Sunday, 12 June 2011

Don't Cry for Me Argentina...

June 2nd, we took a bus from Santiago to Mendoza but we only stayed there for 2 nights, our aim was to hit as many winery in a day as possible.  We hit managed to hit four which wasn't bad, considering we woke up late and didn't start until 1pm!  We visited the Carinae, Di Tommaso, Vina el Cerno and another new one which I can't remember the name.

As most of you know, I don't drink, so the highlight of the day was when a lovely girl we met during our wine tour got so hammered, she fell off her bike and the police had to escort her back to the bike store.  It was seriously hilarious!  The funniest thing I have seen in a while.  It was priceless!

My hubby had a great time and I did too, to see the winery and learn about wine making.  You haven't been to Mendoza if you haven't done a wine tour.

On June 4th, we headed off to Buenos Aires via a pimp bus with 180° seats and individual entertainment system, which made the 13-hour bus journey much more enjoyable.

We were in BA for 5 nights and I tell you, this city NEVER SLEEPS.  We went to a restaurant at 7:30pm and were told we were too early and that we should return after 8pm!  Our restaurant started filling up at 11pm.  Argentines party HARD.  They drink at 8pm, dine at 10pm, then hit the clubs at 2am!!!

We felt like complete douche bags and were ready to rot in an old folks home! However, we did manage to kill the meat there BIG TIME.  The amount of food we had had was simply offensive.  By the last day, I couldn't eat anything the following morning because we had eaten so much.

The meat there was outstanding, the night life was crazy, the cities were pretty and although on the surface, the people in BA seemed rather stuck up, once you get to chat with them, you would learn that they are really friendly and helpful!

Apart from the food, the Recoleta Cemetery was the highlight of my trip in Argentina.  It's like a mini town inside the thick walls which surround the cemetery.  The stonework, the marble, the statues were absolutely fascinating.  It's for the elite of Argentina such as doctors, judges, politicians and of course, Evita. I loved it so much I had to go back and visit it again before we left BA.

Is it wrong to say that I have fallen in love with a cemetery? But seriously, if you ever go to BA, you will know what I mean, the Recoleta Cemetery is really unique and I have never ever seen anything like it before.

Apart from that, we did the usual touristy stuff and visited all the places like City Center, Recoleta, Palermo etc...the second highlight was the Zoo in BA.  Within such small area, you could find white lions and tiger, hippos, monkeys, elephants, lions, polar bear, bears, rhino and so on.  We planned to roam around it but ended up staying there for about 3 hours!!!

During our stay in BA, we took a day trip to Colonia in Uruguay.  I am not sure why anyone would say that you should stay there for a week, I mean it was a lovely little town (the historical town anyways) but half a day was enough for us!  The town was peaceful, colonial and very pretty but I would recommend doing a day trip only.

June 10th came and we were really excited about flying off to Iguazu until we were told by our hotel that the BA airport had closed because of the ash cloud from the Chile volcano eruption and most flights were cancelled.  We were gutted because we have already booked the hostals and the following flights to and within Brazil which we couldn't change, everything was back to back.

If you have experienced the London ash cloud incident a year ago, you would know how we felt.

Anyhow, we were still told to go to the airport and there, we wait, wait and wait. 11am came and we were told to wait another hour.  12pm came and we were told to continue to wait until I went up and told the staff we had to make other arrangements and we couldn't wait any longer.  I know no one can predict the weather but seriously, go or no go, you are talking about a plane taking off, of course people knew.

Long story short, we were finally told our flight was canceled, so we took a taxi to the bus station and hopped onto the next available bus to Iguazu.  So an hour and a half flight journey turned out to be an 18-hour bus ride.  By the time we got to Iguazu, it was 8am and luckily, our hostal was willing to change the booking dates and our room was ready!!! By the time we crossed the Brazilian boarder and finally arrived to see the falls, it was a good 24 hour from when the time we arrived at the BA airport!

Having said that, the Iguazu Falls were magnificent.  The roaring of the water, the wind in your face and the grandness of the view, the experience was nothing but majestic.  No wonder why it's one of the 50 places you should see before you die.

We have really enjoyed our trip in Argentina, with double our belly volume and many fantastic memories, we will be heading off to Brazil tomorrow and I can't wait to kill the beaches while my hubby takes down the Brazilian barbecues!