Arriving Wednesday evening, we have been non stop exploring the city of Buenos Aires. The public transportation here is awesome (and cheap) so it has made it even easier to see each of the neighborhoods surrounding us.
We flew into the international airport on the out-skirts of Buenos Aires, and after doing a little research learned that taxi is by far not the most affordable way to get into the city. We decided on taking a Tienda Leon – a shared large bus which took us into center city and then broke off into smaller cabs that brought us straight to our destination. This method takes a little longer but was half the price of a traditional cab.
At our air bnb we were greeted by the doorwoman, who was very kind and gracious. She showed us around the building; how to use the very confusing locks and keys, turn on the hot water and how to find her if any questions arrived. Our apartment was clean, simple, just what we needed although it didn’t quite look like the pictures on Air Bnb website (be careful of this, pics can be very deceiving. – The website made it look much more up to date and newer) This wasn’t really an issue though, the apartment still suited our needs. After relaxing for a bit we ventured out to find a grocery store to stock up on the basics to make our week long stay here more comfortable and convenient. Since eating out is typically a large expense when traveling, like in Cusco we went shopping for easy meals that could hold us over instead of going to a restaurant for each meal. We ended up getting pasta and sauce for a few dinners, eggs, cheese and bread for breakfast, some juices and tea.
We returned to the air bnb to prepare some pasta and then we were back out to check out the area. The town was booming, not really sure why, but there were people everywhere; mostly children and parents were congregated along the pedestrian walkway cheering. On our way back to the apartment we tried out a local pub where the happy hour was until 10pm and the place was packed – so it had to be good. We tried a few of the local brews and called it for the night.
Waking up and preparing our own breakfast of eggs cheese and toast we decided to venture out and learn the subte system (subway). It was quite easy, a refillable card that can be used universally with all the subte lines, bus routes and train stations. For only 0.33 each way, its a very affordable way to get around the city. On the map given to us by our door women we noticed a zoo in a nearby area so naturally that was our first stop! After navigating our way to the correct Subte line we grabbed a coffee and got to the zoo. Being Winter here in Buenos Aires, many of the main attractions are on their off season, this was great because the zoo had a discounted price, but many of the exhibits were closed or minimized for maintenance and comfort of the animals. Still much of the zoo was open and they had many exhibits with extremely lively animals. The bears were out saying hi to those who would stop by. Elephants were rolling in the mud. The king of the jungle- the lion was out sun bathing. Throughout the zoo all over the grassy areas were very over weight ducks and these strange rabbit-kangaroo-rodent things we learned were Patagonian Cavys. Very friendly, and roaming freely, the Cavy’s were lounging around watching all the people go by. Some were even feeding them!
Later that evening we met up with my roommate from college- Kristin, who has been studying Spanish here in Buenos Aires for the Summer. We caught up over dinner and drinks, making plans to see the city of Tigre the next day.
We woke up early to meet Kristin and her friends at the train station to go to Tigre – a city located among a delta with many ports and canals. Being a large tourist area we decided it would be a great place to explore. After a 45 minute train ride we arrived and sought out a cafe. The town was quite dead for being 11:30 on a Friday, but once noon hit the area was booming. We walked around the canals surrounding the train station, and made our way to Puerto de Frutos. Here the port was lined with markets and restaurants, with many tourists shopping around. We decided to take a river tour and loaded onto a boat that toured us around the canals. The houses here seemed to be fully sustained by the rivers, using them as roads rather than having cars and streets. It was amazing to see whole communities with docks as driveways and using the river as if they didn’t know any different. For lunch we had choripans – a chorizo sandwich with peppers and onions.
After making breakfast at the apartment we met up with Kristin to go the the Exposition de Rural- basically a town fair, with booths selling local goods, food and gifts. Cows, sheep and chickens on display to be voted as the best (not sure how they were voted, but there was a massive chicken there with a blue ribbon so it must have had to be determined by size) We went on an extreme test drive for the newest models of chevy trucks- this was quite entertaining! With a professional as our driver, we were taken up and over a 60 degree incline which felt like a roller coaster, over a teeter totter and through a lot of mud. There was a show put on by the police force where they performed a routine with horses where they did stunts on their backs!! It was amazing, for not being a horse person, these horses were very well trained and the police men were really talented themselves!
We explored the area surrounding Kristins place and went to La Recolata Cemetary. A place where Argentina’s famous and royal citizens are buried. Each family having a massive tomb dedicated to them.
That night we were invited to attend an Asado- basically an Argentinian version of a BBQ. We brought salad and wine and the meat was to be provided by the host. With many of Kristins classmates and friends there, I was worried that the language barrier would be an issue but it ended up being not a problem! We were greeted so kindly and with a LOT of food. The meat was cooked right in front of us on a grill and passed around as it was ready, slowly filling up on chorizo, pork, sausage, chicken, steak, you name it, they had it! It was great learning the traditions and being apart of am authentic Argentinian celebration!
For the remainder of our trip we are hoping to make a day trip to Colonia in Uruguay, see the Galileo Planetarium and visit some more with Kristin before going to our final stop in RIO!!