Buenos Aries is a wonderful city. It is so vibrant and very large. I walked most of the many districts and felt by the end of my stay I had walked a marathon if not more. The weather was wonderful - warm and sunny. Perfect for just getting out there and wandering around.
I decided to get the underground to the hostel form the bus station. The getting on was fine but exiting was a different mater. The signs were really confusing and it took me a bit to find an exit - I thought I was going to be stuck down there forever. Then form the station I had a 20 minute walk to the hostel. Given how sick I was feeling I probably should have just got a cab. The walk was amazing though - I had to cross the widest road in the world. It has about 20 lanes and even with the lights you can actually only get half way before they change. Then you are stuck in the middle with cars passing at breakneck speed for the lights to change again! It was amazing. Glad to get to the hostel. It was on the 6th floor but it had one of those really old lifts inside a cage and where you have to shut the door. The hostel was OK but nothing special. The main drawback for me was that they allowed smoking in the bar and the eating area. I don't like it anyway but in my current state it just brought on a coughing fit which was really embarrassing. Everyone kept asking me for days if I was OK - I didn't know who most of them were. In the end I had to accept I was ill and I went to bed for 48 hours and slept for virtually all of them!!!!
When I finally woke up I wasn't 100% but nothing was stopping me. I needed to get going and I certainly did. I walked most of the city. I was very tired by the end but I felt like I had at least seen the city. I walk around the centre and had coffee at Cafe Filippo (this was my Grandfather's name and today was my Grandmother's birthday so it seemed a nice coincidence). From here I walked to Recoleta where there is a huge cemetery. I have never seen a cemetery that resembled a little town before. It had small temples and little streets. It was a maze and it took me some time to find the grave of Evita but I did. It was not too ostentation but covered in flowers. I then walked towards the large park and visited the Japanese Gardens. They were so peaceful and serene. They had a really posh restaurant and I decided to have lunch here overlooking the pond full of carp. I had rice with prawns with mineral water (still not feeling well so no wine - it must be serious). I then took a stroll around the lake. It was so sunny and people were jogging, rollerblading or just chilling on rugs with their loved ones. Around the corner was the Evita Museum. It was really interesting. It had a bit of information in English, quite a few of her outfits, speeches she made with subtitles and overall made you realise how much she had actually done in her short life. Whether she motivated by good intentions or greed, you couldn't help but realise she was an amazing woman. It had been a long day and it was time to get myself back to the hostel for rest and Lemsip!
The next day I went to La Boca, this is the most dangerous of the Buenos Aires districts. There is actually only one street that you are able to walk round. I caught the bus which dropped you off at the top of this street. It is a strange place. It has brightly coloured buildings, lots of cafés with touts trying to get you to go in, tango dancers hanging around to make a fast buck by posing for photos with you and a real air of falseness. It reminded me of those false streets you get in amusement parks. I felt like looking behind the façades of the building to see if there was any substance to them. After 30 minutes I was glad to be leaving. Next stop was San Telmo. This district is renowned for it's antique shops. It's a lovely area to wandered round. In the evening, met up with Andy and Emma. They are an English couple who I first bumped into in San Pedro, Chile. We went to the famous Café Tortoni for a Tango show. The show was amazing. They had a guy singing and several Tango routines. The highlight for us was this guy who came on with a drum. He then went onto tap dance and fling ropes around and tap in rhythm. It is so hard to describe and make you realise how great this was but it was. We were speechless. Finished the evening off with a coffee.
The next day I went to Colonia in Uruguay. It felt so strange to be going to a different country for the day! You get there by ferry but because I chose to go on the fast one it meant the journey was not as exciting as you couldn't go outside. Colonia was so pretty and definitely worth the effort. It is a small antiquated town. It has cobbled street, really old buildings and pretty views of the coast round virtually every corner. It reminded me of the small fishing towns in Cornwall or Devon. I wandered around, sat and listened to the parakeets in the park, read my book on the pier and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had pasta and a glass of wine in a little café on the edge of the park and people watched and soaked up the sun. It was heaven.
For my last night in Buenos Aires, me and Donna (lovely ozzie) met Jane and Ben in the best restaurant in the city - La Cabrera. It is a Parrilla - an Argentinian steakhouse. It is so popular you have to queue to get in. We arranged to meet at 8pm but the underground and the walk took longer than expected and we rocked up at 9pm. Perfect timing as it turned our as Jane and Ben had been in the queue for an hour and as we arrived a table became free. It was a wonderful experience. It is quite small and the atmosphere is really cosy. The food was superb. 3 of us shared different types of steak and it came with lots of different side dishes. The side dishes were so good - mashed potato, sweet potato, artichoke, mushrooms, beetroots and many more that I cannot remember. All washed down with a beautiful Malbec. One of the best meals of the trip. IT was a nice way to say goodbye to Buenos Aries and Jane and Ben (they leave for New Zealand so no more chances of bumping into them now).
For my last day, me and Donna had a ladies day. We did a bit of shopping on Santa Fe and finished off with lunch in Palermo Viejo. The sun was shining and we sat outside a café in a square. We had a bottle of cold white wine with a selection of dishes to pick at. We were 'ladies that do lunch'!!!!! Lucky for me Donna is also going to Iguazu falls so for the next few days we are travelling together and later today we caught a night bus to Puerto Iguazu.
I loved Buenos Aires and of all the places I have been to in South America, this is the only one I could honestly say I could live in. It had such a vibrant feel to it and so many restaurants and bars to discover. I would definitely like to come back some day.