Sunday, July 12, 2009

Civilisation at last

So after a couple of weeks travelling through the countryside of Argentina, and with the exception of Cordoba, small towns, I was finally hitting the big smoke. Greater Buenos Aires has a population of about 13 million people. It feels like a big city the minute you get there. After about 18 hours on the bus from Puerto Iguazu (and 4 separate police checkpoints) we reached the massive Retiro bus station. It´s the biggest one in the country, and finding my way to the Subte station wasn´t quite as straightforward as I thought it would be. Still I got there, and caught the Subte (the local name for the metro system) to Palermo where I was to be staying until I headed south to Patagonia.

Palermo is one of the nicer parts of Buenos Aires. This is where much of the parklands, restaurants and shopping is, and it´s right next to Recoleta, which is where the rich live (and in some cases die and get buried in the famous Recoleta cemetery).

I didn´t have much planned for the days I was in Buenos Aires (I will return to the city for my flight back to Sydney, and spend some more days there then) so my time was spent wandering and getting to know the city.

Certain things you get to know pretty quickly, like - the pedestrian never has right of way. Ever. Drivers in Buenos Aires are some of the most aggressive drivers in the world. Don´t take them on. Trust me.

I visited the Recoleta Cemetery when I was in the area, with little idea of what to expect. The cemetery houses the ¨Who´s Who¨of Argentine history, presidents, rich people, president´s wives (Evita). Some of the family crypts are built as little temples (and some also not so little!) and the amount of money that must have gone into building them is astounding. It did make for some great photo opportunities though, despite it being just a little bit creepy.

After all that I felt like a steak, and I was certainly in the right city for it. There´s nothing better in Argentina than a decent steak, and in most places, it´s pretty easy to find. The choice cuts if you´re looking for a good steak are Bife de Chorizo or Bife de lomo. I´ve had both al punto (medium) and have not been disappointed yet. Here in Argentina (though less so in Buenos Aires) you can have a great steak, chance of salad or vegetables, but almost guaranteed to have potato, and wine for around $A15. It is important to specify how to cook the steak though - Argentine cooking tends more towards the well done end of the spectrum.

I also visited the wonderful Coleccion de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat in Puerto Madero which had a wonderful collection of Argentine and International art, mostly contemporary. I really enjoyed my wander through this museum.

But the best thing about Buenos Aires is just walking around and people watching. I´m really looking forward to returning there for the finale of this trip. Keep tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Claire, I do so enjoy reading this checking every day but you haven't kept it up. bye Dad