Hey everyone, I´m little behind on my blog i´m afriad, but this is my Argentina installment, Enjoy!!
To get to Argentina from Sanitago I took a 7hr bus over the Andes. It was alittle cold but the views more than made up for that. Afer my bus ride i arrived in Mendoza, it was saturday night by the time i got there so i found myself a hostel nice and close to the bus station! The next day was sunday, of course.. and little did i realise that everything shuts up shop on sundays in Mendoza. So i had a wander around the town (which was very quiet) and took lots of pictures of plaza´s and random animals. Thats boredom for you! lol. Altohugh in Plaza Espanol (the one with the pretty tiles) there was a little stall that lent out books for you to read in the plaza. So i spent alittle time there, just chilling out. On my way back to the hostel I met a dutch guy who had told me that everything he had with him (backpack, wallet, passport etc) had been stolen! and all he had on him was 2pesos. This kind of freaked me out alittle tohugh I did think he must have been alittle stupid to leave absolutely everything he had unattented! but there you go. I tried to help him by pointing out some hostels and then said goodbye. And dont worry,I always make sure i lock up my valuables.
After my short time in Mendoza it was time for my first real long distance bus ride to the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. The bus ride was about 20hrs in total but luckily the Argentinians know how to do a long distance buses. We got hot food, drinks and our chairs were nice and comfy.
I had only planned on spending 3 nights in Buenos Aires but when i got there I realised that there was so much to do in this city that I would have to extend my stay. I got to my hostel early in the morning, dumped my stuff, had some breakie and went straight onto a walkng tour of the city. This city is huuuuuuuge so I thought it would help me get my bearings. Our guide was really good and took us to a few of the big landmarks like Plaza de Mayo, 9 de julio (the biggest road in the world...18 lanes in the middle of the city!) San Thelmo. He explained allabout the history of the city and the country. About Peron, Evita, the frequent (but harmless) protests (I had seen 2 already by my second day) and alot about the culture.
After this I felt ready to tackle the city by myself so the next day I set off to Galleria Pacifica (a shopping mall, and wandered around the city, doing the tourist thing and checking out the famous sights.
The next day i decided to go see the Recoleta Cemetery, which was a bus ride away (as the guy at the hostel had informed me). So i got the bus stop, payed for my ticket and then realised that i didnt actually have any idea of where i had to get off! so I ended up going to the end of the line and coming back, this time the bus driver told me when to get off, thank god! lol. So i made it to the Cemetery, which was actually amazing (if you can call a cemetery that!!). I got very snappy happy, found Evitas grave (which i thought was very understated and plain compared to alot of the others in there, lol)
After my first little hiccup with the local transport I went to San Thelmo markets and for dinner with some people from my hostel and had the biggest steak I`ve ever seen! It was for 3 people to share, there were five of us, so we got two. I think we should´ve just got one. It was an effort to finish off!! but it was still amazing. every steak i have after argentina is going to be a big disapointment.
The rest of my time in Buenos Aires was just spent chilling out nd exploring bits of the city, I went to a couple of artisan markets (read tourist markets) and a few more monuments.
After the big BA i head to the north of the country to Puerto Iguazu and Iguazu falls. This was a tiny little town that is completely geared up for tourists going to see the falls. However, I had a great time there. There were some really nice restaurants, so i treated myself to a good dinner before heading off to the falls the next day. I absolutely loved them, the weather was amazing, not a cloud in the sky. When you get there you get on alittle train that takes you to different parts of the park. first off you start off on a walk to see some of the smaller falls that you get pretty close too, and as a result pretty wet! The its back on the train to see some bigger more impressive falls and too see the big one, the diablo gargantua (the devils mouth) from afar, for some great pics. The at last, after another train and a fairly lengthy walk over a series of bridges you get to the big one, which was just breath taking. you are on the top of these massive waterfalls, looking down on tns and tons of water just hurtling towards the ground. You can´t really explain it all all, with the noise, the mists of water making rainbows everywhere you look, you really haveto be there.
So after my experience at the devils mouth I set off west towards Salta on a 23hour bus ride. Getting to Slata in the morning I had sme issues actually finding somewhere to stay. I got a taxi and asked him to take me to a place recommended in my guide book, hostal salta. He took me to hotel salta, which looked waaay out of my price range, but he was adament it was the place, so i got out and jumped in another taxi who knew the place i wanted, however when i got there, the address was correct but there was no hostal to be found, after asking in a local shop i discovered that the hostal had shut down!! So I walked four or five blocks before finding yet another taxi and went to another hostal in the guidebook! After that i didnt even care where i stayed, as long as i could stay somewhere, but the place was ok,basic but ok.
There wasnt a great deal to in Salta, I went up to the top of Cerro San Bernard, went out of dinner and drinks but mainly just enjoyed the sun from the plaza at coffee shops, watching the world go by. A nice relaxing end to my Argentinian experience, or so i thought...
I left Salta on a night bus heading towards the boarder or bolivia, at a town called La Quicha. I knew that i would be getting there early but I had read in guide book that the boarder crossing was 24hrs, so i didnt worry.
I arrived at about 5:30am and after some deliberation got a taxi to the boarder crossing as I didnt fancy walking through a strange town on my own that early in the morning. Once I got to the official crossing I got told in spanish by the gaurd that it doesnt open until 7am and i would have to wait until then so i culd get my official stamps. So I waited, and I waited, it was absolutely freezing. they eventually decided to open the office at 7:30am.
Tired and cold I managed to get out of Argentina :)