After the tranquility of the Estancia, Cordoba where we were for one night, and then Buenos Aires seemed like a heady shot to the system, back to a world full of people, cars, shops and city hustle and bustle. Buenos Aires compared to the rest of South America that I had seen was so much more European, full of familiar looking buildings and avenues. Naturally we spent a good deal of time here humming songs from the musical Evita as we walked around…
The weather in Buenos Aires wasn´t the best, especially as I had managed to send all of my warmer clothes to the laundry for 2 days, but I still had such a great time in the city. We explored most of the centre of the city on day one, including the cemetery full of intricate mausoleums where Evita is buried, the Casa Rosada (Pink House where the president lives), and the best steak restaurant in Buenos Aires La Cabrera where you can´t make reservations as it is so popular, just turn up, put your name down and hope for a table! Day 2 I met up with a friend I had made in Cusco who happened to be from Buenos Aires and I got the local´s perspective on things! We rode on the subway and went to a peña for lunch, a make-shift bbq in the street with lots of locals which was cool! I still managed to drag him around the tourist spots though; a guided tour of the theatre, San Telmo with its street antiques market ( but a lack of cool street tango which I had hoped for) and La Boca district where you can see all the colourful painted houses. It was an amazing day.
Buenos Aires was also the point where we lost half of our group members and we got some new travel buddies for the rest of the road trip to Rio. Charlotte, Wayne and Sharon and I were joined by Naomi, Jackie, Liz, Iain and Andreas to make our contingent even more multi-national; We are now made up of Brits, Kiwis, Australians, Irish, Canadian and Danish!
From BA we drove north, getting a glimpse of Uruguay across the river along the way, and the landscape suddenly became much more tropical and jungley! We had a day and night at San Ignacio de Mini where we got to explore the ruins of the old Jesuit mission there, where the monks had set up a community to convert the local population to Catholicism.
Next was Iguassu Falls, our last stop in Argentina. We arrived at the Falls at about 10 in the morning and had the day to explore before we would cross the border into Brazil. It was such an incredible day and had some more definite pinch me moments. As soon as we got into the national park we went for our boat ride where we would get absolutely soaked to the bone going so close to the bottom of the falls! The rest of the day we explored the waterfalls from the top, took a ton of pictures to rival Machu Picchu, rode in a little steam train, and were accosted by packs of raccoon-like animals who, in a fashion half exasperating half hilarious, launched attacks on the lunch area to steal quite successfully people´s lunches from their hands!
Then Adios Argentina, olá Brazil! The campsite on the Brazilian side of the Falls where we spent 3 nights, was super-duper and a brilliant introduction to Brazil. We filled our days with riding local buses, sunbathing, viewing the waterfalls from the Brazilian side, and going to an all you can eat buffet restaurant where we could watch dances from all over South America - cheesy but fun!
People at home might also be surprised to hear that I visited a bird park of all places! I summoned up all my courage and faced my fears in order to see the humming birds, macaws, toucans, and spoonbills! It was pretty terrifying I´m not going to lie but I got through it and came out the other side with some great photos at the end which almost made it worth it - haha!
Up next - more of Brazil and much much more wildlife!!!