We came to Buenos Aires with a flight from Lima. We had heard lots of how great Buenos Aires was, and how much we would love it! It was nice, and we spent a relaxing 7 nights here. We had meant to only spend 5, but that wouldn't have been fair on the city!
On a friends recommendation, we had booked into Hotel Brisas Del Mar, in the San Telmo district. Not sure what has happened to the place since, but we only stayed there 1 night. A run down place with plastic mattresses and the most unfriendly hostess we have yet to encounter. This pretty much set the agenda for the rest of the day, explore San Telmo, and find somewhere nicer to live! We did, and stayed another 6 nights at Puerto Limon Hostel.
San Telmo has a very nice feel to it, with lots of old buildings, nice shops, and lots of places to eat and drink. We also found that Buenos Aires has the best tourist information available as of yet! If we had known in advance, we could have downloaded audio guides, walking tours, and all sorts of other stuff! The information kiosks were also conveniently located, and helped us several times. Although with conflicting advice at times...
Anyways, Sara devised a thorough plan for how we could best absorb the sights of the city. We had arrived on a heat wave, which was indeed very nice! It was receding though, so we went from nice and hot gradually towards cooler and rain, but the weather lasted pretty much the whole time we where there!
First step of the plan, was to look around the city centre, and San Telmo. We found some nice walking streets and parks, and generally just cruised, hung out at the bakeries, and drank coffee. After the first day, and realising that Argentina was about to celebrate their national day, we decided to extend our stay, and fit that in as well. Hence the extra nights.
Wednesday, we decided to walk to Recoleta. That was a walk which turned out to be a lot longer than we had pictured, but eventually we got there, and we again enjoyed some nice food, before venturing into the renowned cemetery. We found Evita Peron's grave, but much more interesting was the other graves. The whole place was in varying conditions, with some very elaborate sites, and some very anonymous. Some derelict, and some well maintained. But it had a nice feel to it, and we enjoyed it. Then we walked back, shopped around for a bus fare to Iguazu, went shopping at a Supermercado. Now, on that note, Sara has been vigorously seeking them them out. The Chileans we didn't explore in too much detail, the Argentinians have all been disappointing. The Bolivians don't seem to have them, all business is conducted on the street. The Peruvians have the best so far! The bigger and grander supermarket next to the bus station was not what it promised, so we could safely resume shopping at our local place. Much to my relief!
Then we had a look at Abasto, and the heart of Tango. Another neighbourhood, that was nice, but some of the charm had left it. We figured we try Kosher McDonald's, they didn't have fries, but we tried anyways, and it was crap. Nothing like the burgers you can buy anywhere else here! Then, the highlight of the day, was Indiana Jones 4, with Spanish subtitles. We figured the dubbed one wouldn't do us much good...
Friday we headed for the money, Palermo. We didn't really see it, but they had a lot of restaurants and designer shops up there, although I think I like them better in San Telmo. Looking at all the things they are creating, designing and doing here, are giving us a lot of ideas for projects to come!
Saturday we checked out La Boca, an old workers neighbour hood. It felt a bit like heading into Port Kembla, with only one nice spot in it, which was very developed. We had plenty of Tango shows under our sleeve after La Boca, and lots of friendly chickos wanted to dance with us, or have their photo taken with us in varying poses... At night we went into town, where they had blocked one of the main streets, to organise Gran Milonga de Mayo, which is a "come and dance" event. This was in preparation for the national day the next day of course.
It turned out nothing much happens in Argentina on their national day, the president, CFK, was away in Salta, so all the action was up there. There was some parade in Palermo, but that was too far away. Instead we found that the typical San Telmo market had extended itself some 13 blocks, with lots of impromptu street shows and stalls and whatever else. It was indeed a nice and relaxing day for us!
Next day, Monday, we caught the early bus to Iguazu and settled in for the next 18 hours.