Monthly Archives: September 2014

Back in Rio, via Buenos Aires

So I’m temporarily back in Rio de Janeiro for the next three weeks after three months of being away in Peru, as Natasha has some work in Brazil before we head to Belize.

We decided to take a trip to Buenos Aires on the way back from Cusco, because the cost of a flight with a layover there was not significantly more than a direct flight to Rio. So, yey, surprise Argentina visit. It also helped that one of Natasha’s uni friends was on a internship in the city, so we got to see her again while we were there.

    We took an hour long flight back to Lima, with just enough time for a quick lomo saltado and a pisco sour at the Bonbonniere restaurant conveniently right next to our gate, before taking the five hour flight to Buenos Aires. There was a slight incident with me accidentally overstaying my visa by 30 days (hint: tell immigration officials how long you want; don’t assume they’ll give you the full 183 days. I only got 60, but didn’t realise). The only issue was paying a $1 a day fine and nothing recorded in my passport.

    Sadly by the time we arrived in Buenos Aires, I had a migraine, so the Sunday night was spent with me sleeping. We decided to spend the Monday exploring the Recoleta area, where our hotel was based, and discovered that the English Tower is effectively closed to visitors, the railway museum is very disappointing and that Argentinian chefs won’t cook you a steak under medium rare.

    Tuesday was spent braving the cold for one of the Buenos Aires free walking tours and then a language exchange in the evening. We’ve become quite the fan of the free walking tours, as they can give you an excellent overview of the areas. We’ve done tours in São Paulo (two different tours), Cusco and now Buenos Aires. The language exchange was also a fun way to meet locals and chat, as well as practice your language skills. I’ve written about language exchanges before, when I was in Madrid.

    After resting on Wednesday, we spent Thursday trying out a local restaurant, the Buenos Aires zoo and a wine tasting event. The zoo was a little disappointing, run-down and small, with many of the larger animals looking bored and lonely. One of the few redeeming features was that they allowed you to buy bags and buckets of food to feed some of the animals, which you could either feed by rolling it down slides to their enclosures or by feeding directly out of your hands. The wine tasting was interesting, but it mostly just confirmed my suspicion that I’m not a massive fan of red wines, and they were mostly sampling various melbecs.

    Friday was another relaxing way, with a fancy steak dinner, with about 20 little pots of various sauces and side dishes to go with our meals and Saturday was spent going to the cinema and drinking in a craft beer pub with friends and catching a spectacular immersive dance performance.

    Sunday was the day of our flight, so we had lunch with Natasha’s friend and said good bye before finding the most amazing patisserie, with chocolate cake to die for, before exploring Recoleta cemetery, which is where Eva Peron, among other famous Argentinians, are buried. It’s a very surreal experience, walking amongst these huge opulent vaults, some in various states of disrepair, but many with glass doorways or windows, with coffins on display.

    Chocolate cake and irish coffee

    The journey back to Rio was long and tiring, with connections in Cordoba and in São Paulo. After about 90 minutes, we landed in Córdoba, which is not an airport you want to be stuck in for 6 hours over night. The airport is very small with very little facilities. São Paulo is much nicer (other than the hassle of having to transfer your luggage yourself from luggage reclaim to the transfer desks elsewhere in the terminal building. The couple of hours we had there gave me chance to practice some of my long-forgotten Portuguese, and attempting to reenable my Brazilian phone sim. Then finally, 13 hours after we left Buenos Aires, we finally landed in Rio.