01.07.2008 - 05.07.2008 12 °C
From Puerto Madryn, we travelled for 2 days to Buenos Aires. We spent a night bush camping as there isn't a whole lot between Puerto Madryn and Buenos Aires. I was on cook group (see post Life on Carmen) that night and we managed to cook up what I think is the best meal yet. We had a sausage and pumpkin stew and meringues, Dulce de Leche and whipped cream. It was yummy.
So, Buenos Aires. This is a very vibrant, energetic city, very well developed and first world. The city is the capital of Argentina and is divided into 48 Barrios (neighbourhoods). We are staying in the Central Barrios (Microcentro) on Ave. Mayo near plaza de Mayo.
We got here on Tuesday night and after dropping off our bags we headed out for some food. What else can you eat in Buenos Aires but steak? A group of us ended up at a restaurant in San Telmo (just South of the Microcentro). The steak was amazing and the red wine was ok.
Wednesday we got up early and had breakfast at a famous cafe called "Cafe Tortoni".
The cafe is 100 years old and claims to be the oldest cafe in Argentina. It has very high ceilings and amazing paintings on glass in the ceilings. The house special breakfast is Hot Chocolate with 3 Churros (long thin doughnuts!). We thought this was a little indulgent so we opted for coffee, toast, dulche de leche and one Churros for a taste. Churros are yummy.
The rest of the day was spent walking around. Our main focus was around San Telmo, one of the oldest and best preserved Barrios in Buenos Aires. The area is full of antiques, arts and crafts on cobbled, tree-lined streets.
We grabbed a take away lunch of steak sandwich from the same place we dined at the night before.
Late afternoon we headed to the North of the Microcentro for some shopping. I purchased some running stuff as I am rapidly getting wider from all the steak and Dulce de Leche. I also got an Alpaca Poncho and Chris got a lovely fleece as his other warm top shrunk at the laundry!
Thursday we got up, had breakfast at Cafe Tortoni again (with just one Churros each, this time) and headed off to Recoleta. This area has a French architecture-style and is known for its squares, parks, cafés, galleries and the Recoleta Cemetery. The Cemetery includes graves of some of the most influential and important people of Argentina, including several presidents, scientists, and wealthy characters. Internationally, Eva Perón's grave is the most famous and the biggest tourist draw. When I say grave, I don´t mean grave like we have back home. Chris and I were very shocked by the opulance and grandure of the graves or mausoleums in the Recoleta Cemetery. I think the photos explain why.
After the Cemetery we went for a walk around the neighbourhood. We saw professional dog walkers walking 12+ dogs at one time. We saw the Engineering and Law schools and the Floralis Genérica, located in United Nations Park. The metallic petals open and close based on the brightness of the sun.
We also had a coffee at La Biela, a to-be-seen in cafe apparently!
In the evening we went to a Tango show at Cafe Tortoni (I now have the t-shirt!). The show lasted 1.5 hours and was a good cultural experience. We understood very little of what was said and sung and compared it to going to see opera in Italian. The dancing was amazing. I have no idea how they dance like that - all hips and legs!
I have loved Buenos Aires and that has sealed my adoration for Argentina. This country is by far the best place I have vistied in a long time. I say I, not we, as although Chris really likes it here, the clincher for me is the horse culture. What other country can you buy saddles, bridles, saddle cloths, etc. in the middle of the capital city?
Steak, wine, Dulche de Leche and horses.... dreamy.
Today is our last day in Buenos Aires before heading to Cordoba and 3 days at an Estancia (http://www.ride-americas.com/) for wine tasting, horse riding and ranch skills, like lassoing.
From now till we get to Rio we have a lot of camping. In fact our itinerary shows every day as a camping day for the 13 nights before getting to Rio!! From the Estancia we head to the Iguazu falls and cross into Brazil from there. We are not sure if we will have any access to the internet during this time, so if you don´t hear from us for 14 days we probably haven't been eaten by Puma, Indians or Condor, or fallen into the Iguazu falls, we are just enjoying the outdoor life!