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Posts tagged ‘Buenos Aires’

Colonia del Sacremento, a farewell to Uruguay

After the storm came in Cabo Polonio, it continued to be rainy and dreary. So we decided to start our journey back. This meant going west back towards Montevideo. A long bus ride on a very crowded bus (where Laurent had to stand for over 2 hours!) deposited us back off in the city. We stayed there overnight, had another fabulous steak dinner and the next afternoon, we left for Colonia del Sacremento.

Discovered in 1680, Colonia sits right on the water and was a crucial smuggling port back in the day. The Portugese and Spanish fought heavily over it. But in the end, the Spanish won.

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Welcome to Montevideo; how I fell in love with Uruguay part one

The taxi came for us around 9 pm to take us to Retiro. Retiro is the main bus terminal in BA, quite the unsavory place to be at night but this time we were smart not to take mass transit and instead the taxi driver dropped us off right in front of the bus terminal. It was pouring. We (gratefully) carried a lighter load and were off to Uruguay. We left many of our heavier and very annoying- to -carry Antarctica clothes with one of the couchsurfers we stayed with. Yes, it is already annoying to carry all these winter clothes!!

Traveling light was a blessing. We boarded an overnight bus that would take us over the border of Uruguay at around 2 am and we would arrive in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, at 8 am. Sleep came pretty easy, surprisingly, even though we had to wake up for the border crossing (a simple process). Bus travel in Argentina is pretty luxurious and cheap. You get a tray of food when you arrive. Just some sandwiches and cookies but it's all pretty tasty. Then there are the seats. We slept through the bus ride on our cama seats. Cama seats mean that the seats recline back pretty far (almost flat) and they are very wide, oversized seats. They feel like they are made out of some thick memory foam, so comfy! With a smooth ride, the gentle rocking lulls you right to sleep. Greyhound needs to take some lessons!!

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A week in Buenos Aires; making new friends and painfully learning Spanish

After our relaxing stint in Tigre and our arrival to Buenos Aires, we had a full week ahead of us trying to learn Spanish. The week was really crazy, waking up every morning at around 7 am, taking classes at a formal school from 9 am til 1 pm and then usually a 2 hour lunch break followed by more Spanish lessons with a private tutor. These would go on for usually 3 hours total (not including travel time). Sometimes we met with the tutor at night instead of the day. We also couchsurfed three different times, which caused us to pack up our bags and move to different neighborhoods. Suffice to say, it was a busy week but I really enjoyed it all. It felt like a real life had already begun for us. We had new friends, classes to attend and places to go all the time. I really felt like this was a new life for me.

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Dulce de leche, empanadas, milanesas and more meat! An introduction to the foods of Argentina

I am so behind in writing my posts! We had some technical difficulties with connections and honestly, we spent a lot of time just relaxing. As I write this, we are still in Uruguay but will be leaving tomorrow to head back to Buenos Aires for two more days. We spent an amazing time here and I really fell in love with this country. But more on that later, for now I want to tell you all about some of the foods I tried in Buenos Aires before too much more time passes!

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Buenos Aires…how to look like a gringo and get yourself into trouble

Whew! What a week! After a tranquil weekend in Tigre, Buenos Aires was a whirwind! Actually it was completely ca-ray-zee! Sometimes in a good way but other times it was just too much.

We took the train from Tigre to Beunos Aires (BA) on Saturday (sigh..almost 2 weeks ago....I am really behind on blog writing-hoping to catch up while I am here relaxing in Uruguay). We had made arrangements for the entire week at various couchsurfer's homes. Except the first night, we decided to just stay in a hostel. We also signed up for Spanish classes (4 hours a day) at a school in downtown BA, Expanish. And if that wasn't enough, we arranged to meet with a tutor for 2 hours every day as well. All of this in a brand new city where we didn't know where anything was and had to learn our way around. I get tired just typing it!

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La Cabrera

When we arrived in Buenos Aires, we were hungry for still more beef. I did a little searching and found La Cabrera. It's a pretty touristic place but it doesn't really matter when the beef is so good.La Cabrera is not a typical, old fashioned parilla. You cannot see the grill in front of you, it's more hidden in the kitchen. The place itself is whimsical and fun with hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling, plates shaped like cows and photos of cows showing their various cuts of meat. We arrived at 8:15, (which is very early to dine in Buenos Aires) and there was already a long queue and to top it off, we were without a reservation. But after about a 30 minute wait, we were seated.

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Back in BA hostel

Finding a reasonably priced hostel in downtown Palermo Soho can be very difficult. Things in Buenos Aires are overall, very expensive. It seems either you stay somewhere really nice for an extreme high price or you get a dump for a reasonable price.

Back in BA hostel was reasonably priced yet not a dump. We paid about $45 per night for a private room. I was initially very concerned because the private room was just outside the main lounge area but there was more noise coming from the street than the hostel. Although this was to be expected on a Saturday night in Buenos Aires!

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Casona la Ruchi

Casona la Ruchi was the very first stop on a two year long trip and we felt like we had never left home. It will be very difficult to find a place better than this. Located in beautiful Tigre on the Parana river, Tigre is the perfect retreat if you grow weary of Buenos Aires dirt and noise. We arrived to Casona la Ruchi without a reservation and early in the morning. We chose this place initially because of it's close proximity to the train station (it's just over the bridge-maybe a 2 minute walk!) But it turned out, it was so much more.

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Beautiful Tigre, the first destination

We arrived to Tigre, Argentina on our first morning. We weren't really supposed to go to Tigre. We were going to go out about 2 hours to the Pampas, to an older city with a long history of gaucho culture (gauchos are the south american version of cowboys). But we were so tired from our travels and the supervolcano that took place before the travels, that we decided to go to a city closer. We had read about Tigre and it's proximity to Buenos Aires and how nice it was. So we decided to go.

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And so the adventure begins!

Wow! That about sums up everything of the last month and especially the last few days! In fact, wow is a gross understatement. It's been quite the whirlwind, beyond any normal volcano/tornado I have had before leaving on any other trip. I guess I could call it a supervolcano! I knew it would be crazy before leaving on this trip, as I am sure many of you could imagine. I just didn't think it would be as crazy as it was. In the end, we didn't get everything done. We still have to make copies of our passports and identifications for example, and a few other odds and ends type stuff. And I left my poor roomate and dear friend with much to clean up in the apartment (sorry Jo). It wasn't all work though. My roomate had a great surprise, farewell party for me at a really cool Russian bar where so many of my friends had gathered. And the day before I left, I got to spend a few more short but fun hours with my beautiful niece and nephew. Saying goodbyes was very difficult and sad but it was so beautiful to see receive all the support and love from friends and family.

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