When we arrived in BA bus terminal our first mission was to find the metro station and then work out which line we needed to get, not that easy when your knowledge of the language is limited and the Argentinian's speak with a completely different accent to the rest of Spanish speaking South America! Luckily a really helpful man who spoke really good English came to our rescue and explained where we had to go and what tickets we needed to buy, it couldn't have been easier in the end!
After about 5 stops we got off the metro (similar to the London underground but smaller with only about 5 lines) and found our hostel nearby. We were a bit early and couldn't check in until 2pm but we were able to brush our teeth so felt a bit better. We left our bags with the reception staff and went to find breakfast and have a quick explore. The hostel was in a good location, only a few blocks walk to the main area's in each direction.
We strolled down a road that cuts diagonally across all the square blocks and ended up at the Presidential House, also known as the Pink House because it is literally bright pink, where Eva Peron aka Evita addressed the crowds from the balcony in the 1940's and 50's.
After walking a bit further and getting some breakfast/lunch we decided to head back and get checked into our room and take a shower. We needed to freshen up after such a long bus ride!
We also had a bit of a siesta which is kind of a requirement in Argentina. If you go to the shops between 12pm and 5pm they'll probably be shut! Everything shuts down in the afternoon!
We decided to go out after our sleep as the hostel was really quiet which was very strange as it's quite a large building with many rooms and without people there it completely lacked atmosphere. We had also been informed of a good steakhouse we needed to check out (the Argentinian's are world famous for their stake after all) so we went in search of it.
We were also thinking of staying a few more days in BA but we wanted to change hostel so we went to find the location of one that had been recommended. It was really hot so we could stroll in t-shirts after dark which was nice.
We found the other hostel and then what we originally thought was the steakhouse, however I don't think it was the same one after all but the food was excellent. Sarah managed to finish off their supply of Tia Maria as well so she was happy.
The next day we booked a city tour to give us a better idea of the city and where to go. Our bus, which turned out to be a minibus, was full, mostly of Brazilians or people from other South American countries. We were the only English so the guide translated just for us! We went to all the major sites like the Presidential House, the Obelisk, Boca Juniors football stadium (very small) where Maradona played and the San Telmo district which is the home of the Tango.
We were also told about botanical gardens, a zoo and a planetarium that were all too far away to visit on the tour but could be easily reached by metro. So we decided that the next day we would pay that area of the city a visit.
It was a good tour and gave us some good information, we also saw tango dancers performing in the street. There is an option for you to visit a tango performance but they are really expensive and are set up like something from Broadway so we decided against it. We were glad to see them in San Telmo instead but were disappointed by their tacky and ripped costumes.
In the evening our hostel held a BBQ which was surprisingly busy but then we found out that most of the people there were locals all celebrating this one guy's birthday. Only about 10 people showed up from the hostel itself but only 2 of them were prepared to speak English. They just happened to be French Canadian and were really nice.
The following morning we changed hostels early and went to meet Andy who had arrived on a 19 hour bus journey from the Iguazu Falls. We arranged to meet him that evening for dinner and drinks. He was staying at a hostel owned by the same company/family (?) as ours but had ended up in the other one because it was closer to where he was at the time but that didn't matter as we all had wristbands allowing us to enter both hostels.
Plans made Andy went off to get his bearings in the city and we jumped on the metro. When we got to the planetarium though it was closed. This was a bit disappointing as we had taken nearly an hour to get there as it was quite a long walk from the station, we bought ice creams though so it wasn't a complete waste of time. We also saw some of the zoo through the fence on the way past and were glad we didn't go there. There were 2 emu's and a giraffe in a tiny pen together and it smelt like no one cleaned the pens very often.
Many of the parks we walked through had lots of exercise equipment which is colourful and fixed just like the swings, and slides that you see in a playground. It was all being used though as is free which is much better than going to the gym!
That evening we met Andy and had a few beers, dinner and the hiccups! It was a brilliant night, good fun had by all.
Our final day in BA was spent exploring further and taking in the atmosphere and sights and our final night required an early night as we were both exhausted.
I mentioned earlier that we had extended our stay in BA and this was because we felt we were moving too quickly and only seeing bits of the city's we were visiting. This meant that we had to cut out several cities so that we could get to Brazil on time.
Next stop the small city of Resistencia which would form a small break in the journey to the Iguazu Falls. Unfortunately there is no accommodation online though which means we'll have to find something when we get there.