It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Argentina for 4 days now. It feels like longer but also like we’ve not even started as we still have another leg of the trip to go. That is our flight to Ushuaia which is an archipelago right at the most southern tip of the continent on Tierra Del Fuego, literally “Land of Fire” in Spanish. Early tomorrow morning (Tuesday 26th September, 2017) we will board this final flight and that only means one thing, we get to ride our bikes again!
Buenos Aires has been a great introduction to Argentina’s culture and food, as well as helping us to acclimatise after our 36 hours of living in airports and on planes. We can’t complain though. Turkish Airlines looked after us, especially on the 16 and a half hour flight from Turkey to Argentina (via a refuelling stop in Sao Paolo). Most importantly our bike boxes and the el-cheapo laundry bags we bought (and realised were terrible so got them wrapped with plastic in the airport) survived the flight too. Its always such a headache flying with bikes and this time even more so because they play a vital part on our trip.
As usual when we go on a city break Ben and I walked for hours each day and then walked some more in our indecision of where to eat. It hasn’t been a problem though, we have always found somewhere decent to get food. The bakery where we have been buying our facturas (pastries) from each day is going to miss us when we leave! I just hope that we haven’t reached the peak of the Dulce de leche baked goods already because they really have been something special.
As far as tourist destinations go, Buenos Aires isn’t as popular as other places in South America but it does have some fantastic sights to see, such as Recoleta Cemetery. Yes, really, a cemetery is a destination for tourists – see the photos below. The tomb on the right with the flowers on the door belongs to the Duarte family, famously known for Eva Perón, better known as María Eva Duarte de Perón, Eva Perón and Evita, probably the most visited tomb in the cemetery.
We also explored the Bosques De Palermo a number of times over the few days in BA, with its beautiful park and lakes it was a nice place to relax in the sun and soak up the Argentinian culture. We spent the first two days exploring the neighbourhoods of Colegiales (where we stayed), Palermo and Belgrano both on foot and by bike. The first day walking around the city was a lot to take in and it felt so far from home. The streets are all set out on a grid system, the roads are much wider – often 2 or 3 lanes – and compared to rural Herefordshire, it is SO hectic (more so than Halifax, too). The longer we’ve spent here the more we’ve gotten used to how wide the roads are and we’ve learnt how to cross them, but we still can’t stop ourselves from looking both ways before crossing.
Did you know? Argentina has the largest avenue in the world. It runs through the centre of Buenos Aires, it’s six lanes wide in each direction and has another three lane road running each side of it. Madness!
Our long weekend in BA wouldn’t have been the same though without our Warmshowers hosts, Maria and Maeva. They welcomed us into their home and shared their meals with us. They went out of their way to lend us maps, guidebooks, sube (public transport) pre-payment cards (like Oyster cards), bikes and lots of local knowledge about where to go. Plus they spoke better English than we do Spanish – something we need to work on. We are so thankful for all that they have done for us and in making us feel at ease at the start of our adventure.
Now the adventure begins for real… starting with unpacking and building bikes at the airport when we arrive in Ushuaia. Here’s hoping it’s not raining (or snowing) when we arrive at the end of the world.
Hasta luego! (See you soon!)
Ben and Steph