Buenos Aires has a population of 15million people and is a fantastic city where you can party til dawn, shop for bargains or relax in elegant parks. We spent almost a week here and could easily have stayed longer. It´s such a diverse city with different neighbourhoods and so many different things to see and do. On our first day we walked around the area of our hostel, San Telmo. San Telmo is full of many small antique shops and is famous for its Sunday market and tango culture.
The next day, with Soph and Phil, we headed to La Boca, a vivid working class neighbourhood situated along the old port. Its main attraction is colourful caminito, a short pedestrian street lined with corrogated metal, coloured buildings which are now many cafes, restaurants, shops and houses. La Boca is also home to the famous Boca Jnrs football team. The stadium is less than a 10 minute walk from the main street and is bright yellow and blue in colour, matching the team colours and keeping in the coloured theme of its surroundings. We all really liked the vibrant atmosphere of the La Boca streets where artists display their amazing artworks. This area is also well known for its tango culture so after walking around we headed to a cafe on Caminito for a coffee and watched, firstly 2 men dance, and then later a man and woman. Tango is a really intense dance, very sensual and performed with such chemistry that when we were pulled from our seats to pose with the men we couldn´t help but giggle.
On day 3 we headed to Recoleta, one of the richest neighbourhoods in BA where we visited the famous cemetry where Eva Peron, aka, Evita is buried. The cemetry was very strange indeed, more like a village than a graveyard as the tombs are so large and houselike, there is definately a mini city feel to the place. Afterwards we headed to another part of the city where the River Plate stadium is to get tickets for Rach and Vik to go to Sunday´s final game of the season. We took a while deciding where to sit and needed the help of a map of the stadium, eventually deciding on what we thought were half way line seats. We left the ticket office happy with our purchase but confused as to why we didn´t have seat numbers. On clarification with the people in the ticket office we realised that there are no allocated seats and you just have to turn up early to get good seats in your chosen block.
Argentinans, especially city dwellers, are known to eat and go out late. By late we mean eating no earlier than 9pm and heading to clubs/bars at 2am, before these times the restaurants and clubs are pretty much deserted. Because of this, other than the first night, we didn´t go much in BA as we are lightweights by their standards!
We spent some time wandering the main city where we walked around the pink presidential palace from which Evita addressed the people of the city and famously sang to them. We popped into the cathedral for a quick look before heading up Ave Florida, the main shopping street, with a very Western feel to it!
Vik and Rach headed to the footy on Sunday after we´d all had a wander round the famous Antique market in San Telmo. Unsure of what time the gates would open and how they would get to their seats they made sure they had enough time to get to the ground and get settled before KO. They ended up arriving at the ground 3 hours early, being able to go straight in, find seats easily and then had lots of time to kill. There was a testomonial match before River Plate kicked off at 4:20 so they watched that halfheartedly while awaiting the main game. They were hoping to get a Quilmes in the ground but unfortunately no alcohol is served inside. Eventually the ground was full and kick off was approching. The crowd were crazy throwing streamers and setting off fire crackers and the general atmosphere was electric. The game ended 2-1 but the championship depended on the result of another game that still had 4 minutes of play remaining so the River Plate players ran straight into the changing rooms after the final whistle to await the other result. After 4 minutes the ground erupted and it was obvious that River Plate were champions. We chose a great game to go and see.
In the evening, with our new friend Dad (see Uruguay) we walked down to the dock area which had a very similar feel to the Albert dock in Liverpool. Posh bars and restaurants! We decided we wanted cheesecake but on the way back we found everything was closed as, without realising it, it had reached 1am (it was a Sunday).
The next day we were getting a 17 1/2 hour bus journey down to Puerto Madryn in Patagonia and because of the times of the buses we decided to go semi-cama which is the worst of the classes! We got the metro to the bus terminal, and after 2 stops Rach noticed her bag was open and her purse was gone. The tube wasn´t even that busy so just a warning to other travellers to be careful! Nothing of value lost, so on to Patagonia...