icsasBuenos Aires was our first port of call in South America and we stumbled out of customs at 6pm with our packs on our backs and no idea where we’d be sleeping that night. With our very untested Spanish, a friendly Spanish speaking tourist and a helpful cab driver we managed to find ourselves in a backpackers an hour or so later. First impressions of Buenos Aires, in comparison with Australia, it is vast. The cab ride took us through 30km or so of apartments and buildings before we reached our hostel in the centre of the city. Inner Buenos Aires is blocks and blocks of building, packed solidly six or so stories high. There are not many skyscrapers but I was amazed by the sheer mass of “building”. Most of them are old, with facades ornately decorated with columns, carvings and gargoyles.
The next few days we spent walking the streets and visiting many of the amazing sites scattered all over the city. One of the things I noticed very early was the enourmous entrances on just about all of the old buildings, the height of which was far higher than I would be able to reach even with a jump. I was not able to find out the reason for this and can only assume that previous generations of Argentinos were of gigantic proportions.
The Tango is hugely popular. All over the city we saw street tango performances, tango bars, tango shows with dinner and advertisements for tango lessons. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to do any lessons.
The shopping oppurtunites were tremendous, with endless shops, street sellers selling stuff and markets. With our limited budget this was a very painful experience for Sophie. It was not easy for me either when we discovered an entire road full of second hand camera shops.
Also of note, dinning in Buenos Aires means Parilla, or barbeque. It seemed like every restaurant was one, each serving flame grilled huge steaks, sausages, entrails or a big pile of all of those. Luckily some of them also served pasta or pizza which were quite nice. Eating out was very affordable by Aussie standards, especially for the huge piles of meat, but not dirt cheap. What was dirt cheap though was alcohol. From the supermarket, local beers came in one litre bottles for the equivalent of about one US dollar. The wine is also really nice, but priced much closer to what we would pay in Australia.
For me though, the highlight of our trip so far has been the experience of meeting up and staying with our new friend Alejandro. This came about through the CouchSurfing website. It is a free online service that allows travellers, such as ourselves, to link up with locals who have a spare bed or couch that they are willing to share. The ultimate goal of the website is to promote cultural exchange. We were already very excited about the whole idea, but we had yet to see it work in practise. And so it was when we met up with Alejandro for coffee, and to sus each other out. Coincidentally he was as new to CouchSurfing as we were, but in the end we spent two nights with him, during which time he was unbelieavably kind and accomodating. He took time to show us around his neighbourhood, helped us out with problems we were having with our new phone line, gave us heaps of advice on where else we should visit and so much more. There was much sharing of stories, music recipes and youtube videos. Unfortunately the most Australian meal we could think of was pumpkin pie and anzac biscuits which we made for us last night. It was a really great experience, I feel like we came to Buenos Aires as tourists and left as visitors. I highly recommend getting involved if you are a travelling or if have a free couch and would like to make some friends form other countries.
As I write this we are on a train heading south to a town on the coast called Bahia Blanco. We’re not really sure what we will find there but it was recommended by Alejandro and is on our intended route inland to the Lakes Region near the Andes.
My favourite new things discovered:
CouchSurfing
Dulche de Leche (”Milk Jam” its like a milky caramel and goes with icecream, toast, anything really)
Fernet (An Italian herbal spirit popular in parts of Argentina, goes with Coke and lots of ice)
Yerba Mate (Sort of like tea, its drunk from a gourd pot through a filtering straw)

Buenos Aires was our first port of call in South America and we stumbled out of customs at 6pm with our packs on our backs and no idea where we’d be sleeping that night. With our very untested Spanish, a friendly Spanish speaking tourist and a helpful cab driver we managed to find ourselves in a backpackers an hour or so later. First impressions of Buenos Aires, in comparison with Australia, it is vast. The cab ride took us through 30km or so of apartments and buildings before we reached our hostel in the centre of the city. Inner Buenos Aires is blocks and blocks of building, packed solidly six or so stories high. There are not many skyscrapers but I was amazed by the sheer mass of “building”. Most of them are old, with facades ornately decorated with columns, carvings and gargoyles.

The next few days we spent walking the streets and visiting many of the amazing sites scattered all over the city. One of the things I noticed very early was the enourmous entrances on just about all of the old buildings, the height of which was far higher than I would be able to reach even with a jump. I was not able to find out the reason for this and can only assume that previous generations of Argentinos were of gigantic proportions.

The Tango is hugely popular. All over the city we saw street tango performances, tango bars, tango shows with dinner and advertisements for tango lessons. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to do any lessons.

The shopping oppurtunites were tremendous, with endless shops, street sellers selling stuff and markets. With our limited budget this was a very painful experience for Sophie. It was not easy for me either when we discovered an entire road full of second hand camera shops.

Also of note, dinning in Buenos Aires means Parilla, or barbeque. It seemed like every restaurant was one, each serving flame grilled huge steaks, sausages, entrails or a big pile of all of those. Luckily some of them also served pasta or pizza which were quite nice. Eating out was very affordable by Aussie standards, especially for the huge piles of meat, but not dirt cheap. What was dirt cheap though was alcohol. From the supermarket, local beers came in one litre bottles for the equivalent of about one US dollar. The wine is also really nice, but priced much closer to what we would pay in Australia.

For me though, the highlight of our trip so far has been the experience of meeting up and staying with our new friend Alejandro. This came about through the CouchSurfing website. It is a free online service that allows travellers, such as ourselves, to link up with locals who have a spare bed or couch that they are willing to share. The ultimate goal of the website is to promote cultural exchange. We were already very excited about the whole idea, but we had yet to see it work in practise. And so it was when we met up with Alejandro for coffee, and to sus each other out. Coincidentally he was as new to CouchSurfing as we were, but in the end we spent two nights with him, during which time he was unbelieavably kind and accomodating. He took time to show us around his neighbourhood, helped us out with problems we were having with our new phone line, gave us heaps of advice on where else we should visit and so much more. There was much sharing of stories, music recipes and youtube videos.

Unfortunately the most Australian meal we could think of was pumpkin pie and anzac biscuits which we made for us last night. It was a really great experience, I feel like we came to Buenos Aires as tourists and left as visitors. I highly recommend getting involved if you are a travelling or if have a free couch and would like to make some friends form other countries.

As I write this we are on a train heading south to a town on the coast called Bahia Blanco. We’re not really sure what we will find there but it was recommended by Alejandro and is on our intended route inland to the Lakes Region near the Andes.

My favourite new things discovered:

  • CouchSurfing
  • Dulche de Leche (”Milk Jam” its like a milky caramel and goes with icecream, toast, anything really)
  • Fernet (An Italian herbal spirit popular in parts of Argentina, goes with Coke and lots of ice)
  • Yerba Mate (Sort of like tea, its drunk from a gourd pot through a filtering straw)