Buenos Aires. I’d made it. Finally. To the land of awesome nightclub life, the best steaks in the world and spectacular wine. To the home of Argentina. Two hours away from arguably the worlds best football players home town. Home to beautiful women. I finally made it here via flight from La Paz, Bolivia and boy I was happy for it.
I had pushed myself one final time in South America. Bolivia was full of day after day activities. 4 Days in the Amazon, an all day mountain bike trip down the world’s most dangerous road, heading out to the Salt Flats, all including transfers and overnight travel. Bolivia was unique and good for what it offered, yet the high altitude and average food had me pining for a more modern city. I was more than 6 months in remember, I have to admit, I was feeling it.
I arrive at Buenos Aires airport, and the weather is gorgeous. A perfect summers day. Sky clear, sun warm and hence the name, the air, was fresh.
A friend of mine, Naty who is a scuba dive instructor, is Argentinean. She was visiting family back home so she welcomed me into her vacation time. I was happy. Hostels can get a bit old after a while, and I love them. The life of them I love. But I really wanted a break and to see somewhere through the eyes of someone who wasn’t a tourist. And Buenos Aires, like I imagined, well I fell in love with it straight away.
Walking through the streets of Santa Fe, a little out of the city was refreshing. This was a real summer. Not humid, no wind, just sun and blue sky ceilings. There are heaps of colourful shops, Italian based cultural monuments, and good looking people forming life all over. We walked past a pizza slice store. I was peckish so I decided to buy a slice. A basic cheese and tomato. I normally leave the raw tomatoes but this looked good, so i thought what the hell. This picante (hot herbs sauce) garlic orange sauce to dribble on certainly added to the taste. Instantly became a favourite and some of the best pizza I have had.
As I’m writing this, I’m sat on a plane back to England. I’m 6 hours in and I’ve just remembered I went to the trouble of asking and receiving some of this sauce I loved so much. I even bought a new bottle to keep it in. Well, as my stomach rumbles, I left it in Naty’s fridge. Doh!
Heading into the centro of Buenos Aires and seeing the Casa Rosada, like the Buenos Aires version of the white house, took my breath away. Very Italian in its structure, beautifully perched at the back of the centre city, with a plaza infront and tall streets streaming outwards in all directions. The streets and roads were tall and majestic. Renaissance period like.
The markets locally in Serano, a one long outreached lane of markets from everything to clothes to music to food to ornaments. The markets extend under a railway bridge, similar to in Soho, London. The local and tourist people watching, pondering and haggling, in the warm but shaded temperatures, full of life and conversations. Tapas restaurants and bars peeking out on corners to entice one for a beer, coffee or some comidas, created a even more social atmosphere.
Jazz players and dancers readying the onlookers and small crowds to join in on the fun. Selling their CD’s for a few dollars and creating a festival feelings bouncing between the street walls.
Palermo, which I stayed mostly at was more underground. Graffiti painted walls but more cool than tainted. This suburb is old fashioned but new again, for hipsters and alternative people. The steak we ate was incredible. The service amazing. 25 US Dollars for picking starters, a 400g steak and drinks. And not just any steaks, the best in the world.
La Boca was a beautifully perched, magically coloured town which reminded me of some aspects of a British Seaside town. Colourful with yellows, oranges, greens and blues. Many stands and tourists floating through. Restaurants and bars from Steak to Seafood. Local Tango dancers entertaining the customers. Kids playing soccer in the street more enthusiastic than ever. This place perfect for the tourist couple. I purchased a Boca Juniors Soccer shirt here for 15 dollars.
Belgrano was where Naty lived. Her house at the top end of a wonderful street with very wealthy mansion like casa’s, covered by tall proud autumn oak trees, echoing as far as you can see like a grand pathway in a national park.
Spending Christmas this year was a delight. I stayed with Naty’s family and had a traditional BBQ and Argentinian Christmas. I even dressed as Santa Clause!! Also to share that with backpackers in an apartment was also fun. It was a time of togetherness when really we were all solo backpackers alone. That kind of defines travelling, alone and away from the realities and traditions of home. It wasn’t the best Christmas Day in memory, but a new experience and a new destination for it. There are lots of backpackers here, everyone visits Buenos Aires.
And for these reasons, Buenos Aires is my favourite and last city in South America I’ll be visiting on this 7 month trip. Well, until I’m due to fly back again in 18 days, but that will be part 2 South America, 2015.