Day 5 – Captivating Buenos Aires/Argentina
We did get our wake up call at 03.35am. We were picked up from our hotel at 04.35am and taken to Santiago’s International Airport where we bought books and t-shirts (I know) and waited for our flight at 0735 to Buenos Aires/Argentina. I couldn’t help noticing how cheap the booze at duty free was but then its cheap everywhere over here. Bottles of Absolut at 18 USD! We boarded on time but due to fog only took off an hour later. It didn’t matter as I found myself seated next to an Argentinean jazz musician, Pablo who, before we took off gave me a thorough introduction to his hometown, Buenos Aires. He wrote me a list of his favourite things to eat, see and do: He recommended Siga La Vaca (Follow the Cow) for the best Argentinean BBQ. Fran (our horse riding tour guide) did too. Parolaccia for the freshest Pastas, El Cuartito for Pizza (we ate lunch here today-the best pizza we all agreed we had ever eaten in our whole lives) washed down with the Quilmes, Argentinean’s most popular beer (Neill had) and me an entire bottle of one of Argentina’s finest wines called Lopez (Malbec wine), all of which were recommended by Pablo. I had a white onion and mozzarella cheese pizza. It literally melted the elastic in my underwear! Neill had a tomato, anchovy and olive one and Josh ham, pineapple and mozzarella cheese. The venue has to be seen to be believed. It was like sitting in someone’s kitchen albeit a very large and extremely busy one. I noticed a lot of old men on their own eating a single slice of pizza with a 750ml bottle of red! This establishment’s been going since 1834, must check to see if I’ve got this date right! Well, if the framed photographs covering the walls of icons from yesteryear were anything to go buy I’d say it were very old. The wine was to die for. Must look to see how readily available it is to buy in NZ.
Pablo also told us of the infamous Argentinean BBQ. He wrote down the many different delicious cuts of delectable meats to ask for, eg. Bife de Chorizo (homemade sausage), Mollega, Chinchulin (tripe), Pechito de Cerolo, Bondida and Vacio but insisted we ask for Lomo-Fillet of Beef. He also wrote which coffee to order first thing in the morning, a Cafe Conleche-with milk (we’d had one at the Italian Café earlier) and Cortado-an espresso cut with a little hot milk-a small one that you’d usually enjoy after a meal.
He told us where to buy leather goods (which Argentina is also famous for) in Buenos. There’s a neighbourhood where all the leather factories in Buenos can be found and where we’d be able to get them at half price. He told us we’d be ripped off if we’d bought them downtown. When I mentioned this to our guide Monica, she advised us not to go there (dangerous area). She didn’t elaborate. Did I need a third leather jacket? Frankly, I didn’t think we’d have time. Pablo advised us which taxis in the city to catch, Radio Taxis who have meters unlike their illegal counterparts who take tourists for a ride (literally). We’d also have to try their famous ice cream, Freddo and Volta which Josh is really looking forward to. Tomorrow night, we’re being picked up at 8pm and taken to a night of Tango dancing that’ll include a 3-course meal.
Buenos has the most stunning architecture. There’s a lot of French and Italian design. Neill’s getting frustrated with my stopping and photographing every building, door, shuttered window, balustrade, lamp posts with their intricate metalwork. Pablo said that when he first visited Paris he thought he was in Buenos Aires. I also noticed a lot of Professional Dog Walkers. Again, you have to see them to believe them. They have around 8-10 or more dogs on leashes. One woman who walked past me had around 6 or 7 smaller dogs, each dressed in their own little outfit. Hilarious.
A really important thing I may have forgotten to mention about Santiago/Chile was the amount of stray dogs walking the streets. And not poorly looking dogs. Beautiful dogs of all sizes and breeds. We even saw a gorgeous Husky with their see through aquamarine eyes. I couldn’t believe it. Our tour guide Juan said most these dogs originally had owners, but when they went off on there holidays or no longer wanted them; they put them out on the streets. Can you believe that? I asked him why they looked in such great condition, where they got their food. He said their version of an SPCA didn’t have enough space at their facilities so they get fed every day, have been sterilized and are looked after. They don’t look vicious or bark. You find them everywhere, lying in the sun as happy as pie.
Oh, and did I mention all the kissing couples in Santiago? Everywhere you look, especially in the parks. Young and old alike, making out. Seriously making out. Not the least bit embarrassed. Forget taking pics of scenery and suchlike. Neill and I got so good at photographing them. We thought it’d make a great coffee table book.
I must get myself to bed, it’s 04.26am and breakfasts from 7 to 10.30am plus we’re being picked up at 9am. That doesn’t give me much time to sleep but who wants to? There’s so much to see and do. I don’t ever want this end. I have got to come back and stay for longer. It’s insane.
Blog supplied by – Michelle of Auckland. Adventure World offer a large range of tailor-made, independent and small group holidays to South America. For more information on this amazing destination NZ: click here / AU: click here or contact Adventure World on NZ: 0800 238 398 or AU: 1300 295 049.