo, a distric that is famous for its beautiful parks. Unfortunetley, the park we visited was a botanical garden, so we couldn't just laze around on the grass as we'd hoped. Since our legs were much too tired to walk around and appreciate the garden, we set back home for a rest before our long journey to Australia the next day.  
Waking up on the final morning of our time in South America, we were both very sad to leave this fascinating continent behind. It had been such an incredible journey. We had both fallen in love with the place and didn't want to leave. However, we were also looking forwards to the prospect of moving on to other exciting destinations - a short break in Australia, before another three month trip through Asia - so, don't cry for us Argentina!
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