So Buenos Aires....
We arrived at our hotel just after lunch and were all pleasantly surprised as it was so plush! And no more dorms/bunkbeds! 4 star, mini bar, TV and everything!
After getting over the inital elation of staying in a nice hotel a few of us went to explore the surrounding area. We were staying in Downtown so everything was on the doorstep, which was great. I was so glad to actually be in a city again after Colonia... We did a bit odf shopping and watched some tango on the street, had some drinks etc and then went back to the hotel as we had decided to go out that night and we were told ´noone goes out before midnight, clubs don´t open until 2, so have a nap first.
After napping we bought very cheap drinks from the supermarket to prepare ourselves. We then went to the Palermo Soho to find a bar. it becomes a blur after that point to be honest. it was alot of fun, but i am still getting used to the South American measures. From what i can remember the club was pretty s*** but we all seemed to have fun. We were locked out of the hotel when we came back though, after shouting abuse over the intercom we were finally let in.
The next day a few of us went to Plaza de Mayo for some sightseeing. This is where many of thefamous buildings are - like the pink government building in Evita. There are alot of important and grand looking buildings in this square, and i should have wrote down the names before i started writing this, as i have forgotten them. Anyway, it´s impressive and very European.
We then hung around the area until 3.30 when there is a weekly protest from the mother´s of the missing. These mothers had their children taken away over 30 years ago due to the political situation at the time and they have no idea where they are, if they are dead or not. Since then, they have protested weekly to raise awareness and keep the cause alive. Marcela, our guide explained the background of the situation whilst we were there, and when around a hundred fairly old ladies started to silently walk around the square with photos of their lost children and twenty-somethings, many of us got pretty emotional.
We then went to Cafe Tortoni, which is apparently the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires. As they love their coffee we felt compelled to go, and it was a nice chanceto warm up a bit. It isn´t your normal bog standard cafe. It has a massive wooden door that is closed all of the time. You have to then knock and a doorman answers, he asks how many people there are and then closed the door again. Then you have to wait while they make space for you. after this faffing around i thought it would really be something special inside but it wasn´t anything that amazing if i am honest, just a nice at deco cafe while noce coffee.
That night we went to a steak restaurant in San Telmo, which is the old town, it has cobbled streets and is very picturesque and quaint. Marcela took us to a restaurant that the locals go to. It was here i had my first experience of Argentine steak. i had my hopes up, and i was not disappointed. the steak was a big as the plate and it was amazing. i made myself finsih it all as it was just so good! It was our official last night together as a group so we stayed in the restaurant til late and said our goodbyes to some of the people that weren´t moving on.it was actually quite sad.
We were supposed to have another day and night in Buenos Aires, but as the bus company decided to strike, it turned out that we couldn´t get a bus to Bariloche for two days, so we were told we were staying in Buenos Aires for another two nights. stck in Buenos Aires, shame!
On the Friday, some of us went to La Boca. This is a very busy and touristy area as there are lots of different coloured houses, street performers, cute cafes, street tango etc. ( you can even have your picture taken with a Maradona lookalike - i mean what more do you want?) We walked around here for a while before coming to the football stadium and having a look around there. We then took a taxi to Recoleta to visit the cemetary.
i was not that excited at the prospect of going to the cemetary at first, but i thought i´d go along as it was it´s cited as one of the places you should visit. We had a look in the church and then went to the cemetary. I have never seen anything like it. Honestly, some of the graves, or tombs is probably a better word, were bigger than a lot of people´s flats. it´s creepy as it´s like some weird town. In many of the tomb things you can see the coffins as they have glass windows. It´s really odd, but was definately worth a visit. Eva Peron´s grave is a big attraction, there was a massive queue just to take a picture next to it, which i though was slightly over the top, but whatever your into...
That night we just went for dinner and a few drinks. ( a extremely cheap pasta restaurant called Broccolinos,where you can share a half portion with someone there´s that much food. so go if you ever go to Buenos aires)
On my last full day in Buenos Aires i just walked around San Telmo in the morning and went to a couple of the markets in Palermo Soho and Recoleta in the afternoon. i bought some new gloves out of necessity. i was buying haviannas and bikinis in Brazil and now i am buying gloves and becoming attached to my thermals, bad times!
Anyway, for our last night in Buenos Aires, a few of us decided to go and see a Tango show. The one we signed up for included a tango lesson, three course dinner and show. I was quite dubious about the lesson as i heard you had to dance with everyone in the class, but it ended up being hilarious and a lot of fun. We are all now certified tango dancers! the dinner and show were pretty good too. We finished the night in an Irish bar ( as you always do..) and had to say our goodbyes to the other people who had stayed on in Buenos Aires with us, but were not carrying on on the trip. Again, it was a bit sad. I was especially sad as a few of them are off to Colombia where it is actually hot!!
On sunday, we got a bus around mid day to Bariloche, in the South of Argentina. This is popular ski resort for many South Americans. When we arrived 24 hours later i could not believe how cold it was. After checking into the hostel, which was really homely, we went for a walk about. Bariloche is beautiful. The Andes are so imposing, but very, very beautiful, they almost don´t look real. We soon went back to the refuge of the hostel and watched a Argentine film and drunk hot chocolate with rum in it ( much needed)
The next day, i was persuaded, once again to go on a hike. This time, in the Andes to see the black glacier on mount Tronodor. Now this didn´t appeal to me that much but apparently there are only two black glaciers in the world, and i also thought i should try and embrace the cold weather. Well, this time i should have listened to my first instinct as it was a miserable day for me. I was already feeling a bit feverish, and it snowed all day, really heavy snow. i have literally never been as cold. The mountains and scenery were amazing and alot of the walking was ok, but it got quite scary when we saw three avalances! The Brazilians on the trip were loving it! After a few hours of walking we reached the black glacier, but because of the snow clouds it was hardly visable.
To top the day off, when we got back to the hostel i found out that i have to buy yet another camera!!!!! i can not believe my bad luck. ( it´s a long story, but i no longer have the one i had for a week) So yeh, not the best few days.... but sure it will get better!
I am currently in Puerto Varas, we crossed into Chile yesterday. It was the strictest border crossing ever. everybag got checked, sniffer dogs went on the bus, we got patted down, everything. eventually we all got through. Since then, i have been in bed with my fever...bad times! Hopefully i will be ok after today, we are staying in a hostel with no hot water or heating, so it´s a bit difficult, but i´m a trooper. Off for some lovely fresh seafood tonight and then to Pucon tomorrow, which should be a little warmer too - and Bolivia in a week - can´t wait!
Apologies for the epic and slightly over detailed blog..hope all is good back home