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Argentina: Buenos Aires (First Time Round) & Lunch In Uruguay

Top 5 tips

  1. Taxis are cheap and reliable. Good for a chat and information also.
  2. Uber (in my opinion) is not reliable in Buenos Aires. The drivers usually rely on maps for navigation and the cars are not overly comfortable. Taxis are nicer.
  3. Vegetarian / Vegan food can easily be found in the City (contrary to what we were told – by non-vegetarians). Not so easy in the countryside.
  4. Cash is useful. One supermarket would not accept foreign credit cards, another required my passport to pay with CC.
  5. Many places ask to see your passport when paying by credit card.

Friday:

After leaving Cuba we had most of the day in Miami, so we got out of the airport and headed for Miami beach. After dinner at a vegetarian restaurant Full Bloom (good food but over priced) we walked the beautiful white sandy beach looking out on four cruise ships.

Miami Beach

Bad hair day

Before heading back to the airport, we had a drink and dessert among what appeared to be the social elite of this City. The verdict? I do not belong in Miami. Take that how you will, it is not intended to be an insult or a judgement on myself, it is just a fact.

Saturday:

My friend the sleeping pill helped me through the flight to Santiago where we had a brief stopover in the airport which was surrounded by mountains.

After a two-hour flight we landed in Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires. On leaving the airport, a taxi driver told us Uber was prohibited but we ignored this and got an Uber anyway. Unlike the US, the Uber cars are less comfortable than Taxis and probably around the same price, so the only advantage to using Uber is if you don’t have cash. The Taxis generally don’t take credit card. Also, the taxi drivers for the most park know the city. The Uber drivers don’t always, and some even had the GPS on their laps as they drove. Not the experience I want.

It took us about 50 minutes to get from the airport to Palermo (Traffic can be CRAZY).

Approximate drive from Ezeiza airport to Palermo

We got dropped off at Buenos Aires Verde for some great vegan food as we waited for check in time. In General Buenos Aires is a great city for vegetarian and vegan options. We had a six-minute walk to our AIR BnB.

Our Air BnB was comfortable and a reasonable price – cheaper than a hotel room

Palermo is a cool district, full of restaurants and bars. People are friendly and usually speak some English.

Sunday:

We started with rooftop yoga to keep the exercise up and headed out for lunch to Gratitude.

Yoga time

Gratitude – great food

Great vegan and vegetarian options here and then walked the city taking us to Bosques de Palermo, a large park with a beautiful rose garden and lakes.

One of the small lakes at Bosques De Palermo

Lots of people enjoying this busy but spacious park

Our walk then brought us closer to the Down town region of Buenos Aires, where it could easily be mistaken for European City with the mixture of old and new architecture. We stopped in to El Ateneo Grand Splendid, an old theater converted into a book shop. I was shocked at the price of books here and won’t be picking up any extra reading material.

This old theater is converted into a book store

Next, we headed to the water front past the Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada, the presidential palace and had dinner looking out on the waterfront. There are lots of restaurants to chose from here though I’m thinking they are the more expensive.

The taxi driver who drove us back to Palermo told us about the strong Irish roots here and explained that Hanlon is a common name in Buenos Aires. Most people we have spoken to, just like Cuba, want to know if we are from Northern Ireland or the Republic. Our Taxi Driver, unlike Cuban people was well aware of Che Guevara’s Irish roots and knew that he came from the name Lynch.

Monday:

We went to Uruguay for lunch. We got up early to catch the ferry to Colonia, a Uruguayan town approximately 1-hour journey away.

Ferry to Colonia

Warning: DO NOT use the Google Maps location for the ferry terminal. I did, and we ended up missing the ferry and paying for the later one as the Google Maps location is nowhere near the actual ferry terminal. I suppose a reasonable person would use the address on the tickets rather than the Google location but there you have it.

Red pin shows Google maps location, yellow highlight is the actual location

The Ferry ride is expensive (1700 Pesos = $63 CAD) but It is worth it. Colonia is a peaceful haven (probably a different story in high season) full of sleeping dogs and cats and a few tourists ambling around.

Just like Cuba, more sleeping dogs

The cobbled streets are quiet and there is not much going on but it’s a great getaway from busy Buenos aires

Some of the old cars here were reminiscent of Cuba

Sssshhh…..

Half a day in Colonia was more than enough time but I’m sure there are things to do if you intend to spend more time here. It would be a good way to start your Uruguayan trip if you plan on spending time in the country. We ate lunch in El Drugstore which offered great veggie options. We ordered fantastic spicy potatoes and had some Mate, a kind of tea which you see people regularly drinking.

Mate is drank through a straw. Hot water is poured on top of a cup full of tea leaves

I am the sort of person who does not stand in line for airplanes, buses, ferry’s etc., especially if I have a seat reserved. I don’t understand the mad rush when everyone will get a seat regardless. Not the case here. If you don’t line up, you won’t get a seat and the ferry is not a comfortable place to stand for an hour or even sit on the ground. Take the time to stand in line.

When we got back we had some Mexican food and hit a bar which miraculously sprung up right next door to our apartment. There had been no sign of it the days before.

Tuesday:

It rained. It was nice. We had breakfast across the road at Crisol. It seems like a chain but had great breakfast options. I ordered incredibly healthy pancakes covered in Nutella.

In the evening we hit a yoga class with friend (of a friend) Dani whose family owns Caravan Hostel. This is a cool place in the middle of Palermo and is a great option for accommodation.

Sweaty class, though from the pick it looks like I was the only one who thought so

After a shower we met two more friends (of a friend) – Gonzalo and Augustin at 9.30 PM (Argentinians eat late) for pizza at El Cuartito. River Plate were playing in the soccer that evening, I’m not sure why they play their games so late but the people watching went MENTAL when they scored. Soccer is a big deal here apparently.

Buenos Aires is such a cool City. It is so modern, with a great mix of older buildings and has so much to do. But after a few days it was time to grab a car and head across the country. Stay tuned for the next blog on the road trip.

Peace,

George

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