Trip Start Jan 24, 2007
7Trip End Mar 22, 2007
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Where I stayed
Stumbled upon Plaza (pronounced Plasa, la zeta no existe aca) de Mayo and the weekly protest of Las Madres de las Desaparecidos. Went out for a drink and a meal with Diana in San Telmo that night.
Headed off in the rain to La Boca Friday morning. Diego Maradona is a God over here - he is everywhere, particularly in La Boca. Boca Juniors Stadium is totally run down, pitch is tiny and not in good condition but the place has real character and as a spectator you are so close to the players and the pitch.
Sun came out as we walked to the port and stopped in one of the many restaurants where there was a live tango show going on. Back for a siesta and then out for more food and drink - this is the life !
Went to a funky cafe-bar for wine and tapas in Retiro, the area where all the Irish bars are, called into one for a drink but didnīt stay too long.
Sat morning we headed to Palermo and visited the Botanical Gardens and Eva Peronīs museum, had a fabulous steak lunch al fresco
Sat evening (after our siesta of course, itīs the jet lag I swear !) we took a walk down to Puerto Madero, which is the newly refurbished port area with some of the most expensive real estate in BsAs. Lots of sky scrapers around here, you could easily think you were in New York - Microsoft, IBM and Sun all have towers down here. Sheraton Hotel also down here - absolutely massive !
As advised by the lady in the tourist office, we made our way to the bus station to try and book our tickets, got completely lost and ended up going to three stations (one bus and two train stations which were not the ones we were looking for). Eventually got into a taxi and arrived there only to discover that we couldnīt book the tickets as neither of us had our passports with us !! We were starving and so decided to get a quick bite there and then - thee most rotten food I have ever tasted. Words of advice, only ever eat in bus stations here if you absolutely have to and the alternative is to starve to death !
Sunday morning we walked around for a bit and went to Teatro Colon - second biggest theatre in the world after the Sydney Opera House. It is under refurbishment and was closed, not sure if it was due to refurbishment or because it was a Sunday but either way we didnīt get to go in, which is a shame as a few ppl had recommended it to me.
Then made our way out to Recoleto with the craziest taxi driver I have ever met, managed to convince him that we were from Colombia
Had arranged to meet Brian a Scottish guy that we had met in the hostel so we met up with him and strolled to San Telmo. Walked around the markets and then met up with Diana and another German girl Imke who is studying in Sydney. There was so much street theatre going on, lots of statues, guys on stilts and lots of music and dancing. The five of us sat for hours and had some beers (even me) just taking it all in.
Strolled on to another pub and got something to eat there. Ciaran started talking to this guy in an Irish jersey who ended up being Stewart, who I had met in Chicago because he lived with Glynn, Lorcan and Cheesy and who Tommy and Glynn had gone to visit in Italy - el mundo es un paņuelo !
Back to one of the squares a few hours later where there was a milonga (lots of couples dancing tango) taking place
Summary / Observations
Fantastic city if a bit dirty and smelly in places. People are lovely, very friendly and helpful, love their funny, soft accents too : ) The only place we saw people begging was Recoleta, everywhere else the people that you might see begging at home were either juggling, washing car windows, opening taxi doors or hailing down taxis, selling little trinkets or holy stuff to try and earn a few pesos.
Stay in San Telmo or Palermo, we were in the centre, which is the business district, busy during the week but dead at the weekends. Wasnīt bad though, because hostel was really nice and it is really easy to get around - buses cost equiv Eur0.20, underground Eur0.15 and taxis are cheap also. Make sure and head to San Telmo on Sundays ! Local beer is good (even I have been drinking it) - Quilmes.