A Travellerspoint blog

February 2011

Bariloche

First stop in Patagonia

sunny 25 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

Last Wednesday, I left the constant heat of Buenos Aires to travel South to Patagonia. I got the bus from Buenos Aires to Bariloche together with an American couple I had met in Buenos Aires. We survived the 20-hour bus ride quite well and got to Bariloche on Thursday afternoon looking forward to the hiking and the beautiful landscape views.
In Bariloche

In Bariloche


We stayed in a nice hostel in Bariloche with great staff. They were really friendly and helpful. They explained everything we could do and how to get there and answered all questions we had (believe me, I had a lot of questions during the 3 ½ days I stayed there…). They were even able to book my trip down to El Chaltén for me. The staff also just liked chatting to the guests when they were in the common area, play some music when they felt like it or pass around the mate cups.
Drinking mate at the hostel

Drinking mate at the hostel

Hostel staff playing music

Hostel staff playing music


While I was there, the hostel had an unexpected guest: A cat kept coming back to the hostel constantly. The staff kept throwing it out, but a few minutes later it would have gotten back inside through an open window or door. It was a cute cat and most people didn’t mind it being there, but it became quit a funny situation.. When it really couldn’t get in, it would sit in front of the window and watch us.

After finding our way around town on Thursday afternoon, figuring out what we want to do in and around Bariloche and trying their famously delicious ice cream and chocolate, we went out to eat some amazing homemade pasta and have a few beers at a pub with an own brewery. We also met up with some Australians I had met in Buenos Aires, one of them was in my Spanish course. It really is funny how you keep meeting people again on trips like this.

On Friday, we hiked up the Cerro Campanario. It is a short, but steep hike. Unfortunately, I had a cold which had gotten worse during the night on the bus, so that I had some problems breathing which slowed us down a bit. Once we got to the top, the views were more than worth the hike though. I would say, just look at the pictures below.
Cerro Campanario 1

Cerro Campanario 1

Cerro Campanario 2

Cerro Campanario 2

Cerro Campanario 3

Cerro Campanario 3


Because of my cold I decided that it was not a good idea to rent bikes with the others and go on a 27km bike trip. So I made my way back to the hostel to get some more sleep and have a lazy afternoon. In the evening, I was fit again for some Mexican food and some drinks ;-)

Saturday was a very sunny day, so I decided to get a bus to Lago Gutierrez, a beautiful lake with pretty little rock beaches. On the bus there I sat next to an Argentinean woman who lives just next to the lake. She enjoyed telling me all about the lake and the area around it. This way I discovered houses hidden behind the trees near the road, which have massive grounds and are really expensive, but very difficult to reach in winter when there is about 1m of snow. I also found out that there is a huge private village next to the lake, which is owned by Belgian people. These and other facts made the ½ hour bus trip feel shorter and were good practice for my Spanish.
Once we had arrived at our destination, I walked along a path next to lake which leads to a campsite and a waterfall in the forest. Thwalk to the waterfall was very quiet and exactly what I needed that day. I had my lunch picnic when I got to the waterfall and when I was ready to leave went to one of the beaches at the lake to sit in the sun and enjoy the view.
Lago Gutierrez

Lago Gutierrez

On Sunday, I felt healthy enough to finally do a full-day hike. We hiked up to Refugio Frey, a campsite in the mountains situated next to beautiful lake. The hike was said to last about 4 hours up and 2 ½ down. Well it took us only 2h 45m up and 2h down. I guess the time indications are a maximum and some people take more breaks than we did. Still, we were quite fast. The first bit was not very bad, but then it did get quite steep and the last few km were quite tough, but finally, there was an end in sight. We spent some time at the refugio, eating our well-deserved lunch, enjoying the views and playing cards.
At Refugio Frey

At Refugio Frey


After this tiring day, I was quite looking forward to getting some forced rest on the bus the next 2 days.

Posted by sarahm_lux 01:03 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

A trip to Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento & Montevideo

sunny 24 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

On Saturday, the Swedish girl and I got a ferry to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. It is only a 50-minute ferry ride to get there, so we thought we might as well see another country.

Colonia is a very pretty town. It is touristy, but quiet. It is a very nice place to just walk around and enjoy a sunny day. In and around town, there are some beaches as well, but we did not go to any. At night, the town is very busy. There are bars and restaurants everywhere and many places had live bands playing that night.
Colonia del Sacramento 1

Colonia del Sacramento 1

Colonia del Sacramento 2

Colonia del Sacramento 2

Colonia del Sacramento 3

Colonia del Sacramento 3

Colonia del Sacramento 4

Colonia del Sacramento 4

Colonia del Sacramento 5

Colonia del Sacramento 5

Colonia del Sacramento 6

Colonia del Sacramento 6

Colonia del Sacramento 7

Colonia del Sacramento 7

Colonia del Sacramento 8

Colonia del Sacramento 8


For dinner, we went to a restaurant to eat the Uruguayan speciality, Chivito. This is a slice of beef covered with ham, cheese, bacon and a fried egg. On the side we got a salad, a russian salad and chips. We got a big plate for 2 and it was a very good meal. Definitely something to try when in Uruguay. There is a ‘burger’ version of it too, where everything is served in a big bun.
Chivito

Chivito


On Sunday we moved on to Montevideo. Unfortunately, nobody had told us that Montevideo is a ghost town on Sundays. The old town was empty. Everything was closed - even restaurants, bars and cafés - and there were barely any people on the streets. We had a very hard time trying to find somewhere where we could have lunch. We finally found the Mercado del Puerto, which is a market hall filled almost exclusively with restaurants. They mainly have barbecues like this:
Parilla at Mercado del Puerto

Parilla at Mercado del Puerto


We needed to save some money though and decided to get pasta: very good and cheap ravioli.
Montevideo 1

Montevideo 1

Montevideo 2

Montevideo 2


We then went to the Museo del Carnaval. A small, but interesting and colourful, museum about carnival in Montevideo, but also in the rest of the world.
Museo del Carnaval 1

Museo del Carnaval 1

Museo del Carnaval 2

Museo del Carnaval 2


At night, we had an encounter with the ‘Uruguayan Orange Daiquiri’ as we named it. At the hostel there was an offer on the daiquiris, so we decided to order some. The bartender said the only fruit he had was oranges. We had never heard of an orange daiquiri, but thought why not. We then watched the guy behind the bar peel 2 oranges, cut them into 4 pieces each, crush them a bit, mix them with Fanta and rum and then shake the whole thing. Shaking Fanta?? OK, the drink ended up tasting quite good, but it had no ice in it, 4 large pieces of orange and shaken Fanta! I imagined the 2 straws we got with it were supposed to be used as chopsticks to eat the alcohol-soaked oranges with. We had a good laugh about this experience and kept telling the story to everyone we met in the last 3 days, but the most important thing is that we enjoyed our drinks :-)
Uruguayan Orange Daiquiri

Uruguayan Orange Daiquiri


On Monday, Montevideo changed completely. The streets were filled with people and the shops, restaurants and cafés were open again. We visited the cathedral (nice, but not very special) and then the Museo del Gaucho y de la Moneda. The Gaucho museum showed an interesting movie about the Gaucho and his way of living. The rest of the museum was really interesting too. In the same building was a small natural history museum as well, so you get 3 museums in 1 and it‘s all for free.

In Montevideo, as well as in Buenos Aires, you can see ‘recycling families’ everywhere on the streets. These are people that collect the rubbish that is lying on the street and cart it away to a recycling place where they can get money for it. Quite an interesting concept: they get a chance to earn some money while they keep the city clean. While in Buenos Aires they pull their carts through the streets by hand though, in Montevideo they have horses! After we had tried taking pictures of this couple as secretly as we could, they rode away on their horse and waved goodbye to us. So we didn’t go unnoticed after all…
'Recycling family'

'Recycling family'


We then took a long walk past the coast to one of the nicer beaches in the city. Beautiful! After having spent some hours at the beach, we got a massive ice cream to have some strength for the 1-hour walk back ;-)
Montevideo 3

Montevideo 3

Montevideo 4

Montevideo 4

Ice cream in Montevideo

Ice cream in Montevideo


The night we spent at the hostel, cooking dinner and talking to the other people staying there. There was even a live band playing in the hostel.

The next morning we took a bus and ferry back to Buenos Aires to stay there for 1 more day before travelling on.

Posted by sarahm_lux 21:30 Archived in Uruguay Comments (1)

Last week in BA

sunny 26 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

I had a third great week in Buenos Aires. I did a bit more sightseeing and just enjoyed being in the city.

On Tuesday I met up with the Mexican girl I had met in Foz do Iguacu. We went to Recoleta cemetery where we got a free tour. This is not a normal cemetery. It is filled with very big mausoleums and other real grave ‘buildings’ and looks more like a town than a cemetery.
Recoleta cemetery

Recoleta cemetery

Recoleta cemetery

Recoleta cemetery

Evita's grave

Evita's grave


At night we went to a restaurant where they serve Middle-Eastern food. We did not know any of the names of the foods, so we ordered without knowing what we would, but what we ended up eating was very good.

On Wednesday I went to a restaurant where they have a free tango show during dinner. So we ate good meat and gnocchis and watched a couple dance around the restaurant to the music of a live tango singer.
Tango show

Tango show

Live Tango music

Live Tango music


On Thursday I visited the Museo de la Ciudad, a very small museum about the city of Buenos Aires. They have old things from the city with explanations of where they come from etc. It was not very spectacular, but still we enjoyed it. Especially the collection of old toys was fun to see.

That night I was invited for dinner at a family’s house. They were my aunt’s old neighbours in Germany and had moved to Buenos Aires a while ago. They have a really nice house in Belgrano, where I spent a very good evening. They made some good food and we spent the evening just eating and talking.

Friday night, after having finished my 3-week Spanish course that day, it was time to finally try out the Buenos Aires Pub Crawl. We met up in a park where we got free pizza, beer and wine for an hour. When the hour was over and it was time to move on, around 120 people had gathered in the park. So with this huge group of people, we went on to 2 bars and then a club, where we got free entrance. I was a fun nioght, involving a lot of dancing. A big attraction on the pub crawl was the ‘disco camel’ in the first bar we went to.
On the pub crawl

On the pub crawl

The Disco Camel

The Disco Camel

Posted by sarahm_lux 13:33 Archived in Argentina Tagged tango buenos_aires recoleta_cemetery Comments (1)

More fun times in Buenos Aires

sunny 22 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

The past few days in BA were really great.

On Wednesday, some people from the hostel and I ended up at a really quite posh party on a boat. It was a bit expensive, but it was worth it. It was a really cool place, with nice views too, and we had a really good night.
Party boat

Party boat

On the party boat

On the party boat


On Thursday, I went to another Tango lesson. This time I stayed there for 3 ½ hours of dancing, Tango, then Salsa and afterwards Milonga. It was a lot of fun, but after all this dancing we left exhausted and hungry and went on the search for food.
Tango lesson

Tango lesson


We felt like we are really starting to blend in in Argentina when we entered a restaurant at 11pm to have dinner. We made a great choice with the restaurant. The food (especially the meat of course) was incredibly good! And the whole dinner including beer and wine cost us about €16 each!
Bife de Chorizo and Barbecue Ribs - before

Bife de Chorizo and Barbecue Ribs - before

Bife de Chorizo and Barbecue Ribs - after

Bife de Chorizo and Barbecue Ribs - after

At the restaurant - the perfect table on the balcony

At the restaurant - the perfect table on the balcony


Yesterday (Saturday) was a really nice day out in the sun. The Swedish girl and I went to a really pretty park, where we had a picnic and spent the rest of the time reading, studying Spnaish, making further travel plans and walking around the park taking loads of pictures.
Park in Recoleta

Park in Recoleta

Park in Recoleta

Park in Recoleta

Park in Recoleta

Park in Recoleta


We then walked on to a nice little crafts market, one of the many on the weekends here, but a really nice one.

Today was another great day. We went to Tigre, a town North of Buenos Aires, where we went kayaking in the Paraná Delta, visited the market and ate some strange foods. All in all a very good day.
The kayaking was really cool! We had a very good guide, who gave us interesting information about the area and led us around many different streams. It was just the 2 of us today, so we had our private tour, which was great.
Kayaking

Kayaking

Kayaking

Kayaking

on the Kayak

on the Kayak


Walking around the town and the market was nice too and we found some strange foods which we decided we had to try. First we had a ham and cheese waffle on a stick.
Tigre

Tigre

Ham and cheese waffle on a stick

Ham and cheese waffle on a stick


Later on we ate a candied apple with popcorn stuck to it. It was a messy business and very sweet, but very tasty!
Sugar-coated popcorn apple

Sugar-coated popcorn apple

Posted by sarahm_lux 20:30 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

First 10 days in Buenos Aires

I love this city!

sunny 23 °C
View Latin America on sarahm_lux's travel map.

Hola everyone! I know, it's been a while since i've written anything. I'm just so busy in BA and time goes by very quickly when you're having so much fun. Every morning I go to my Spanish course from 9-1 and then there's homework to do and many many things to see and do in the city. I've been spending most of my time with a German girl (who was staying at my hostel for a few days, but then went couchsurfing and we kept meeting up, also with the guys she's staying with), a Swedish girl (who got here a few days after me and is staying in BA for 3 weeks too for a Spanish course) and an American girl (who left today though), and a bit with people from my Spanish course.

I did not have a very good start in Buenos Aires. I arrived here on Saturday, 22nd, in the morning and when I got to the hostel I had booked, they had lost my reservation and had no bed free for that ngiht. This means I had to find myself another hostel :( Not an easy task on a Saturday morning! I was lucky though and got a bed at Lime House Hostel, where I'm still at staying now. This hostel is much closer to my Spanish school, and it's actually really close to most things, so in the end it's quite good that I ended up here.

In the 10 days I've been here I have done so many different things, I can't give you all the details, so I'll just talk about the highlights.

Spanish course
My Spanish course is going quite well. I have forgotten a lot of the grammar, but it's coming back quite quickly and i can talk to people quite well (though I make many mistakes of course). Because some people were in their last week of lessons, we already had an exam last Friday. I had only had the 1 week of this level which should have been 3 weeks in total, but I still passed the exam! :)

Tango lessons
I thought when in Buenos Aires I need to learn to dance Tango a little bit. So last week I went to tango lessons twice. I really enjoyed it and will definitely go back again this week. Learning the first steps was quite hard, but fun. The only problem is, as with most dance lessons. that there are always too few men, which makes it difficult for every woman to get enough chances to dance and practice.
On Friday, there's a Salsa lesson just after Tango, so we stayed on for that, which was great too, but difficult cause we learned a bit too much in 1 lesson.

Concerts
Last Wednesday the German girl and I, together with one of the guys she's staying with, ended up at a very random local concert. Except for us there were only Argentineans of course and it was really cool. The music was good and the band was really crazy. At some point all the guys were standing on the stage in their underwear and some fans in the public did the same...
Concert

Concert

Concert

Concert


Last night we went to see La Bomba de Tiempo, a percussion band that has a show every Monday in BA. It is a big event every week, visited by many tourists, but also many local people that know the band and their music very well. It was a big party, the music was really good and the show was quite impressive.
La Bomba de Tiempo supporting band

La Bomba de Tiempo supporting band

La Bomba de Tiempo

La Bomba de Tiempo

La Bomba de Tiempo guests

La Bomba de Tiempo guests


La Boca
Yesterday, I finally went to La Boca to see the famous colourful houses. They were really beautiful! And the place was bigger than I had expected as well, so we spent a nice afternoon there, and took LOADS of photos.
La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

Tango in La Boca

Tango in La Boca

In La Boca

In La Boca


The Feria in San Telmo
There is an arts/crafts/flea market in San Telmo every Sunday. This is a great place to just look around or buy souvenirs. I've been there twice already and just enjoy the atmosphere very much. Very touristy, but very cool!
Feria de San Telmo

Feria de San Telmo

Feria de San Telmo

Feria de San Telmo

Tango at Feria de San Telmo

Tango at Feria de San Telmo


San Telmo
San Telmo is generally a cool neighbourhood too. it's really nice to go to bars there. You can go for a drink outside on the plaza or hidden behind a red door without any sign ;)
At La Puerta Roja

At La Puerta Roja


We found a very good and cheap restaurant there too. It had some very random decoration, plastic tablecloths etc, but that's so much better than all the fancy touristy places. And the food was amazing!
At the restaurant in San Telmo

At the restaurant in San Telmo


Food
I love Buenos Aires, but if I'd stay here too long I'd probably become very fat... There is just too much good food in this city for very little money.
Meat: As everyone knows, there is loads of good meat in Buenos Aires, especially steak. Although I had a bit of a disappointment last week, when we had a student dinner with Spanish school and we went to a Parilla, but the meat was not good at all; it was very chewy, I had some very good meat too. The best so far was at the restaurant in San Telmo I mentioned above. The steak I had was really tender and yummy! And that wasn't even the best cut of meat... I definitely have more meat to try though cause so far I have not been out for dinner a lot.
Ice cream: There is too much really good ice cream in Buenos Aires! I eat ice cream far too often here! But in this heat you just have to!
Alfajores: These are a type of biscuit consisting of two layers with a filling, normally dulce de leche, in-between. Very sweet and very good!
Empanadas: They are everywhere and are just a perfect snack/lunch. If they just weren't so fatty and unhealthy... But they're so good and cheap here...

Shopping
Buenos Aires is a good city for shopping, especially cause it's so cheap! In many areas you have a lot of shops and then you have the ferias, like the one in San Telmo, but also in Palermo on the weekends.

Nightlife
The nightlife of Buenos Aires is very good and very busy. There are loads of bars and clubs everywhere, especially in Palermo and San Telmo. I have been out quite a lot (mostly just for a drink though cause I have to get up early for school, how weird...), so I've been to a few of them, some more special than others, but they were all fun.

Late nights in Buenos Aires
What is very strange for every foreigner in Buenos Aires is how late you do certain things here. If you have dinner before 10pm here, it is very unusual and people find you quite strange. You can go out to a bar at this time too, that's OK, but clubs only really get busy at around 2am. OK, with bars and clubs it's almost the same back home, although not quite as bad, but the late time for dinner is very weird.

Ok, this was a long summary of my last week here in BA. I'll try to write again sooner again this time.
Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo

Casa Rosada

Casa Rosada

El Ateneo bookstore

El Ateneo bookstore

Floralis Generica in Recoleta

Floralis Generica in Recoleta

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

Posted by sarahm_lux 18:56 Archived in Argentina Tagged argentina buenos_aires palermo san_telmo la_boca Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]