A gang of us went to the WFH conference in Buenos Aires in July 2010, given we were going such a long way we decided to make a holiday of it and visited Buenos Aires, Colonia in Uruguay, the Iguazy Falls on the Argentine and Brazilian border and Rio de Janeiro. Needless to say we had a great time and details of our trip can be seen on this blog. Sharon and myself took a fair bit of video and it's only now I've got around to doing anything with it. Something to do on these wintry days. I've created the first video of the Buenos Aires part of the trip the rest will follow soon. So here it is.
We had a great time in South America and took a whole lot of photos so you can see some of the theme here (click on the link):
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Tigre Delta, Argentina
- Colonia, Uruguay
- Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
- Corcovado, Brazil
- Sugar Loaf, Brazil
- Others from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I hope you enjoy let me know through the comments.
Our final day and coming home. We have a good day here in Rio as we are being picked up at 4.30pm for the flight home. As usual the last day like this is a lot of waiting around and really you want to get going. The morning starts of wet and we think that a lot of the waiting will be indoors but as the morning moves on it gets much nicer and we have a pleasant day.
Off to the airport and Rio International isn't much to write home about, poor shopping and no restaurants. But eventually we board for the 9 hour flight home to Madrid and then on to Dublin.
With an hour to go to landing there's time to reflect on what was a great trip. The things that made it great? Well the good company of friends, great destinations, tours, accommodations, places to see and eat and drink. Nuevo Mundo arranged some excellent tours for us and some really good accommodation, so thank you!
What were the highlights and the bests?
Best accommodation: The Porto Bay International Rio was a good hotel in Rio, good location on the beach and friendly staff but the best was the Duque Boutique Hotel Buenos Aires. It's a small hotel with 14 rooms which are very well appointed although not huge. It has a lovely small lounge with a TV and a laptop with free Internet and WIFI throughout the hotel. Nice breakfast room. But the staff are exceptional. They are all young, cheerful, friendly and very helpful. So thank you to Eva, Flor, Facundo and the others.
Best breakfasts: The Porto Bay Rio had great breakfasts, loads of variety, great muesli, fruit, bread, juices etc and it really got you off to a great start to the day.
Best meal: Some great meals in Buenos Aires like the Don Julio in Palermo but just pipping it was probably the Cabana Las Lilas at the port where the steaks were excellent.
Best tour: This is where it gets hard to pick. We had some great guides in Valeria, Lourdes and Luis who made the trips all that more enjoyable. So again well done to Nuevo Mundo. Each trip had something different to offer but I suppose for the scenery, pure power and majesty of it all it has to be Iguazu Falls even with the poor weather.
Best scenes: It's hard to beat Rio for it's scenery. It's a lovely city with many contradictions like the difference between the rich and the poor and how it feels during the day and night. Views at and from the Corcovado and the Sugar Loaf are magnificent and the weather always helps enormously.
Finally having good friends and company really makes the difference in enjoying a trip like this. Thank you to you all. It's just a great pity that some had to drop out, we missed you Carmel and Ursula. Others didn't make it this trip either like Margaret, Jim, Anne, Tracey and Garth to name a few hopefully next time.
Bye bye South America until we meet again.
Last night we went to the Samba show at the Famous Plataforma. I had read that the show was a typical tourist attraction and partly because it was poorly attended last night it was, as one of the group said, a bit like the Irish dancing shows in Juries Hotel. Purely for the tourist and not of much substance. The costumes were colourful the acrobatics were good and one of the dancers was very good but overall a bit disappointing and not as good as the Tango night in BA which had much more to offer. A pity but I suppose everything can't be perfect. Afterwards we sat at one of the beachside bars and and a few drinks. An interesting incident somewhat sums up Rio and Copacabana. As we had just come back from the Samba club and I had my camera with me I wasn't going to bother putting it up in the room but just take it with me to the bar. But as I was leaving the hotel one of the hefty doormen looked concerned went back into the hotel and the concierge came out in a sort of panic and told me not secure to go out with camera and said he would hold it for me at the hotel counter. It reinforces the tension that one feels once it gets dark you never feel quite safe which is a great pity for such a beautiful city. It makes me appreciate more what we have at home but also in Marbella Spain where we feel safe to walk the streets even late at night and with the children.
Today we decided to head to Ipanema to see what it is like there. It is definitely a much nicer town with good shopping and little parks and a lovely lake. But it's also more expensive. There is not much difference between the beaches though. In fact the beach life is quite amazing. Different parts of the beaches have different crowds: teenagers, families, gays, etc. But they all have very good facilities. There are little bars every 50 meters or so. You don't need to bring anything with you as you can get your chairs, umbrellas, drinks there on the beach. There are volley ball, net ball, beach soccer-volley courts, outdoor gyms, cycle and running paths, free WIFI and of course the sea, beautiful beaches and beautiful people. A real paradise during daylight hours and a contrast to how it feels at night.
Tonight we have to pick a restaurant for our last holiday meal, that should be interesting.
We selected a Spanish Restaurant called Shirley. When we arrived we had to wait, it was a bit small, expensive, specialises in fish, and looked to be on a dodgy street so we decided to seek out a food bar friends had eaten at nearby. On the way we came across a lovely restaurant called Galleria 1618 set up in 2006 by two French ex-pats. And what a surprise it turned out to be. It has a lovely atmosphere, well decorated, friendly staff and the food was great. But the best part was the 4 piece Brazilian band, Furia Gitana (Passion Gypsie). Guitar, violin, a percussion and a singer. They are absolutely fantastic playing a mixture of Brazilian/Spanish music. Very similar to the Gypsy Kings in fact playing much of their hits. They are brilliant musicians with great voices. A fantastic last night to a great holiday.
In addition a Brazilian girl named Louisa and related to one of the band members says hello and asks where we are from. When we say Dublin she tells us she has been living in Dublin 3 The North Strand for the last two years with her Irish boyfriend whom she met in a bar on Copacabana. She's a lovely girl and great fun.
Tomorrow we head home with a late evening flight and we are looking forward to seeing the girls.
Today starts the lazy part of the holiday no tours it's now 10.45 and we've just finished breakfast and we are lounging by the poolside on the roof of our hotel. It's well into the 20s and due to be 32c today. By this time yesterday we had already finished the Sugar Loaf. No plans for the day but we may head to the beaches or down to see Ipanema who knows? The only plan is the Samba Show tonight and an Italian meal before hand.
Up early again for our second trip in Rio and the weather is brilliant again just perfect for our trip up the Sugar Loaf that overlooks the bay and its entry. Luis explains the origin of the name. When it was first named sugar cane was boiled and would solidify in a conical bowl. When the sugar was removed from the bowl it naturally took on the shape of the bowl and the mountain looks exactly like this shape hence the name. As we are there early we are on the first cable car of the day. There are two stages to the trip the first stage is to a mountain about half the size of the Sugar Loaf itself. Here there are shops, restaurants and of course great views. This is also right on the flight path to the domestic airport. In fact as the planes turn in towards the airport the are actually level or below you. After a look around and some information from Luis we head to the second cable car to the Sugar Loaf.
There is another platform area with shops and coffee areas though not as big as the first stop off. The views are naturally spectacular especially with the weather being so good and clear. From here we can see all around the bay, downtown and over the mountains behind Copacabana that would obscure our view from anywhere else of our beach. I don't like to keep using the word spectacular but it all is. Luis brings our attention to a family of tiny monkeys which I think he called Star Faced monkeys.
Our next stop is the Maracana soccer stadium which held the world cup final in 1950 and will again host it in 2014. When it was built originally it held 200,000 people but now due to FIFA regulations about all stadiums being fully seated its capacity is now 120,000 still very impressive. Luis arranges for tickets for four of the gang to go to a match here tonight.
The final two stops on our trip are the carnival stadium and the cathedral. Rio of course is famous for it's carnival held every year at the start of Lent. It lasts for nearly a week and everything closes down, including shops, banks the civil device etc. We are shown the main strip where the carnival passes judges and the stadium that holds over 80,000 people that view the procession. It's now coming up to midday and the heat is searing, it's hard to imagine how hot it feels during the summer.
Our last stop is the cathedral which is a modern building built in 1970 and is another fantastic sight. It is built like a bee hive. The walls are built with open squares which allows hot air to rise and cool air to circulate below. At the compass points north, south, east and west are exquisite huge stain glass windows that rise from above the entries to the top of the of the cathedral.
That completes the tour and we are brought to a restaurant for lunch but Ann and Mary decide to try the hang-gliding and Luis brings them to this. After a bit of lunch and some shopping we siesta before heading out for dinner while the 4 head off to their football match.
That finishes our tours although we considered some other options but in the end we decided that we would just go to a samba show tomorrow night and chill out and enjoy the hotel pool and beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
View of Copacabana from Sugar Loaf.
Up early for breakfast and Luis is ready for the 8 of us. Because the weather is so good with no clouds we decide to go to Corcovado and the Statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Rio from one of the surrounding mountains. It's over 700 meters high and the statue is 39 meters itself. The statue is reached by a train that takes 20 minutes to reach the summit. Luckily we arrive early before the crowds but even so Luis gets us to the top of the queue and onto the train first to get the best seats.
The views around Rio from the statue are fantastic. You can see the mountains that surround Rio, the bay, the flavelas (shanty towns where the very poor live), the beaches and of course the magnificent statue of Christ. We have loads of time to see the sights and get our photos. On our way down we see the large crowds that are now heading up to the attraction, aren't we lucky we headed off early.
For the rest of the tour we are taken to see the beaches of Rio. At the first hang gliders take off from the local peak and land on the beach and it looks very exhilarating with a few of the group tempted to do it over the next few days.
We head to Ipanema beach and this is a beautiful area and we have a big lunch which finishes our trip. The rest of the evening the group breaks up to do their own things before dinner. We spend some time on our roof top pool with great views over Copacabana.
Today we leave Argentina and our tour of Iguazu continues on the Brazilian side of the Falls. Weather wise our luck has changed its very wet and when we are half way round the heavens open. The plastic ponchos save most of us but our legs and feet are soaked. But as Valerie our guide in BA pointed out we are in a sub tropical rain forest and we can expect a little rain now and again. The views from here are further away from the falls but give a more panoramic view. From here we can see all the walks we took on the Argentine side and a great view of the Falls. Our guide here, Philipe, says that on the Argentinian side you are part of the Falls but from the Brazilian side you can see the panorama and immense power of the Falls and he is right. We get to the little airport in Iguazu Foz (the Brazilian side) early and change our trousers and socks and wait for our flight to Rio and hopefully much better weather we wait in anticipation!!
As we come to land in Rio the sun is setting over the city, it is beautiful and oh the lovely heat here. Luis our guide here we can already tell is going to be excellent. He is fun and very knowledgable and gives us some tips and information on the city. We book into our hotel on Copacabana beach and after a quick clean up we head around the block to a Lebanese restaurant where we have a mountain of great food. No late night drinks tonight as we are up for 8 am. Luis suggests the early start to avoid the queues for our first trip to Christ the Redeemer statute, as it's the winter break here too. A really great start to our first day in Rio!
See the photos here: Iguazu Falls Photos
We thought we would have to be up this morning at 7.30am for our trip but because we had booked a private trip we were picked up at 9am instead, just bliss! We were also lucky with the weather as although it was forecast for rain it held off. It was cloudy and overcast and not so good for photos but at least it wasn't lashing like when we arrived yesterday.
After arriving at the Iguazu National Park we were taken by a train to our first stop, from there is was a 1.2 km walk to the Devils Throat. This is right at the top of the fall looking right down into the gushing water as it falls over the edge. There are walkways that take you right to the edge of the waterfall and to say it was spectacular is an understatement. It was a bit packed as yesterday was the start of the winter break for two weeks when the schools are off. But it was well worth it. The views over the waterfall are amazing and how they manage to build the walkways and platforms that are right on the edge of the waterfall is quite a feat.
We take the train back again and head for our second walk called the upper walk this is about half way up the waterfalls. Again about another 1km walk to the falls. There are over two hundred falls in total on the Agrentinian side of the river. The falls are on the Iguazu river and the border between Brazil and Argentina runs along the river. Further down the Iguazu joins the Paranha River overwhich we have a view from our hotel window and over this river is Paraguay.
Our final walk, the lower circuit is about 1.3km (in total we walk just over 6 km). From the lower circuit you can see from near the bottom of the waterfalls and the power of the water is apparent and truly amazing to see. From each corner the views just kept getting better and better until eventually you arrive at a platform that is virtually in the waterfall itself. For the very adventurist it is possible to get on a speed boat that holds about 30 people and ride straight under the falls itself but the closest we got to this is taking video of the mad ones doing it. It was a great trip and we are now knackered after all the walking. So a little shower and siesta is called for before happy hour at 6pm and heading off to dinner in the town. Tomorrow we see the falls from the Brazilian side and take our flight to Rio around 4pm.
See the photos here: Iguazu Falls Photos
Well today we said good bye to Buenos Aires but spent most of the day traveling. Not that Iguazu is that far away about 1hr and 40 minutes flying but we were delayed. We arrived at our hotel eventually about 7pm so after a quick shower we headed out for a meal in the town. We are told there are about 50,000 inhabitants and tourism is the main industry. We have a day long trip tomorrow with a 7 km walk around the falls. Luckily it's a private tour and we will be able to go at our own pace.
The meal we had was lovely and only about €24 each so great value the restaurant was called Aqua on Cordoba Street. The staff were very nice including Jorge the owner from Rosario a city just north of BA.
See the photos here: Iguazu Falls Photos
Well today is our last full day here in Buenos Aires and although still cold the weather is beautiful. We are up early as today we have a tour to the Tigre Delta. Valerie and Hecter pick us up and we start off. The first part of our trip is a coastal train drive. We see the beautiful houses in the posh areas of town and the beaches along the Rio de la Plata.
We arrive at the Tigre Delta and see the local market where the locally made arts, crafts, furniture and general groceries are sold. This is a beautiful market at a port along the river and we see the "supermarket" boats load up with produce that they deliver to houses that live in the delta, as these houses are only serviced by water and have no roads.
Next we are taken along to our boat which is beautiful and well furbished. Our captain Ricardo takes us for an hours trip around the delta which is amazing. The delta is made up of thousands of tiny islands on which are built houses where people live. Every house has it's own jetty and boat for transport. There is even a school and the children are taken to scholl by boat from their houses. Those that want provisions leave an empty bay or bottles on the jetty and the "supermarket" boat calls and sells them their groceries. The population of those living in the delta is over 3000 although during the summer over 100000 can be based around the area. After the trip we are driven home.
See the photos here: Tigre Delta Photos.
Ger, Sharon and myself have a fab lunch in a local restaurant called 1810 which is only two blocks from the hotel and we head off to Murillo Street ot the leather shops where Ger buys himself a lovely jacket. Then it's home for a rest and to start packing. Tonight we have a Tange show in San Telmo. This was a great night. It started with a fine meal and a show. The Tango was amazing but there was also other cultural aspects including a Gaucho who did a fabulous dance with boleros which was fantastic to see. There was also great local music. Another great success!
Some photos here.
For all those working at the Congress today is really the start of their holiday, they have been kept very busy at the centre sometimes well into the evenings. The 5 of them had an early start as they are transferred down to join us in our hotel. Now the whole group of 8 of us are all together in the one place at last. The 3 of us already here have an easy morning as the group is picked up at 11am by our tour guide to head for the port for our trip to Colonia. It's just under an hours trip by boat across Rio de la Plato to Uruguay to Colonia del Sacramento to give it it's full name and which was formerly a Portuguese colony. It is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of 25,000
It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site where we have a lovely meal while listening to a local sing and play his guitar. His name is Jorge Schmidt and is very good and today he sells a few of his CDs.
The city is in complete contrast to Buenos Aires which is a huge city as opposed to the small rural setting of Colonia. Our tour takes us out into the country side where we are taken to a farm and a small winery. The farmer has a most unusual museum as he is in the Guinness book of records for his collections of pencils and key rings from all around the world. He also has a small marmalade factory a little cafe and a small collection of really old cars. Off we go to the winery, really just a big barn where they make wine and grappa. We are given a quick tour and tasting of the wine and grappa by one of the owners a lovely local women. They are of Italian extraction and they have been making wine here for 4 generations.
We take a drive along the riverside beaches and see a lovely sunset. Then it's back to the historical centre which is beautiful. There is evidence of the conflicts between Spain and Portugal who invaded it but it eventually returned to Spain. We have some nice tapas before heading back on the boat.
We get back to the hotel for 10.15pm but a few of us find a little bar 3 doors away from the hotel that has a jazz session with a quartet called the Sophie Lussi Trio, one of them must have been a guest!! We also got a bite of food and a couple of drinks. This turned out to get a great end to the evening. Overall we had a marvellous day and night. Up again early in the morning for our next trip.
You can see the photographs here.
Today is another quiet day, it's the last day at the congress and the closing Gala dinner is tonight in the Sheraton Hotel Buenos Aires and we will all be dickied up and it should be a good night. So today we might just head down to the main tourist street Florida and have a look around there. Pat, Ger and Kieran are taking a bus tour around the city and we will see them later. The next two days should be intersting, tomorrow we go for a whole day trip to Colonia in Uruguay which is supposed to be lovely. Then on Friday we do a river trip up the Tigre delta and that night we head off to a Tango show. On Saturday we fly to Iguazu Falls where it should be warmer and I believe the views of the falls are spectacular so that should be a good two days. So we may as well take it easy today as we have a hectic four or five days coming up.
Off to the closing ball in the Sheraton
The cultural evening last night was very good. Plenty of food, drink and an excellent show of traditional Argentinian dance including Tango but also dances from around the rest of the country. I must say it was very enjoyable. Afterwards we headed off to a local cafe for a few drinks and a couple of nibbles we couldn't face another steak. Well not until tonight anyway! So we were back home early enough and had a bit of a lie on this morning.
Today we have decided to have a look around our own locality here in Palermo but it's bloody cold again the guy here in the hotel tells us it might snow on Friday!! Just our luck it's only snowed twice here 2007 and 1910 and we had to be here for the third!
Anyway Sharon got some shopping done and bought herself a new leather jacket and great prices. We then walked around and had a look at the area which is very nice. Not much else happened today except we went out for a meal in another local restaurant which was very nice though lacked a bit of atmosphere.
Hi girls I hope you are all doing well, we are having a great time here its great to have friends with us here but its bloody cold its the middle of their winter. The guy in the hotel says it might snow on friday and the last time it snowed here was 2007 and 1910 just our luck. But we are still enjoying it. Next week it will be much hotter in Rio.
Bye for now love you all DADxxx
Hi girls, having a great time and of course missing all my georgeous daughters. Have ur photos with me to remember u. We are heading out now to do a little shopping I hope. We saw where Eva Peron (Evita) buried, amazing all these huge statues and mauseliums. I am very cold I should have brought my gloves and hat. may buy one today. Eimear I am glad u are having such a good holiday and u Roisin, wouldn't want u to waste ur credit txtin me u little wagon.love u any way.
Eimear, tks for all the txts, hope ur credit lasts. I am getting all ur txts but somethimes if i am in a restaurant I don't check my phone also no need to send to both me and dad as that cost you twice.
Ais and Sinead hope ur feeding yourselves properly and hope all is well at home. Love u all. mam x x x x
We rise early today as it's the day for the accompanying persons tour of BA. K has a spare ticket so I decide to track along with Sharon (thanks Ursula!). However some of us are feeling a bit delicate (those after dinner shots are to be avoided!).
I haven't mentioned much about our hotel, it's a small boutique hotel in Palmero which is a leafy residential area of BA. There are only about 12 rooms and the staff are extremely nice and helpful. The rooms are a nice size and well decorated and looked after well. There is a small lounge area and breakfast area where we get well fed to start the day off.
Today is much colder so fortunately we are in a closed couch for the tour which keeps us warm. We are brought again to Recoletta and the cemetery, but this time we have a guide. We stop at Mayo Square where the guide explains the importance of the Square and then we head to La Boca. We first see the stadium of La Boca Juniors which is a famous soccer football ground. La Boca is one of the poorest areas of BA, the original houses were for the poor imigrants who made their homes from materials that came from the ships, typically corregated iron and were painted with the paints that were available on the ships which meant they were painted in bright colours and they have maintained the tradition. One block is maintained as an open air museum which we walked around and it was truly amazing and the best place we've seen so far.
Next off to a famous Tango club where we have lunch and them home again. We have a little time for a siesta before heading off to tonight's cultural event at the congress. It will be interesting to see what that is, no more ballet I hope!
Day 4 and it's Sunday. We had a good nights sleep and feel fully refreshed. It's overcast and a bit cold and it's the first day of the congress but we decide to skip and head to San Telmo. Every Sunday there is a famous Market here so we decide to take the metro and walk to see what San Telmo is like. Below Sharon checks her email in the hotel lounge area.
We head off to San Telmo and take our second journey on the metro which is only 25c each. We arrive at the Pink Palace (the Presidential and Government Office) on Mayo Square the most important place in all of Argentina, and we head for Dorrego Square where the San Telmo antique and art market is held. We stroll down Defensa which is about 10 blocks long and lined with stalls selling jewellery, scarfs, hats, and other tit tat. Sharon buys a few nice presents but the rain begins to fall and the stalls are being covered. We buy a cheap umbrella and keep heading for the square where we are to meet K. We arrive and head for the cover of the Bar Dorrego where K is to meet us. We eventually get seats and a text to say that K is staying put in the dry at the congress. After our refreshments we head out into the square and thankfully the weather has improved. We get our first encounter with Tango where a distinguished old gent is dancing with nice young girls he plucks from the crowd, then every so often shows us how its done with his equally elegant and elderly lady partner. The stalls mostly consist of old pieces of small antiques but really don't interest us, but I'm sure dad would have liked the watches.
The final is due to start soon so be begin to head home taking in a few of the boutiques and shops along Defensa Street. A quick taxi ride to the hotel a fast change of clothes and we head to the congress centre to see the match with the rest of the crowd. There is a small Spanish group with their flags we join them. It wasn't a great match but I don't think I've ever see so many missed opportunities in one game. We all celebrate with the Spanish and afterwards head off across town to eat. Six of us on the metro again and a bit of a walk to where we agree to meet. On Florida Street the main shopping street in BA and we encounter our first (and hopefully only brush with pick pokets) we are sprayed with something white resembling bird pooh and two "helpful locals" offer us paper towels and water to wipe us down. Fonrtunately I begin to suss what's happening and in any event I have moeny and valuables in zipped pokets inside other pockets and we get away safely.
We find a packed restaurant that we reckon looks good and get sitting for all 15 of us. Although it is out on the terrace but they fortunately have heaters. We have some fab steaks and good wine and are well looked after, and it was very reasonable for a top quality meal. Its now time to find our ways home.
Pat digs into a huge steak!
Last night we ate in a lovely Argentinian restaurant Don Julio on Guatemala street, which is only 3 blocks away from our hotel. It came highly recommended by Peter Cunningham from the Irish Times and it was not disappointing. It is a lovely airy restaurant with high ceilings and an internal balcony. The steaks are cooked on a Parillas (a grill over coals). Javier one of the waiters has great english and was very friendly and showed and explained the different cuts of beef to us. We got there about 9pm and got a good table but by 10pm the place was buzzing with locals coming to eat. It was great to see some families there with young children and even the odd baby or two. It must save them a fortune on baby sitters! At home it's nearly illegal to take kids with you to a restaurant or bar late at night. Any way we had a lovely meal and drink in a great atmosphere. At the end we were asked to write some comments and sign our bottle of wine which was hung up on the walls around the restaurant with hundreds of other bottles. I expect we will be back before we leave!
Today the congress starts so in the morning we registered and then 4 of us, G, K Sharon and myself head off for some sight seeing. We decide to head for Roceleta a very plush and historical neighbourhood where the famous cemetery is based. It contains very ostentatious mausoleums made from marble and materials imported from Europe. It is divided into streets with trees and mausoleums which when entered contains the family coffins. These tombs can also go deep down underground for one or two floors. Eva Peron and Admiral William Brown the Irish man who established the Argentinian navy are buried here. It was a very interesting visit and after a somewhat dodgy mixed grill lunch we head back to our hotel to catch the end of the Germany and Uruguay third place match in the world cup.
Above the Argentinian flag flying outside the congress centre and Sharon saying hello.
We then head off to the opening ceremony of the congress for 6pm. The star of the ceremony is Maximiliano Guerra one of the best ballet dancers in the world who was born in Buenos Aires in 1967. His show consists of ballet (but not quite as we know it) and Tango. Not my cup of tea although the Tango was the better part. None the less I think I would have preferred to see Maradonna dance around the side of the pitch at the World Cup! The rest of the evening is spent meeting old friends from Haemophilia groups and centres around the world, with wine and finger food. But the jet lag appears to be hitting in and we decide to head home for a drink at the hotel and early bed.
It's day 2 but our first full day in Buenos Aires. Everyting goes well in the airport all the luggage arrives!! A good start to any holiday and our taxi driver is waiting for us. It's a bank holiday here, Independence Day so the traffic is grand. We arrive at our hotel just after 10.00am and the staff are very nice and our room is ready. They invite us to have breakfast which we do to start the day off. We then head off by taxi to meet the gang for 11.30, we hope to do a bus tour of the city to get to know our way around. But have a hard time finding where to get the bus, we get a couple of glimpses of what looks like a tour bus and head off in pursuit. After walking around the main street, Av 9 de Julio (todays date in fact) which is so wide we reckon O'Connell street could fit across it, there are 21 lanes of traffic a large pedestrian way in the middle and two on either side. We do eventually come across a tourist information kiosk but we are told the bus tour is too busy today, so we decide to head to the new Puerto Madero instead, which is lovely. We have a few drinks and some lunch "tapas style". A few of us then head up to the Pink Palace (Government Buildings) and Plaza de Mayo and have a look where Eva Peron addressed the crowd from the balcony window. It's now after 6pm, we've been walking around since 11.30 and we decide to take the Metro home to our hotel with K. A short rest and we will then head out for a bite to eat at a local Argentinian restaurant, Don Julio where we hear the steaks are majic. Let you know tomorrow.
It was a lovely sunny day and not too cold so fine for walking around but expecting it to be about 3 degrees tonight.
Well day 1 is nearly over and we haven't even arrived yet. By the time the time the flight lands we will have been traveling 24 hours from the time we left home, though some others in the group will be well into their second day as they have travelled up from other parts of the country. As usual although we are nearest the airport we are the last to arrive.
So off to Madrid which is very overcast but matters very little as we have 6 hours to spend in the airport. Some airport it is though, two new beautiful terminals with plenty of shops and bars to while away the time.
Then finally it's time to board our flight just after midnight for our 12 hour flight to Buenos Aires. We arrive bright and early in BA at 9am travel weary but ready for our adventure.
Photo of us waiting in airport in Madrid.