South America Day 9 - Tigre Delta

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.

South America Day 8 – Colonia

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.

South America Day 7

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

South America Day 6

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.

South America Day 5a

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 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

South America Day 5

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!

South America Day 3

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.

South America Day 2

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.

South America Day 1

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.

South America

It's only a few days now to our trip to Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro we leave on Thursday and get there for Friday morning. Then the WFH Congress starts on the Saturday and finishes on the following Thursday. Then the real fun starts. We do a few excursions from Buenos Aires before heading off for a couple of days to Iguazu Falls which I believe is spectacular. From there we head to Rio de Janeiro for a few more excursions and relaxing days by the pool and the beach. Of course its winter time there and although it will be fine in Iguazu and Rio, Buenos Aires will be a different matter. None the less we'll have a great time, can't wait for it now.