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Sweeeeeet sweetness

Winenuts go nuts in Argentina


View MAP OF THE JOURNEY on AnnaMickus's travel map.

I don't know if it was the fact that our bus had started in Paraguay or what it was, but once we were on the Argentinean side the bus was stopped quite often by some road patrols. The bus was searched and everybody had to show their id. It was quite exhausting. The good thing about the journey was that we had some really great seats. It was a double decked bus and we were sitting on the front seats on the second level. So we had some really great views from there. But that also meant we saw the traffic, which wasn’t always so encouraging. We nicknamed our seats “the catapult seats”.

When we got to Buenos Aires, one of the first things we did was check out the wine selection in the supermarkets. And oh sweeeeeeeet sweetness was it a pleasant surprise! The shelves are filled with all kinds of great wines and they cost almost nothing! Well they cost something, but compared to Finland’s prices the prices here are ridiculously low. Well for example, you can get a bottle of Gato Negro here for about 2€ in the supermarket. And it’s quite cheap in the restaurants as well, there you would get the same bottle for about 6€.

Of course we are now faced with a dilemma: which ones do we buy first? Actually we are faced with another dilemma as well: how will we have the time and strength to try them all?

Buenos Aires has this European cling to it. It’s busy and sophisticated and lacks the agreeable type of disarray and laidback-ness that you could feel in e.g. Brazil. Some of the people are a bit uptight and nonchalant so you notice that you have come to a big city where you should mind your own business. Still it’s laidback in its own way and it is filled with culture and happening of different kinds depending on what part of the city you are in. It has got lots of great restaurants and boutique kind of shops filled with handmade original clothes for ridiculously low prices. So you can really get some unique stuff here, not just Levi’s and Nike.

The town has many different parts with their own characteristics and specialities. You have the downtown with its chic boutiques and huge malls, you have Recoleta with its exclusive mansions and French architecture, and you have Palermo with its nice restaurants, cool shops and laidback atmosphere. We are staying in San Telmo, a great little part of town. It’s got a small plaza where vagabond hippies sell their jewellery on weekdays and where a huge antique fair is organized every Sunday. It is pure pleasure and madness, that fair. The streets are filled with booths selling any stuff you can imagine and every once in a while you encounter people dancing tango, joggling, playing music, doing mimes, you name it.

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Well in short, the town is so huge and there is so much happening that it would take ages to experience it all.
A few days ago my parents (anna) arrived. And let me tell you, we have been busy since then. We have been sightseeing every day and seen lots of stuff. We have seen tango performances, checked out the Sunday fair, had picnics in parks, enjoyed wines, explored the different parts of town, visited Evita’s grave... But of course the first thing we did was introduce the 1liter beer bottles to them. Our basic ordering line has become “Quatro litros cerveza, por favor”.

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Lunch in Palermo

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Evita's grave

One day we did a day trip to the delta of the Rio Uruguay. It was an amazing place. It is filled with canals, like a mini-Venice but in the middle of the nature. You can cruise into the delta where people live along the canals that are only accessible by boat. It is really quiet and peaceful there. We wouldn’t mind having a summer cottage there.

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The delta with one houses there

We also did a trip to the gaucho city of San Antonio de Areco, a cute quite little town where some of Argentina’s cowboys live. We were in luck, because on that day the gauchos had an annual gathering so we saw them gather and play some weird outdoor game and grilling some meat on a fire (behind the tourist office ;)). We also visited a charming little chocolate factory where we got to taste some excellent chocolates. It is Easter soon, so they had some unbelievably stunning chocolate eggs with beautiful decorations. Furthermore, we had the pleasure of watching some local folk dance in the park. It was a bit weird.

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Gauchos

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Relaxing at a gaucho mansion

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Chocolate factory

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Dancing folk dance

As a side note, I have to tell you about the absurd breakfast they seem to enjoy in this country. When breakfast was served the first morning at the hostel and they placed two super sweet croissants and a cup of coffee in front of me I remembered back to Trindade when I watched Carlos from Argentina eat breakfast. He would pick a big piece of sweet cake from the counter and wash it down with a cup of coffee in which he would pour 3 teaspoons of sugar. So I guess they treat the tourists here the way they see it best. That’s a good sign. The second morning we got a brownie and a cup of coffee. So they seem to be varying it as well. That’s a good sign, too.

The staff of the hostel must have been puzzled when my parents came and we had a breakfast feast every morning with rye bread from Finland, cheese, tomato, yoghurt and some fruit.

Well anyway, we’re getting anxious to visit some nice vineyards and try some great wines, so tomorrow we’re hopping on the bus for Mendoza and 16 hours later we should be waking up in the sweet, sweet wine region.

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Bye bye Buenos Aires

Posted by AnnaMickus 10:53 Archived in Argentina

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