We booked our tickets with a bus company called Rio Uruguay for the 18hour journey to Buenos Aires from Iguazu and I wasn’t one bit concerned about the length of the journey after our previous experience in getting to Iguazu. I really didn’t think anything could improve after the last comfortable journey which surprised me with wine BUT on top of wine with dinner, Rio Uruguay served us petit fours and champagne after dinner- just to clarify we were still on a bus, travelling!! The following morning we received sachets of cappuccino and hot pastries for breakfast-they had official won the prize for best bus in South America!!
In Buenos Aires we had booked a studio apartment in the Recoleta area which I couldn’t contain my excitement for. On arrival I genuinely was pinching myself and assuming I had miscalculated somewhere along the way-but it really was true. Our host was amazing and the place was impeccable. We were a five minute walk from the famous Recoleta cemetery and our neighbourhood consisted of cafes, dog walkers and stunning apartment blocks-I was in awe. I wanted to live here!
Even though I would have happily sat in the apartment for our five day visit, I was equally excited to explore Buenos Aires. It was love at first sight for me. Everything just felt perfect and I honestly hadn’t ever fallen for a place the way I fell in Buenos Aires. I never wanted to leave. To me, the streets were the perfect mix of architecture that could be in Paris, with a New York City feel.
Our first stop was to Recoleta cemetery which covers 14 acres and is the burial place of many important figures in Argentine history. It contains the graves of notable people, including presidents of Argentina, Nobel Prize winners, the founder of the Argentine Navy, and a granddaughter of Napoleon. However, the most notable grave, and the one I wished to visit was that of Eva Peron, Evita, who is buried under her maiden name Eva Duarte.
The first impression on entering the cemetery is the beauty and size of the tombs, it was hard to remember it was actually a burial place and not an outdoor museum. Another notable grave we came across was “Father Fahy”, with the sculptures noted as being in Dublin. I later looked this up to find out he was an priest, who was the head of the Irish community in Argentina in the 1800s.
We spent the afternoon walking the parks between Recoleta and Palmero neighbourhoods which were so plentiful and each one different but so scenic- my favourite was the rose garden at Park Holland.
That night we enjoyed cooking in our studio without having to share space with anyone else! The supermarket was an experience as we converted the costs to euro and our eyes popped while our hearts broke! Some examples include €5 for a bag of spinach, €3.50 for eggs, €6 for cheese, €9 for a pack of four yogurts. It was crazy but not all gloomy, there is at least one thing super cheap in the stores-wine!!
The next day we took park in a walking tour in the city. This was centered around the national congress and covered the historic and economic past of Buenos Aires. This location was the opposite direction to where we had explored on day one and I was wrong in thinking I couldn’t love the city anymore than I did the previous day! The architecture and insanely impressive buildings literally blew us away. There was so many buildings with huge history and they were simply stunning. The European influence on the city was very apparent to us that afternoon and it reaffirmed my initial reaction of a Paris/New York mix of a city! The tour lasted around three hours and took us passed the national congress, pink presidential palace, numerous churches and explanations of many of the buildings was provided along the way while the many cafes, dog walkers and tree lined streets joined the dots between our stops.
We also visited El Ateno which is the coolest bookstore I’ve ever seen, established in an old theatre, with the stage still intact and also serving as a cafe. The viewing boxes serve as reading areas-very cool!
We found a carrefour that evening which gave us slightly more hope than our grocery stop the night before but some things were still crazy. I actually enjoying finding recognizable brands from home and doing the comparisons-a small box of lindor chocolates €30, a small jar of Nutella €10, and a tub of Pringles €4.50- crazy place!! Anyways steak and wine are basically like a staple diet here so we joined in and it wasn’t too expensive to purchase thankfully!
Day three in Buenos Aires was Saturday, April 7th and we decided it was the day we would splash out for our official Argenitne steak feast. We had heard about a fancy steakhouse that offers happy hour making it affordable for budget backpackers, La Cabrera. Happy hour runs from 6.30pm-8pm but Argentinians don’t eat until 9/10pm so it’s definitely aimed at tourists! Anyways we were not complaining with 40% off our total bill, and gigantic yummy steaks with a spread came to €60 instead of €100! We ordered fries to share with ours, not knowing that they would bring us enough ‘complementary’ sides to feet an army…ranging from olives, bread, sweet garlic, apple sauce, pâté, mushrooms, corn with cheese, mashed potatoes! Our table looked ridiculous and our steaks were huge but worth all of the hype and lack of food all day in anticipation!!
The restaurant is located in a neighbourhood called Palermo Soho, after its New York associate. It’s definitely an upper class area filled with artisanal cafes, bars, icecream bars and boutique clothes shops. We spent the afternoon walking to Palermo and then strolling around the soho area working up an appetite for our evening feast. It obviously just furthered deepened my love for the city.
This appears to be turning into an unwelcomed feature that is following us but we got stranded in the restaurant due to the rain! The streets were all flooded and it was impossible to try step off the footpath onto the road with the water! We waited for it to lighten as much as we could before making a dive for a taxi, and when we did get back to the studio we were out of electricity! It was mad weather. Day four was Sunday and we had planned to visit another neighborhood in Buenos Aires called San Telmo, famous for its Sunday market and street tango in Park Derrego. We made two attempts to leave the studio that day, both attempts stopped only a few blocks away when we would start to get washed out! We settled for a movie day instead and the novelty of having a microwave was heightened when we managed to find reasonably priced microwave popcorn! I was definitely disappointed to miss our planned tango visit in Buenos Aires but teh weather gods were just having none of our plans and we still ended our time in Buenos Aires with fond memories of a really cool new city!
That evening we caught a flight to Córdoba. We had nothing planned to do there, and didn’t know anything about it-but the flight was cheaper than a bus and on the map it looked like a logical stop between our following stop Mendoza. The flight was just an hour, and even though it was delayed by an hour too-it was still 10 hours faster than a bus! We were also stunned to receive snacks on such a short trip, Ryanair has set our standards very low!