Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Last days in Argentina

I've had a few super days in Buenos Aires. First, the 30km race on Sunday and on Monday and Tuesday A LOT of walking around the city. I'm feeling quite comfortable here now.

The hostel I'm in is a big one. It's the same place I stayed when I first arrived in Buenos FIVE WEEKS ago. I can hardly believe it! Five weeks ago it was much quieter. It is now the main holiday time in Brazil and Argentina (school/university holidays) so the city is really, really busy. Most of my dormmates have been Brazilian guys and they've been super sweet. Although I find the Brazilian-accent-when-speaking-Spanish quite difficult, it has been a pleasure to speak to them in Spanish. Also a good number of people here from Mexico and Columbia. My one room mate of the past two days is from South Korea.

Florida Street - a walking-shopping road. My hostel is on a nice section of this road. Helluva busy now with all the peeps on holiday.
Corrientes Avenue. Every five blocks (each block is around 100m) there are major roads. Corrientes is one of them. At the 'end' of the road in the photo is the Obelisk - big landmark. On Corrientes are many, many theatres, restaurants, cinemas... Entertainment central! Great place to walk and look during the day and at night.
On Monday I went a-walkin' down to Puerto Madero, which is a V&A Waterfront-type set up a few blocks from my hostel (good location!). Very nice and fancy. There I went to see an old ship, the ARA "Uraguay" - built back in 1874. It's big expedition was down in the Antarctic in the early 1900s. Really interesting.

ARA Uraguay in the Puerto Madero harbour. Those are the new hotels and offices and apartments in the background. VERY expensive area to live. These buildings weren't here when I was last in BA 10 years ago.
I spent time walking around other roads and in the evening caught a movie (got lucky that it was in English, with Spanish subtitles - my favourite kind) and then I met up with my friend from Bariloche, Grisel, for dinner. A visiting German colleague had arrived the day before and she came along too. We had a most lovely evening walking around and talking and a delicious dinner down at Puerto Madero.

I don't know that there's a 'typical' Argentine dish, especially here in Buenos Aires, which has such strong Italian influences (coffee, pizza, pasta - big culture here). Sure, there are many 'steak houses' - beef being a big thing, but the rest really is mostly Italian and cafe-style eating.

Buenos Aires is built on the Rio de la Plata. Next to the river is the ecological park and between the park and Puerto Madero is a long (maybe 2.5 - 3km) open area where people run. They don't seem to like running on this gravel track, preferring to run on the grass next to it. Many people out and about during the day running and stretching, including small groups with personal trainers. There are also other sports facilities in this area. And, it was a beautiful day on Monday - temps in the low 20s - so people were out in numbers.
This has to be the funniest thing I've seen - this guy suntanning! There was also an old couple on deckchairs (with skins like tanned leather!) but I couldn't get a pic of them.
On Tuesday morning while having breakfast with one of my Brazilian room mates I met an Australian lass, Claire. And, howz this... She thought I was from a Spanish-speaking country because I was speaking to the guy in Spanish. How absolutely lovely ;) To my ear my Spanish isn't great, but to an ear that knows no Spanish I sound... Spanish. My morning couldn't have been better!

She'd arrived the night before so I invited her to join me to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts. Wow! What an awesome gallery and a superb exhibition - including a bunch of impressionist paintings (my favourite) including Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh and a bunch of Rodin sculptures. Plus a host more. Well presented and displayed and organised. A good amount of content but not overwhelming. I was very impressed - and entry is free.

After this (and more walking around looking at things) I went on my own to a museum I'd found online. Was meant to be the history of clothing in Buenos Aires - and it was - but it was really dismal. I was expecting fabrics and yarns and clothing going back 500 years but it wasn't - there was more from the 30s, 40s and 80s than anything much older than 120 years. And not much overall. Phew! A long walk and not much to see. I easily covered 17-19km yesterday!

And then I scoped out the cinema scene, picking a pretty good movie (in English, with Spanish subtitles) for Claire and I to see later. 'The Words' with Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quiad... very good.

And now I'm an hour away from catching my shuttle to the airport and definitely sad to be leaving but also looking forward to returning home.

1 comment:

Louisette said...

Lovely blog, greeting from Belgium