Day 17 wasn’t very exciting as we passed the day packing and getting to the airport. Day 18 was excrutiating as we continued to be in the air until 5:30 am Toronto time, both of us with no sleep. Fortunately, Michael was available to rescue us at Toronto Pearson and deliver us to a cleaned-up SUV. We did end up, however, driving home in very snowy conditions and, compared to the 30 degrees we had left, this was not at all welcome.
As we review the trip, the highlights were the expected ones – the parade in Gualeguaychu, the wonderful falls at Iguassu, the good meals in BA. Learning the history on day one from our bicycle tour guide Santiago was also a hit. My biggest disappointment was not being able to communicate and meet more people due to the language barrier. Learned a lot about guitar making however and the tango dancers were fun to watch.
Must be a holiday since we didn’t do a lot and enjoyed that immensely. It was finally decided this morning before we headed out that the finances could not be arranged to purchase the classical guitar. If financing had been possible, it might have been a very busy day indeed. As it was, we had breakfast, had lunch, walked the streets of Chinatown and took the subway home. We picked up some gynormous fruit which we will enjoy for breakfast tomorrow – which will be our last in the big city.
Day 14 was a bit of a stretch but I got this desire to play an Argentinian guitar and even own one if all the stars aligned. So, I emailed 3 luthiers and the second one that responded had a classical guitar for sale. Shari and I had some fun traveling to the end of the subway line and then cabbing it yo the luthiers workshop. It’s a long story that I won’t bore you without suffice to say, as of now, I do not own a handmade Argentinian guitar. I’ve learned some, however, about Argentinian finance laws and banking restrictions. Following our guitar purchase failure we walked through a large mall on Florida street and ended the night at Parilla Pena which was jam packed and served incredible steaks. Today, we decided to visit Palmero – Soho, a rather upscale, even eclectic area and then toured a great botanical garden. No purchases today so the kids inheritance is still somewhat intact.
Despite becoming more accustomed to travelling around BA, I find I’m becoming increasingly paranoid about crime. Evidence of poverty is everywhere and I’ve been warned so often about being careful, I sometimes refuse to take a camera or, if I do, find it’s locked in my bag, tied to my chest, and not available to shoot until the shot has been missed.
On Monday, we decided to return to the Boca area and in particular the Caminito lane – full of quaint tourist shops. Not wanting to trust our luck with bus services, we took a cab and enjoyed strolling the colourful avenues. Managed to stroll somewhat away from the safer area but still tracked down a cab to return. In the evening we walked the 4 km to a rather dingy site that hosted LaBomba drum corp and we jumped up and down with about 1000 young kids until we were so hot and dehydrated that we left a little early and walked home. That night was our time for takeout and watching another flick on TV.
On Tuesday, we decided to stroll a long way to find a bakeshop recommended to us for lunch and then we visited the memorial to the Falkland Island war victims. Strangely enough, it’s situated opposite a tall edifice previously donated by the British government. Saw some beautiful parks with immense trees. Our afternoon ended with Volta gelato – recommended by a guide Santiago, we had on day one.
After returning from Montevideo, we wanted to rest for a day. Internet was also giving us fits in the morning so we spent copious amounts of time at a coffee shop. We learned how to use the subway finally and appreciated Ro and Art giving us cards already loaded to use. In the evening, we purchased tickets for the Tango show at Cafe Tortoni. We didn’t understand the spanish singer but the whole experience was great. The next day, Saturday, we walked to the Retiro bus terminal and we’ve never seen such a large terminal – must have been 2 city blocks long. We had a great bus ride to Gualeguaychu. A Taxi driver was very helpful trying out his English on us and delivering us to the Airbnb home. We had the home to ourselves for 24 hours and it worked out pretty well, although we walked the 22 blocks to fetch the reserved tickets, 22 blocks back and then repeated for the evening show that started around 10pm. We were certainly exhausted when we returned at 2 am. Waking up at 8 pm, we dragged ourselves to a coffee shop that was overrun with visitors and couldn’t serve us. My palate was bugging me for a coffee as we searched frantically for a taxi that would take us to the bus terminal. Returning home, we walked to the Sunday San Telmo market for sightseeing and shopping. Great weekend. Time for Neflix movie.
The old adage, if you have nothing planned, then that’s probably what you will experience. Despite having nothing pre-arranged, Shari enjoyed our stroll around both the old city of Montevideo and the busy business and shopping areas. Bought a new belt but we did see lots of shoes that amazed us with their height. The Francisco ferry gave us respite from walking and we returned back to BA by 10 pm and walked home, glad to be back at the apartment. Unfortunately, the on-again, off-again wifi was off so we couldn’t check what was happening in the world until the next morning.
guess I’m not the traveler I used to be. We decided to travel light and walk to the ferry (Buquebus) I was all prepared to check in when Shari asked to confirm I had the Reciprocity papers needed to re-enter Argentina. It was definitely 2 very hectic taxi rides in rush hour traffic but I returned in time. The taxi drivers are maniacs and I’m convinced the rate goes up if they can drive faster. The ferry ride lasted 1 hour and we had a great time wandering the streets of the old quaint village Colonia. We tried the local ice cream shop and walked the old city ramparts. We had arranged a 5:30 departure by bus to Montevideo and we arrived at the Colonia bus terminal in plenty of time to people watch. During the bus ride, the countryside in the waning light was flat and pastoral – really pleasing and the bus stopped frequently to pickup new passengers. We arrived via taxi at our hotel in the old part of Montevideo. Our ferry to return to BA is near our hotel so we plan to safely wander streets in old Montevideo just for the day.
Well, Iguazu was all we had hoped for and more. Of course it took a while to get to Iguazu. the first LAN aircraft took off and then had to turn around for some technical reason. The second one got us to Iguazu 5 hours later than planned. When we reached the hotel, they explained that Iguazu would close soon so we caught the bus as soon as it passed by and made our way to the falls. the manner of actually reaching the falls consists of 2 trains and a lot of walking, done over steel/mesh walkways. A lot of expense to cover the huge acreage. Got wet, got my photos and had to leave on the last train out – about 2 hours after we arrived.
The second day was better still. We sorta hired a taxi for the day and had him drive us to a hummingbird house where I shot pics for an hour and then he picked us up and took us to Iguazu falls where we paid our entrance again but at a discounted rate, and this time we hiked all the lower trails – mean
ing fewer trains and more hiking. It was absolutely gorgeous. then the driver picked us up, with our luggage from the hotel, and dropped us off at the airport. Well, we were 3 hours early for the flight but we managed to kill the time. Once we boarded the plane, however, the captain decided that the air conditioning was not up to par and we were another hour before taking off. Grabbed a cab to take us home and he drove like a maniac but got us home safely.
Today was a different story. I did my research – didn’t want to tax us too much. I ensured the museum we wanted to see (Malba) was open. We walked to the wrong museum, then found out where the right one was and walked to that too. Then we found out it was closed. that took about 5 hours of walking. Then we found out the museum restaurant was open so we enjoyed a beautiful lunch. We decided we had stamina for
one more thing if it was close so we went to the Japanese gardens. When we left the Japanese gardens we decided we would try to walk home. We were, unfortunately, robbed on the way. It was a very expert pick pocket but we know who did it. He made off with a lot of cash but left me with my credit cards. Hopefully, this lesson will stay with me but these guys are good – trust me.
Tomorrow is another big day – actually 2 – off to Colonia Uruguay and then a bus ride to Montevideo to stay overnight. So, I’ll hopefully be writing to you from a different country
well certainly a memorable trip. We ended up taking 2 flights, 2 taxis, 3 train rides and 2 bus rides to enable us to reach the edge of Iguasu Falls. But loved the falls and will post pics tomorrow whe we return and I have my computer again. The iPad just doesnt do it for blog writing