Five Dutch people (Jesse, Tom, Larissa, Sanne, and I) who flew for four days from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Another stamp in our passports and another country/city which we could tick from our wishlist. We were so ready for the tango, sun, lots of wine, and they for the meat, too, obviously.
Welcome to Buenos Aires
For the ones who need some help with their geography, Buenos Aires is a city with over three million inhabitants, located at the South-East of Argentina and close to the sea. From the moment we arrived (Saturday around 11:30 in the morning), it was already different compared to Santiago: the sun was shining and the temprature was higher than we were used to. It was even that, the weather forecast had told us that the whole weekend was going to be sunny. You should think of 24-26 degrees. Eventually, without maybe wanting it, we kept comparing the both cities, Santiago and Buenos Aires, continiously.
The architecture in most of the neighbourhoods felt more as if we were in France or Italy than in Argentina. Maybe that is also the reason why I/we like this city much more than Santiago, because it reminded us more of home, of Europe? But yeah, further do I find it is difficult to explain how the whole atmosphere felt while we were there. The people were also different in a positive way, happier and I think I can speak from all of us, prettier, too ha-ha. No offence to Chile, because from what I have seen now and know from what I am going to see, it is a beautiful country, but I have thought about what a pity it maybe is that I am living in Santiago. I feel that the more I am going to other places, the more I am starting the dislike the city. So yeah, when I would go back to the South of Latin-America, I would choose Buenos Aires over Santiago.
Another thing that really catched my eye is that there were so many parks. All beautiful, clean, and open with lots of grass and benches. On Monday the Argentines were free, just like the Chileans, so with forgetting that, we went to a park called: Rosario, and really I have never seen such a busy park. It felt as if I was in Disneyland.
The value of the currency
Buenos Aires is a modern, open, airy, and lively city. Although the city is almost on the ground due to their economic crisis, nothing is shown and all restaurants and bars, were most of the time full. In general, everything was really affordable for us, except that shopping was not. It was even that when I was looking for red Allstars and saw a blouse in Zara, the others told me that they were probably going to be cheaper in Chile. Even though, Chile is much more expensive in general. Can you understand it? Nope, I don’t.
The prices in the restaurants were so affordable for us, that I would not say that we ate scantily. Most of the evenings we ate for ten/fiftheen euro per person with wine and various dishes included. A bottle of wine, for example, is around four euro. The exchange rates are: 1 euro = 41,95 Argentian Pesos. So, when we were still at the Airport in Santiago and changed our Pesos, we all got packages of money. This, mostly, because 100 and 500’s are given from the banks. We didn’t know what to do with all the money, because for the most of us, it didn’t even fit in our purse or wallet. It is funny for me, how rich you can feel with so much cash, even though, it is worth nothing. To give you a better idea; the amount of money that I am holding in my hand on the picture is fifty euros. Yeah, funny right?
What to do in Buenos Aires?
So, after all my talk talk talk, it is time for some more inside information about what we have done those four days. We slept in a great Airbnb and therefore, sometimes had breakfast at home, before we were going to get ourselves ready for a new, adventurous day. By the way, Larissa had already been to Buenos Aires which was very helpful, because she knew very well what was nice and what we should really see and do.
Neighourhoods Palermo, Recoleta, and La Boca.
Our Airbnb was in the neigbourhood Palermo, which is according to the internet and the opinions from lots of people, the best neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires. Yes, you have my vote, too. It was lively and young with many bars, restaurants at the corners of the streets, although most of the neighbourhood is made for living. Whereas, Recoleta, isn’t very different from that, but do have bigger buildings and where the part of living is less than in Palermo. La Boca on the other hand is something totally different than the other two and therefore, I will talked about that a bit more.
So, the second day we took the amazing touristic Hop on-Hop off bus through the city and also La Boca. Due to the fact, that La Boca is a neighbourhood where lots of people advise you not to go to during the evening, we didn’t know what to expect from it during the day. Therefore, we decided to have a look at it from the bus.
In the end, it was all fine and we decided to go another day for the free walking tour at eleven in the morning, which we in the end did not do, because we arrived at twelve. Yeah, we are getting that Latin-American mindset. Still, no worries, because walking around by ourselves really wasn’t dangerous or anything. I didn’t feel unsafe for a second. It was even more that I loved the neighbourhood so much; the colors, the vibe, and happy faces. Something which I didn’t expect before we arrived.
Tour to Tigre
The same day we had a tour to Tigre. Larissa had already been there also and told us that it was going to be so something different from the city. We went with a little tourbus of totally around ten persons and took us around 45 minutes, I think, to get there. We were like the five least interseting listeners, because after all, we were all sleeping.
Tigre is a village, but not just a normal village. It is like Venice but than 2.0 ha-ha or should I maybe say: ‘It is like Venice but than in the Argentinian way.’ The point is that it so didn’t feel like Argentina or Latin-America at all. It was more the idea I have of Indonesia, actually. In Tigre, the inhabitants, can only use boats to transport themselves from their house to another place. There are all islands with little piers.
Besides that the weather was again amazing, it was so lovely to see the people enjoying their calmness and the kids jumping and playing in the water. In the Netherlands or Europe in general I think, we would doubt to allow our kids to swim in the river together with many boats, but here, all good – all normal. Although Larissa, also told us, that the people who live there, don’t really like us, because yeah, we were definitely not the only boat on that river.
We thought and talked about how it would be to live there and if we would like to. Another joke we made was, when you would forget something from the supermarket and your neighbour doesn’t have it either, it is not easy and fast to get it. But that is what we thought until we saw the boat on the picture beneath. Yes, you see it well. It is a supermarket on a boat. Super handy.
Cemeterio de la Recoleta
This is like my ultimate Latin-American picture: A cemetery of houses. Why? Probably because of the Fast and the Furious that were played here and I have watched several times.
The idea is, the more money you have, so the richer you are, the bigger your grave/house is or can be. There are probably also people who maybe don’t care about it, but still. Besides that, is it most of the time not only for one person, but the whole family will be together in their house.
Sometimes we were able to look inside, but actually you don’t see a lot apart from flowers and photoframes with pictures in it. Most of the time, the graves where under the ground, which is still sort of obviously, but I think that here it is also a matter of space. It felt as if we were walking through a village. There were so many little streets and so many little houses. If someone would ask me how much, I really would have no idea… It was very impressive and I was happy to finally have a real picture of how it looks like instead of only seeing it in the films!
Tango, wine, and meat
If you ask foreign people about the culture of Argentina, they will probably say something like: ‘They have good red wines and meat, and they dance the tango’. And yeah, all those people aren’t wrong about that. Although, I must say that we haven’t seen much of the tango in Buenos Aires. Not that we really searched for it, but still. Only in La Boca it was possible to make a picture together with someone else in the dance pose of the tango.
The meat, yes, we are at that part now. So, meat lovers, welcome! I cannot really tell you how it was though, as you probably may know, but according to friends, it was all delicious. All paying attention to “with fat” or “without fat” would be clever, if you don’t like fat. Eventhough, I don’t eat meat, I also still eat delicious. Most of the restaurants where we ate were Steak Restaurants, but also had pasta, salads or rice, for example.
So, now for the wine, especially red wine lovers. I know you can also just buy it at Gall&Gall, but go to Buenos Aires, go to Argentina, and taste it. Although, the lable may say it is the same, it will taste different. Really delicious and sort of addictive.
I usually don’t drink a lot. I don’t like a lot of alchohol, I don’t really need it and most of the time prefer to have a clear mind when going out. I love red wine and drinking some glasses during the dinners, made me tipsy like every evening, because yeah, that happens when you never drink. We decided not to go out in Buenos Aires, although Stef (a Dutch guy who does his internship in Buenos Aires and Larissa knows him from school) told us that Buenos Aires is one of the best cities in Latin-America to party, because it would ruin a day if we would.
Interesting things about Buenos Aires and Argentina
My favourite part of the blog. The same when I was preparing and writing the blog about Colombia, I wrote all the interesting things down in my notes during the trip, in order not to forget it. Only because I was with Dani and his family and Dani told me a lot of the things I have written down in that blog, I have much less interesting things for this part of Buenos Aires/Argentina. By this, I don’t want to say that Buenos/Argentina are less interesting.
First of all, I again want to say something about the parks. Because my gosh, it was really a lot. I mean the city is so green and I think that therefore, Argentinian people are also more sporty. It didn’t matter how early or late it was, there were always people cycling, walking or running through the parks. Besides that, a thing I didn’t expect. Buenos Aires has more cycling paths than Santiago.
Secondly, selling food from the bike on the streets, is something which also catched my eye. Alhough, I was sometimes doubting of the hygiene policies. They probably don’t have them and no, we didn’t try anything.
Now comes my favourite one. One evening we went out for dinner together with Stef. After a while, when everyone had their food and some wanted peper and salt, it wasn’t on one the tables. Stef told us that due to the fact that Argentinian people eat too much salt, they have a law that it is not allowed anymore to put salt on the table in restaurants. This is until the client asks for it, because from then on it is okay to leave it on the table. That “eating too much salt” also counts for Chile by the way. Here, they put salt in everything. Believe me or not, when I once bought water in the supermarket and looked at the lable on the bottle, the amount of salt in it wasn’t zero but twelve. Yeah right, salt in water. Weirdest thing is that the water comes from the mountains, like I told you in my last blog, therefore, in my idea, it is not even possible to have natural salt in it.
From now on, I actually have so many things planned, that I continiously have to look in my agenda when everything is. Amazing of course, but sometimes also difficult, because I keep living from weekend to weekend. No complains further though.
So, the upcoming Thursday is the first, next trip planned. The first part of my trip, five days totally, will be with eight others, all Dutch, to San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro is in de North of Chile and we are all very looking forward. Two friends from Jesse, Tom, and Larissa are flying over and will come with us. But first some extra sleep, just like Jesse and Tom when we were flying back home after four amazing and sunny days in Buenos Aires.