After several months travelling around the southern portion of South America I returned to my starting point of Buenos Aires. On my initial visit, I’d only spent 3 days there and hadn’t seen a lot of the city. On my return visit, I stayed 10 days to hang out with a group of locals I’d arranged to meet and to see some of the sights of the city, like the main courthouse.
On my second visit I staying in the central suburb of Palermo at a hostel chain called Hostel Suites Palermo, which had an above average but nothing to rave about. Palermo is described as an up and coming suburb, but with homeless people living at the end of the block perhaps ‘slowly up and eventually coming’ is closer to the mark.
Buenos Aires has 3 million people and is quite spread out. Because of its size and with the lack of national parks in the province, walking around the city was where most of my exercise came from. One afternoon, I made plans to catch up with a new friend and walked an hour along one of the main streets lined with shops. When I finally got to the meeting point, the shops continued off into the distance.
The next day, I walked in the opposite direction along the same street. An hour later I arrived in the city centre and again shops had covered the entire distance and stretched on into the distance. On my walk I stopped in at El Ateneo Grand Splendid, the bookstore to end all bookstores, an old theatre that had been converted into a book store. It’s the most famous bookstore in Argentina but has very few books in english.
Near the centre of town is a large group of parks and on the next sunny day I wandered around a pond full of geese and sat reading on a bench as skaters and cyclists went by.
On the next day it was forecast to rain, so together with a girl I’d met at the hostel, we checked out some of the more cultural features of the city centre, several monuments which we called ‘boob monuments’, as they all contained carvings of topless women. Then when it began to rain, we looked around several museums and galleries in the area.
With Uruguay on the far side of aptly named Rio Uruguay, I caught a ferry across to Colonia on the next sunny day to tick that country off my travel list.
Overall, Buenos Aires felt different to my previous visit. But during that earlier I’d been suffering culture shock. The ever-present doggie doo was still a major problem in Buenos Aires. I did see a handful of people pick up after their mutt only to find the bags of doggie doo left in the middle of the footpath. Progress is slow…
Next I headed to my final Argentinian destination, Puerto Iguazú and the country’s other major attraction, Iguazú Falls.
The Lone Trail Wanderer