Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is the one I could write a whole chapter on, instead I think I'll keep it fairly short. For a long time I had wanted to go to Buenos Aires (BA), don't know exactly why but I just felt like I should go there. I also wanted to stay there for a little longer because I had been moving from a city to another every 2-3 days. I was there little over two weeks in total and did lots, according to a friend who is from BA I went places he's never been in his life. Some of them of course are mostly tourist attractions, though now I can say that I have walked the same hallways as Evita did in Casa Rosada:)

I have to say that my very first impression of BA wasn't that great since someone tried to rob me in the first 15 minutes upon my arrival. No worries though, nothing got stolen since an officer rushed over to chase the thief away. Afterwards I was still determined to continue on walking through the sketchy area over to the subway instead of jumping into a taxi. I didn't let this incident bother me and was still open to enjoying what BA had to offer. And it offered lots...

Besides beautiful architecture (see picture below), which I admired for hours every day while walking around the city, there's a few places I want to mention shortly and I think are worth of seeing, the Recoleta cemetery and La Boca.
Even though the Recoleta cemetery is famous because Evita's family is buried there, that's not the reason why I would recommend going. The whole place is amazing and I can guarantee that you have never seen a cemetery like that before. I like to call it "the little town of the dead" because literally, it feels like a town. The coffins are placed in these small structures that almost seem like mini houses, with a tombstone look. I know this all probably sounds somewhat weird but I don't know how else to describe them (see picture below).
La Boca with it's colorful Caminito is a totally different ballgame, so to speak. La Boca has cheerfully colored buildings that of course are a huge tourist attraction. Everyone goes there to take pictures, shop souvenirs and watch tango while having lunch/dinner. To me just looking at the colorful buildings brightens up my day (picture below).

One more thing I have to mention is of course Tango. Cony who owned one of the hostels that I stayed at, recommended an awesome Tango teacher who I ended up taking a class with. She was also a producer of an amazing Tango show. I invited a few travelers I had met, to go see the show with me and they all loved it! It was totally different than the shows that are mainly made for tourists. I would like to try to describe the venue but wouldn't be able to give enough credit for it as it deserves!

There would be tons more to write about BA but as I said in the beginning, I would keep this one fairly short...so it's time to say "ciao" for now!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cordoba, Argentina

I had three days in Cordoba before moving on to Buenos Aires. For Cordoba I think it was enough, two days would have been plenty if I hadn't gone to the outskirts. First day I walked around the city on my own popping into some museums and churches. In the evening, back at the hostel I met Sandra. With her I planned a day trip to Alta Gracia for the next day. It is a smaller town, about a 40 minute bus ride from Cordoba. This is where the revolutionary Che, Ernesto de Guevara, used to live in his childhood.

That next day went by quickly walking around Alta Gracia, having lunch and going to the house of Che. In the evening when we got back to our hostel we prepared some dinner and got ready for a night out at a salsa congress! I found out about this when I was asking the hostel staff where to go out for salsa. The event was not in the downtown core and definitely doesn't compare to the other salsa congresses I have been to. This one was in a local restaurant and didn't seem to be that well organized overall. We had a good time though and I got my few salsas.

The third day we went to check out a few museums and art galleries with a small group of people from the hostel. Lots of walking in the heat required a stop for some ice cream of course. In the evening I went for my first Argentine tango class. It was like stepping back in the days...we approached this old building where we could hear tango playing, stepped inside a dim restaurant where people were already taking steps to the music. The place was decorated in old fashion style or, it had been around for so long that they hadn't bothered changing the decoration from what once was up to date. I think the atmosphere was charming and I had a blast taking my first steps in Argentine tango.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Uu-la-la, now we're talking! I sat in the wide, soft, leather seat that was more comfy than my couch is! I knew right away I would be totally alright traveling 18 hours in the bus from Salta to Mendoza...have to say that the dinner (with wine) and snacks weren't that bad either, they showed a few movies and we even played bingo!

Mendoza is full of activities. You can go bungee jumping, skydiving, horseback riding, paragliding, to name a few! The most important thing though in Mendoza is of course the wine tour.

Before I even started my trip I knew I would want to go horseback riding in Argentina. So I booked a "sunset riding in the Andes" trip. There was was a group of 9 of us plus our guide and driver. They drove us up close to the Andes to an estancia with horses, cats and dogs (lots of puppies:)) chickens and roosters. They were already waiting there for us so in no time we were on our horses and on our way! It was about an 1 1/2 hour ride which went really fast, too fast if you ask me, I would have been happy to continue on for another hour or two. By the time we got back to the estancia it was time for a BBQ. This was a modest BBQ but the meat was delicious, no arguing there. This was actually the first time that I ate steak in Argentina, not sure why it took me so long, everyone knows that the meat here is like nowhere else...yummy! I also had my first Mate here which is a very popular tea. You drink it from a cup that has a "straw" (it filters the tea so you won't get the tea leaves in your mouth, clever!) and then you share the cup with your friends, filling it after each person. Everyone drinks Mate in Argentina and it's always meant to be shared by using only one cup. I would say "yummy" for this one too! Conclusion is that overall it was an awesome day filled with some new experiences, which of course is my cup of tea;)

I had also been told about the mouth watering ice-cream that they have in Argentina. I had tried some already in Salta and it was good BUT the one I had at Ferruccio Soppelsa, chocolate amargo and mascarpone con frutos del bosque was over the top! Can I say yum-my again!!!

My last day in Mendoza I did the wine tour with a bunch of people from our hostel. We went to Mr. Hugos (which everyone had recommended) to rent out some bicycles. They of course welcomed us with some wine and then gave us maps and a run-through of the wineries to visit. Off we went to the well known wineries of Mendoza! Unfortunately we had a late start so we didn't have time to visit all the ones we would have wanted to. Still we had a great time and some great wine:) Arriving back to Mr. Hugos they welcomed us again with wine so we sat there for almost two hours exchanging our wine tour experience with others. Then it was time to hop on the bus and make my way to the hostel because I was yet taking another night bus, this time to Cordoba.