After my year in Peru, me and 2 friends decided to take a short holiday in Argentina where I was to get my flight back to Cape Town. One friend decided to take a flight from Peru, while me and another friend decided to take a bus. The bus trip would take us across the South American continent from Lima to Buenos Aires.
I had a lot of time and I had a budget, so why not take the bus. The drive was to be 3 days as it went from Lima, down to Chile, across the Andes and across Argentina to reach Buenos Aires.
The ride across Chile was quiet, until we reached the Argentinian border control. On arriving we were told to get off the bus and go inside a large aeroplane hangar. When we got in the hangar all our bags were inside, we were then shouted by an official who resembled Che Guevara, to get our luggage and stand next to it. Me and my friend were the only non-Peruvians on the bus, so the Che Guevara guy asked us if were traveling together to which we replied we were. He then shouted at us to get out with our luggage and wait in the bus! We scurried with our bags and waited while the rest of the passengers had their luggage sniffed.
I had to use the bathroom and had to pay a small old lady with a goat to use the bathroom.
Argentina had the most impressive views and beautiful landscapes on this trip. We saw the Andes, then lush green jungle and beautiful mountain plateaus with forests. The best thing was that there was a thunderstorm as we went through the mountain side.
We eventually arrived in Buenos Aires that evening, after a brief stop in Mendoza.
We actually arrived earlier than expected. We were supposed to arrive the next morning, but we arrived the evening.
Buenos Aires city
The first European settler from Spain arrived in 1516. Eventually, more European settlers came and eventually established a small piece of land known as “Puerto de Santa María de los Buenos Aires” on 11 June 1580. The name came from the Spanish who referred to the good winds or fresh air (Spanish translation Buenos Aires) that the city provided. There was much opposition towards the European settlers in the beginning by the native tribes that already lived along the river.
Over time, the city became a major trade port for the continent of South America and Europe.
District of Palermo
We were staying in a hostel in Palermo, also known as the artist’s district in B.A. As we had arrived a night earlier, we had to take a chance and ask the hostel if there was an available room for that night. Luckily they did.
Palermo proved to be very active during day and night. With a big plaza in the middle with many bars and restaurants with outdoor tables. Live music played at the plaza while people wined and dined. It was summer and the whole place had a nice vibe.
During the day you can shop at all the trendy fashion boutiques and markets selling a variety of fashion items for new designer to vintage goods.
We mostly used cabs, but we also used the buses and metro. The buses were really nice, while the metro was crammed. Both buses and metro were really cheap.
The city centre
After visiting the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art, we walked along the busy Avenida Florida. You can catch tango dancers along here and many shops. This street is busy and is a real shoppers delight with all the popular retail, high end and local brands lining this street.
Buenos Aires is known as the Europe of South America. After a few days, I can say it definitely has the old European charm mixed in the style of its buildings and architecture. There is a strong Southern European influence of Spanish, French and Italian classic and modern design. There are so much cute little cafes and restaurants and streets to explore in this bustling city. I really wish I had had time to see more.
We were going to visit Uruguay, but my money got stolen on the metro so we landed up chilling out at the famous Punta del Mar bridge and relaxed in the shade. It was a really hot summer that year in 2008. The bridge was inspired by the tango dance as two people leaning to the side.
It’s true, the food in Buenos Aires is really good and cheap. Argentina is known for the meat produce and you could find really good steaks and carne dishes at good prices. They also offer a variety of dishes from other countries, but I heard the Mexican food in B.A is really bad. However, anything with beef is a guaranteed hit.
The night life in Palermo was fun, we just chilled at a few bars and danced a bit, but we were really exhausted from the long hot days and travels.
Buenos Aires left s good impression on me, and I definitely would like to re-visit this vibrant and friendly city. I think the name Buenos Aires culminates more than its reference to the excellent navigational weather of the area. It also reflects the overall atmosphere of the city.
We were only there for a week. So we didn’t have much time to explore more of Buenos Aires as we were taking a long bus trip up to the Amazon. But that’s another trip and another post!