24.04.2008 - 01.05.2008 22 °C
Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summers here and the time is right, for dancing in the streets.
Dancing In The Streets by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas
Well we have made it to Buenos Aires after a fairly hectic week of travelling down from Bolivia, stopping off at various places on the way to break up the long journey. As we have spent quite a lot of time on buses this may not be the most exciting of blog entries, but here goes.
We left you on Wednesday 23rd April and that afternoon United drew 0-0 with Barcelona in the Nou Camp.
Thursday 24th April
The alarm went off at 5.50am and after a shower and checkout we jumped a cab to the bus station for our 7am bus. It was goodbye to Salta, a lovely city with a beautiful square and lots of nice shops and restuarants. The bus journey was only 3 hours and we arrived in Cafayate bang on 10am. There was agirl with a flyer for El Balcon Hostel at the station and it looked nice so we went there.
After checking in we wandered around town and grabbed a bite to eat at the square before having a nap in the afternoon. We then walked to a winery called Bodega Nanni, which specialises in organic wine. We tasted their four wines and bought two bottles - Torrontes, a lovely white wine, and Malbec, a nice fruity red. We then went to the supermarket and bought some crackers and cheese and retired to the rooftop terrace of the hostel with the bottle of white.
Later on we had some lovely ice cream at a place called Helanderia Miramda and a light dinner at the square.
Friday 25th April
After breakfast we bought some food to make sandwiches and rented two mountain bikes with the intention of biking 6km out of town to a campsite and then going on a two hour hike to some waterfalls.
We started out, cycling out of town passed vineyards and wineries along a very bumpy and dusty road that was slightly uphill all the way. We made it to the campsite just after an hour and met some other people who had the intention of hiking to the waterfalls. We soon found out that it was easier said than done.
There is no recognised path and we met an Argentinian who recommended only doing it with a local guide and with hiking boots as it was quite a scramble to get there. As we only had our sports sandals on we decided to leave it and freewheeled back down the road into town.
After another ice cream we had a shower and a snooze (we are getting into the South merican lifestyle!). Later on we went for dinner at a restaurant called La Criolla and had steak with a nice bottle of Torrentes (Domingo Hermanos).
Saturday 26th April
We didnt sleep well as a club down the road played deafening techno music until the small hours. I still managed to make it up for breakfast at 8.30am, leaving Lynn in bed so I could watch the Chelsea v Manchester United game on cable in the TV room. United lost 2-1 thanks to a rather dubious penalty award 5 minutes from time to Chelsea.
After Lynn awoke we headed on a 2km walk out of town to a cheese factory, joined in the end of a tour and bought some nice cheese to take back to the hostel. We then went to an internet cafe and enquired and researched about renting apartments in Buenos Aires with a company called BYT Argentina that had been recommended to us.
We watched sunset from the roof with a bottle of red and some cheese and chatted to an English guy and a German guy about the Worlds Most Dangerous Road bike ride. Sadly some turists were killed the previous week, just after we had been down it!
Sunday 27th April
Another night of broken sleep due to the techno club blasting music until 5am, just when we had to get up for our 6am bus to Tucuman! It is a real shame as El Balcon is a nice hostel but I wouldnt recommend it due to the club down the street. Cafayate is a lovely town though, very relaxed with nice wineries, hiking, biking and a cheese farm, well worth a 2 or 3 night stay.
After 2 nights of no sleep we slept soundly for the first 3 hours of the journey and after that we dozed until arrival in Tucuman at 12.30pm. We did contemplate jumping straight on a bus to Cordoba, but that would have been another 8 hours, so we decided to spend the night in Tucuman and checked into the Garden Hotel after we found that the hostel we had selected from Lonely Planet had closed.
We had a wander around town and found a nice bar next to the square where Argentine indpendence was declared and had a meal with a few beers while watching the Boca Juniors game on TV. After that it was a quiet night in making the most of a quiet hotel with no techno club nearby.
Monday 28th April
It was a quick stop over in Tucuman and the alarm went off at 6am and we made our way to the station for our 7am bus. We watched a couple of films on our deluxe bus, one with Michelle Pfiffer that we didnt catch the name of and The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. Both pretty predictable and nothing to write about but they passed the time.
We arrived in Cordoba at 3.30pm and checked into the Morada Hostel, run by a very friendly guy called Diego. We wandered through town to Plaza San Martin and ended up getting a McDonalds. We then had a quiet night and booked a bus to Buenos Aires for the following evening.
Tuesday 29th April
We made the most of our one full day in Cordoba by walking around all over. At 11am we arrived at the UNESCO World Heritage site that is a University/Mueseum/former Jesuit church and went on a 1 hour tour around the site. It was very interesting and we learned a lot about Cordoba and Argentina from our excellent guide. Cordoba is a University town and produced most of Argentina´s doctors.
We went back to the hostel at 3pm, in plenty of time for the 2nd leg of the United v Barca ECL semi. We ended up watching it with a nice Englisg guy from Bristol called Matt. It was a cracking game, very exciting and nerve wracking with both teams playing well. United took the lead through a cracking goal from Paul Scholes and defended excllently for the rest of the game, while still producing several more chances of their own.
Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand, Park and Tevez were particularly outstanding and I was quite emotional when the final whistle went. I am very pleased for Fergie that he has taken United to another European Cup Final and also for Paul Scholes who missed the 1999 triumph through suspension. I am also pleased for my friends from the Glasgow Supporters Club and know that a few of them will make it to Moscow for the final.
Later we went to the bus station and almost missed our 10.15pm bus by looking for the wrong one.
Wednesday 30th April
I found it hard to sleep on the bus, despite it being the most luxurious yet. Lynn slept well though and we arrived in Buenos Aires at 8.45am. We jumped a cab to a hostel in the Palermo Soho area called SOHostel. It was fully booked so we checked into one nearby for two nights before we move into our apartment a few blocks away.
After a shower we jumped on the underground to the 9 de Julio stop by the huge independence monument and had lunch in a cafe bar nearby. We then wandered around the shops in Central BA (very nice they are too) and down to Plaza San Martin and sat in a park for 20 minutes, basking in the sunshine. It is nice to be in a country where the sunshine isnt so fierce that you cant enjoy it. The weather in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia was nice but it was pretty much factor 50 all the way and it due to altitude you couldnt really sit in the sun for long.
We then found a bar to watch the Chelsea v Liverpool game. I really didnt know who I wanted to win but found myself applauding Liverpool´s equaliser. The scousers lost though due to Gerrard not playing well and Benitez strangely taking off Torres. Liverpool simply dont have enough quality in depth. Chelsea didnt play much better it has to be said and they have two of the football players I hate most on the planet - Ashley Cole and Didier ´diving b***ard´ Drogba. They both represent a lot of what is wrong with football these days, mercenaries and Drogba is such a diver and moaner.
COME ON UNITED IN THE FINAL
Thursday 1st May
We slept late until 10am and then wandered through Palermo to have a look at the building that will be our home for 1 month until 2nd June. We move in tomorrow and you can check it out at - Serrano and Cabrera III: www.bytargentina.com/re/propview.php?view
We got the underground into Central and then walked to the San Telmo neighbourhood for lunch at the leafy Plaza Dorrego. We enjoyed watching Tango Dancers dancing in the street before our very eyes and also an excellent funk soul band jamming in the square.
It is a national holiday today, so with a lot of places closed we may go to the cinema tonight and then we move into our apartment tomorrow at 2pm.
I will write again soon.
Murray and Lynn