Part 7: South America – Buenos Aires, Argentina.

February 9, 2018. Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It was great to get a good night’s sleep on the ship without it rocking. 

Now it was back to the business of travelling. Initially to to Buenos Aires for four nights and from there we would plan the last part of our trip. 

It was a long day of travelling. 

Firstly waiting to get the bus to Ushuaia Airport, then waiting for the plane to actually take off and finally waiting to disembark at Buenos Aires. 

When we arrived it was a balmy 25°C and didn’t drop much below that in the evening. 

I do prefer the warmth to the cold. 

We were staying at the Hotel Pulitzer in the heart of Buenos Aires. On our first night we weren’t wanting to venture too far so we found a great Spanish restaurant, just around the corner.

The hotel had a rooftop bar and we did go there a few times during our stay in the city.

The staff were friendly and there was a real mixture of tourist and locals. In fact the Hotel Pulitzer was a delight, everyone was friendly and went out of their way to help.

Even the breakfast was good.

 

P2103099

February 10, 2018. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

After eight day without the Internet in Antarctica, we found that our hotel in Buenos Aires was ‘down’. So much for how good the hotel was.

Florida Garden came to the rescue. 

This large café not only had good internet but excellent espresso and it was also just around the corner. 

We then did the The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour of the city. 

There were three lines, Red, Blue and Green and took about 3.5 hours to complete all three. 

It’s a city of wide avenues, parks, statues and Neo-Classical architecture. 

Buenos Aires sits on the Río de la Plata. This is the confluence of the Uruguay and Paraná Rivers and considered as the world’s widest river span at 220 kilometres. 

A fact disputed by Brazil who believe the Amazon is wider. 

Only in the incredibly Catholic South America would you find a theme park dedicated to the life of Christ.

Tierra Santa or Holy Land claims to be the world’s first religious theme park. Here you can walk the streets of Biblical Jerusalem. They even have an 18 metre high likeness of Jesus who rises from behind a rock every hour.

We didn’t bother to go but just read about it.

Despite this over-the-top religious extravagance there are very few grand cathedrals within the city.

This might have something to do with the size and devoutness of the indigenous peoples who inhabited the land before the Spaniards arrived. 

Unlike the west coast of South America, there were no large civilisations such as the Aztecs or Incas. In the east there were only small groups of hunter-gatherers. 

Typically the Spaniards built their churches over the sites of the indigenous temples, thereby offering a continuity of location. As there were no large temples in Buenos Aires, there were no corresponding cathedrals.

Just down the road was Galerías Pacífico, a mall devoted to the religion of shopping. This was as grand as any church we had seen. There was even a central dome with excellent frescos by the local artists, Berni, Castagnino, Colmeiro, Spilimbergo and Urruchúa.

The building was designed in 1889, in the Beaux Arts style, by Emilio Agrelo as a department store for a store known as the Argentine Bon Marché.

It was used as a torture centre by the military junta from 1976 to 1983 and declared a national historic monument in 1989.

Having been abandoned for years it was remodelled and opened as a shopping mall in 1991.

 

P2113132

February 11, 2018. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

As we still had a few hours remaining of the 24 hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus ticket we caught the Red Line down to Palermo. We found a great café near the Armenia Gardens and after a coffee started the walk back to our hotel. 

It was about 10 kilometres and we stopped at the Botanical Gardens and the Floralis Genérica, among other spots, on the way. 

In the evening we caught up with the remaining Antarctic group members for dinner. 

 

P2123149

February 12, 2018. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Thea’s new computer, that was only 58 days old, had a fit in Antarctica and wasn’t working. 

After some research she discovered that there had been a recall of that model in early January. 

There was apparently a problem with the battery. 

For Thea, being without a computer is like being without air. 

We had to get a replacement of some kind so we booked another night in the hotel to give us time to see the sights and to shop. 

On the Sunday night we discovered there was a public holiday on the Monday. 

All the computer stores were closed, so shopping would have to wait until the Tuesday 

We continued on the tourist trail and found ourselves in the old part of the city. Much to our surprise we stumbled across of yet another The Thinker by Auguste Rodin.

This must be a least the fourth we have seen on our travels.

 

P2133227

February 13, 2018. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Expecting to spend most of the day sending our package of clothing and Thea’s broken computer home, then buying a cheap replacement, we were shocked to find that it was yet another public holiday. 

Carnival goes for two days, not one as we thought. 

In the morning we wandered around Puerto Madero. This development, in the waterfront area, is relatively new and there is a mixture of modern architecture and old warehouse buildings.

It runs along the banks of the Río de la Plata and covers an area of about 2.1 square kilometres.

Work started on the port in 1882 and was carried out by the local business man Eduardo Madero, hence the name.

After completion of The New Port of Buenos Aires in 1926, Puerto Madero became superfluous. Then in the 1990s there was a massive redevelopment along the river bank. Now there are shops, restaurants and apartment blocks.

We stopped and had lunch overlooking the river.

In the afternoon we went on a walking tour with Nicolas Hidalgo Frigo, an enthusiastic local guy who runs walking tours as a living and gets paid according to what the tourists think he is worth.

Under the banner of ‘Critical Thinking Tours’ it covered 400 years of Argentinean history, from a Buenos Aires perspective. 

We started and ended near the Pink Palace, the seat of Presidential power. 

The reason, according to Nicolas, that all the public buildings in Buenos Aires are so grand can be attributed to gloating. 

After gaining independence in 1816, the new Argentina wanted to prove to the world that they could build anything the Europeans could – but bigger and better. 

The Argentine War of Independence was fought from 1810 to 1818. This was between patriotic forces, looking for independence, against those loyal to the Spanish Crown. The independence movement was under the command of Manuel Belgrano, Juan José Castello and José de San Martin.

This guy just keeps popping up.

 

DSC05600

February 14, 2018. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Now the shops were open, this was going to be the day to get the chores done. 

First cab off the rank was buying the trip to Uruguay. This meant a walk down to the ferry terminal and visiting the Buquebus travel agent. 

Then we went shopping for another computer. 

It was a balance between memory, size and cost and was a lengthy, drawn-out process. 

Next was the DHL to send our Antarctic jackets, thermals and waterproof pants home. 

And of course, now the non functioning computer. 

After a very long day walking up and down Calle Florida and some side trips we managed to get two of the three tasks completed. 

A new computer was just too hard. They were either too large, too expensive or the stock was too old.

There appears to be no market for small, relatively inexpensive PCs in Buenos Aires.

I wonder what the students use.

Calle Florida, the main walking street near our hotel, should really be called Cambio Street. There are money sellers every few metres and on every corner. All you can hear is, “Cambio, cambio.”

Leave a Reply