We've been tango'd!!

Trip Start Jul 27, 2010
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Trip End Aug 29, 2011


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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We arrive in Buenos Aires after a reasonable flight. Through customs and picked up baggage with no problems (always a relief!). We got a taxi outside the airport to our hotel in the Palmero district of the city. The drive was fast and a bit hairy, but we arrived safely. The district we stayed in was lovely, the streets tree lined and lots of cafes and restaurants. Our hotel was small and welcome, the manager, Frederick was French and really wanted his guest to feel at home and have a great experience.

We unpacked and freshened up. Frederick recommended a restaurant called El Cabrera, a famous steak restaurant. It was a bit of a walk and when we got there they were full, but we added our name to the waiting list (a white board outside) and went to another bar to wait for our allotted time to return (no guarantees).

We went back and we were second in the queue. They brought out bread sticks, little sausages and bubbly wine to keep us all going. It was a nice atmosphere, with everyone chatting to each other. We eventually got in and it was well worth the wait. We had the best steaks with a nice bottle of Malbec (which we took the remains of home). A good start to our Argentina leg. We were so full and tired, we slept well.

Next morning was a slow start. We arranged a few trips and a show. Then caught a taxi to the Boca district. Taxis are cheap and the driver are safe and honest, and even coped with our bad Spanish! We visited Carminito first, which is famed for its colourful tin houses. There were scary figures at the windows to. The main street was once a railway siding, but is now an outdoor art gallery, with some amazing paintings by local artists.

Next we walked down to La Boca football stadium, home of Boca Juniors, the most famous Argentinian domestic team and where Maradonna played. We had a tour of the museum and the stadium, which was mainly in Spanish, but the lovely guide translated for us, it was like having a personal tour! The ground looked smaller then Reading's but amazingly held over 50,000 people, mainly because they still have proper stands. There are fences between the crowd and the pitch, which the home fans climb as the goal celebration. We had to have a go too of course.

 We had a drink in a local bar to cool off and was entertained by couples dancing the tango. We then had a walk by the smelly river to see the old transporter bridge. Then got a taxi back to the hotel.

Frederick recommended another restaurant near by. This one did not speak English, but we managed to decipher the menu enough and order something to eat. We had my favourite Argentine beer, Quilmes.

We had breakfast at the hotel the next day, served by the lovely Jose, who looks like Ben in CSA at RSSL and cooks a mean omelete. We then went to the bank for money, before catching a taxi to the centre. The taxi driver couldn't, or wouldn't, change a hundred, so I had to get out to find some change. The shop couldn't change it and pointed to the bank. I went in and there was a huge queue, which I joined. I explained to the lady in front of me that I need to change the 100 and she understood but couldn't change it. She then did something that restores my faith in human nature and gave me a 50 to pay the taxi, and told me to come back to get the 100 changed. Which of course I did and thanked her greatly!

We then had a wander around the Plaza de Mayo, where the Casa Rosada (pink castle) is. This is where Eva Peron famously delivered speeches from the balcony. the Plaza was surrounded by buildings from the grand bank to the beautiful colonial building, Cabildo, which despite the Italians, remains simple in style in contrast to the ornate buildings surrounding it. We visited the cathedral and stood to watch a demonstration in the street by dockworkers.

We walked through a lovely little craft market then went to the Cafe Tortoni. In business for over 150 years and famous for its literary connections (Borges drank here). It was dark with heavy wooden columns, but lightened by the Art Nouveau mirrored walls. A bit touristy, but nice. We then walked down to the giant obelisk in the centre of the main highway and caught a taxi back to the hotel.

Tonight was tango night! We got ready and caught a taxi to the Complijo Tango theatre. We were ferried into a dance studio for our Tango lesson. The group were mainly Brazilians and English. Our teacher was a very funny guy, and taught us 3 basic tango moves. It was such fun, we all laughed so much. We then had dinner, and watched how it should be done. We had the best seats, right at the front. The dancers were amazing, and performed both on the stage and in the audience. A really great and memorable night! We shared a car back to the hotel with an American couple. Jet lag catching up so we did not sleep well despite being tired.

We were up late the next day, both feeling a bit weary. We had coffee but no breakfast, too full from the night before. Then caught a taxi to Malba Art Gallery, recommended by Frederick (the walking tourist info guy!) The best artist was Argentinian Marta Minujin. Among her exhibits were pictures made of stuffed, colourfully painted cloth made into shapes (see photos!)

We then walked down to the United Nations Park, where there was a big sculpture flower set in a pool of water. The flower opened up in the morning and closed at night. We had a rest and an ice cream under the trees.

We then walked down to the Recoletta district. We strolled through the craft market. Then visited the cemetery where Evita is buried. It was a huge cemetery and her grave is not sign posted, but luckily the guidebook gave directions. There was a big crowd when we did find it. Fascinating place full of the rich and famous of Argentina. A nice peaceful place to just wander around.

After catching a taxi back to the hotel, we wandered to the nearest cafe for dinner. Then went to the local shops for sweets, a great old fashioned shop, with pick-a-mix sweeties which we managed to ask for. Then back to the hotel, had coffee and felt sick after the sweets, so not a good sleep!

We were late again, but in time for breakfast made by the lovely Jose. After a long chat with Frederick about travelling, we caught a taxi to the airport, we were bound for the Iguazu Falls.

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Comments

supit@hansarsamui.com on

Dear Paul & Linda,
Your pictures are so good, I realy enjoy of follow up and read yours
How many day more for you? I've send your blog to many people who's stay with us. Espeacaily people from Great Britain
Have a good the rest of your trip
All the best
Supit
Hansar Samui Resort & Spa

Jean Hackett on

Hi, I meant to comment on all the places you saw in NZ which we had visited some 13 years ago, but didn't quite manage it! We may have to do a return trip to cover some of the bits we didn't see, after reading your account.

However, the real reason I'm writing now is to tell you that you've been lucky: Christchurch has been hit by another earthquake, with loss of life and the destruction of the cathedral spire. How lucky are you?

Anne Denwood on

Birthday hope you have had a lovely one. You will have such a wounderful memory on this one,i bet. Still enjoying all your adventures and pictures.
All our love to you both.

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