A Travellerspoint blog

Uruguay

Montivideo and Colonia

sunny 30 °C

This is just going to be a small post, because Urguay is, umm, small! Tiny, the size of a 5 cent peice.
I just popped over for a quick visit of four days, taking in Montevedio, the capital, and Colonia, a really sweet little port town.
I caught the ferry from Buenos Airies with my new friend, Anya, a German girl I met in the hostel. After landing in Colonia we caught a bus to Montivideo to spend a couple of nights there. Montivideo is like Buenos Aire´s poor cousin. It´s ok, quite picturesque in parts with a couple of beaches that the locals like to hang out on, but really, they weren´t very nice. On our second night we did stumble upon a free concert in a square in the old city which was kinda fun. They seemed to be quite well known, some old dudes with some funny choreography and typical South American sounding tunes. We listened to them whilst we shared a huge plate of postre (dessert). There was some pretty good sweets going on in Uruguay, I have to admit!
Colonia was a much prettier place. Very cute, cobblestones streets and colourful houses, everything was tiny. You could walk the entire town in about an hour if you really wanted to, but we took a couple of hours exploring little alleyways and trying to take postcard worthy photos!
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George Bush was in Uruguay when I was there. He is not a very popular man in South America. These types of signs were everywhere - it basically means Get Out Bush!
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The old city at night, Montivideo
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Alley of Sighs in Colonia
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Colonia at night

Posted by zedgee 10:47 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

Iguazu Falls

sunny 35 °C

I can only imagine that the first people to lay eyes on this place must have thought they had wandered into some sort never never land. Massive waterfalls surrounded by lush rain forest, mists of water rising creating huge rainbows and thousands of beautiful, colourful butterflies.
Iguazu falls is a pretty jaw dropping experience. They are absolutely huge, thundering spectactularily over the rocks into the river below. These are some seriously noisy (and tall, 80 metres in fact!) waterfalls!
There are two sides, one in Argentina and one in Brazil. I visited both sides and this was the place that I crossed over into Brazil for the next chapter of my South American journey.
The Argentinian side is where you can get up close and personal with the falls (all 275 of ´em!!), and the Brazilian side is where you get the grand overview. Most people enjoy the Argentinian side more, but I have to say that I am a bigger fan of the Brazilian side - far less people and I think seeing the falls on the larger scale was much more impressive. Oh, and there are some creatures running around that looked eerily similiar to R.O.U.S´s (Rodents of Unsusual Size, for those not familiar with The Princess Bride!!)
Although, there are far more butterflies on the Argentinian side. I have to say it was quite an experience to have 20 or so butterflies drinking water off me after I had been sprayed by the falls. I felt extremely popular!
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Me and the Falls on the Argentinian side

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Me and the Falls on the Brazilian side

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R.O.U.S´s

Posted by zedgee 10:29 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

Buenos Aires

Football, tango, steak, ice cream and dulce de leche...

sunny 30 °C

...these are a few of my favourite things about Buenos Aires. And that's just skimming the surface. I am totally in love with this city. I've never felt this way before. I might even go as far as saying that I think Buenos Aires is THE ONE! I've seriously been thinking about chucking in the rest of my trip and staying here for the rest of my time...life!
I have had so much fun in this awesome city. It's like being in Europe but with that distinct Latin American flavour. In fact, they say that Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America. Paris, Schmaris, give me BA anytime!
The first week here I stayed in hostel in the city called Portal Del Sur. It was a really cool place with a roof top bar and there was a great bunch of people staying there. Every night we would head up to the bar, have a few beers and then head out for dinner at around 11. Then head to a nightclub for some dancin' (we went to a club one night called Opera Bay, it looks like the Opera House!!)and roll on back to the hostel at around 6am. We were like the united nations, everyone was from different countires and got on really well. I can't help but think that backpackers should rule the world...ok, so probably nothing would get done, but I think the world would still be a better place!
After five really fun days together our little group started to break up as one after another moved on to other place. I decided to move on the another hostel then, a quiter one called Sandanzas in San Telmo, one of the older parts of the city, so that I could concentrate on learning Spanish. Which is not going as well I would like. My dreams of being able to speak spanish are slowly starting to fade as I realise that I am seriouldy crapola at learning languages, something I suspected before and have now confirmed! Thinking about just adding an o or a to the end of words and just hoping for the best! No, I am getting a little better, can at least understand mostly what is being said to me, although they speak so damn fast here I am constantly saying "despacio, por favor" (slowly, please). Just can't actually say anything back to them yet! My poor little brain is not coping with the fact that a table is feminine (a table is table!!), not to mention that fact that not only do I have to learn a whole new vocabularly, but also, most of the words change depending on who you are talking about! It's all very confusing! And if one more person says to me "by the time you leave South America, you will speak really good spanish" I am going to hit them!
As for the afore mentioned favourite things...
Let me start with the football. I went to see a Boca Jnrs (one of the most popular teams in Argentina) game at Boca stadium. It was their first home game of the season so the fans were pretty pumped. I have never seen anything like it. The fans sang, chanted and danced the entire way through the game. I had no idea what they were singing, but I made up my own words and sang right along with them! The atmosphere was just amazing, out of this world, they are so passionate about this game and their team!
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Tango. Is huge in Buenos Aires. Everyone is doing it. The tango festival was on last week and there was lots of dancing all of the city. I've taken a few classes and it's a really, really cool dance. I even bought some tango shoes. (Couldn't help myself, lets face it, it was going to happen at some point along the trip!)
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Tango at Plaza Derrego, San Telmo

Steak. Bife de lomo. Amazing. I don't know what they are feeding their cows over here, but the meat here is unreal! And so cheap! You can get a really good steak for around 12-16 pesos ($5-8 aus) Am definitly getting my daily dose of iron! Oh, and the vino tinto (red wine) is just as good and just as cheap.
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Ronan and I decided to order two huge steaks and share them...so believe it or not, but I had a plate full of steak just as big!

Ice cream. Otherwise known as Helado. Yum. They sell it by the kilo and I've taken to buying 1/4 kilo cups. It´s more economical.
Dulce de Leche. A really yummy caramel spread. Have it every morning for breakfast on my bread rolls and pastries. And is also one of my favourite ice cream flavours. Hmmm, between the ice cream, the dulce de leche, the pastries, and not to mention all the beer, I may come back twice the girl I was!

This is just a glimpse of what I have I been seeing and doing in BA...I coud go on and on, but I dont want to bore you!
Some piccies:

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They had a mini carnaval in BA...nothing like the Rio one I´m sure but fun all the same. Everyone runs around with cans of shaving foam type stuff spraying each other. I got totally attacked, not sure why, but every little evil child there was spraying me...I had my own can though so I got the little creatures back! It was lots of fun.
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The gang at Portal Del Sur on the roof top bar.

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Recoleta Cemetary. Basically a mini city of dead people! This is where you will find the remains of Argentina´s rich and famous. All of the mausoleums are three stories underground. Two of them belonging to very wealthy families are even big enough for the families to hold mass in. Crazy! Oh and kinda freaky is there are lots of cats hanging around...

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The colourful houses in La Boca. This is a very poor and supposedly dangerous area of BA, it´s made very clear that you should not go here at night.

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They are mad about Che in Argentina!

Posted by zedgee 04:56 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

Villa Gessel

weekend at the beach...

sunny 25 °C

I went to the beach at the weekend. To a little place called Villa Gessel on the atlantic coast. I headed out with my amigos Meg and Edwin. Meg is a writer/master storyteller from Oregan, USA and all round cool chic. Edwin is from Holland, studying Spanish in Beunos Aires and all round cool bloke. Meg was heading south, Edwin wanted a weekend at the beach and I just wanted to see something of Argentina besides BA!
We had a five hour bus journey down there Friday afternoon, which seems rather short in comparison to some of the epic bus trips I have taken so far! We arrived early evening, checked into our hotel and headed straight out for an early dinner, and by early I mean 9pm! We found a little restaurant called Zutra for dinner. After noticing some rather interesting art work on the walls we realised there was a distinct Karma Sutra theme going on! After some good wine, good conversation and a whole lotta food we headed back to the hotel for some sleep in anticipation of our big day at the beach.
We awoke to a beautiful day and headed straight to the beach. The beach was not fantastic, at least not compared to the beaches at home, but still, it was nice to be on the sand and in the sun! Edwin and Meg denied my offers of sunscreen and both were sunburnt at the end off the day. I was a little smug with my non sunburned skin!
After a little siesta (at 9!) we ventured out for food, vino and more great conversation (think I already mentioned that Meg is a master storyteller!!) We called an early night at around 1pm and headed back to the hotel to sleep. We had planned on going out to see the Villa Gessel nightlife, but we weren't up for it after all that sun!
Here's where the story gets interesting. And as Meg would say "let me break it down for ya..."

1am we go to sleep
4:45am I am woken by the sound of something being dragged on the floor. In my just woken state I think it is Meg dragging her backpack outside. Then I hear Edwin call out "hello, hello". I look over and he is sitting up in bed. Next thing he has shot out of bed towards the door. I quickly get up and find Edwin standing at the door (in his underwear!), Meg's backpack at his feet. I'm starting to realise that someone had come into our room to try and steal Megs backpack!
4:46am Meg has awoken at this point and we are just looking at each other in shock. Edwin drags Meg's backpack back in to the room and we sit on our beds, heads in our hands, in disbelief at what had just happened!
4:47am Edwin starts to explain what happened. He woke from the light coming from the open door and saw someone standing in the middle of the room. At first he thinks it is Meg, but when the guy starts dragging the backpack out he gets a view of Megs bed and sees that she's still in it. He calls out, chases the guy, the guy drops the bag and bolts off. This is the point that I woke up. Meg, who had previously been lamenting the weight of her backpack, is now very glad that she overpacked! Personally, I pity the poor sucker who tries to run off with mine in the middle of the night!
4:49am We sit around going over the event. Meg asks questions, ''what did he look like?'' Edwin answers ''like a normal guy, wearing a grey top, grey pants, got a really good look at him, actually he was kinda cute!''
4:50am We discover the robbers shoes at the door along with Edwins. It appears he had intended to swap his for Edwins. Edwin is not suprised, they are pretty cool shoes after all!
4:52am We discuss whether we should wake up the owners of the hotel and call the police but we're thinking that since nothing was taken and he was long gone that there wouldn't really be any point. Then we start thinking we should take a really good look to make sure nothing actually was taken. That's when Edwin realises his two mobile phones are gone, taken straight from the bedside table not even a metre from his head! He didn't take his watch though which was right next to the phones. We'd already decided the robber was not that bright so we're not suprised by this.
4:55am We go downstairs to wake the owners to tell them what has gone down. This is quite a task. The story has to be gone over and over, they come upstairs to check out the room, then we go back downstairs, go over the story some more and then some more, and then some more...luckily Meg speaks pretty good spanish. Otherwise it would have been some game of charades. Five words, first word, two syllables, sounds like...
5:45am We go to the police station. Which turns out to be about 100 metres away! We have to wait for the police officer in charge to wake up (he´s having a snooze out the back!) before a report can be done. The report takes all of five mintures whilst he fills in his template. He really doesn't seem to give a toss that a guy had broken into our room whilst we were in it and it's obvious no further action will be taken. We're very sorry to have woken him.
6:50 am Back in our room we go over the events again. I think we're still all in a bit of shock, completely stunned that someone would would be so brazen. "How rude!'' I think is the exact term that Edwin used! The room that we were staying in was tiny, not enough room to swing a cat in, which means that when the man was in our room he was never more than a couple of metres away from anyone of us. This thought makes Meg and I feel sick.
7am We go to sleep finally....
When we finally get out of bed having caught up on our interrupted sleep, it was raining and it becomes apparent that our romantic idea of a weekend at the beach has not turned out so great! Whilst waiting for the bus back to Buenos Aires Edwin starts singing, " We gotta get out of this place" I couldn't have agreed more...

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Edwin and Meg
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The three of us, our last day together as Meg is going south and Edwin and I back to BA.

Posted by zedgee 13:51 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

El Calafate

sunny 22 °C

After three weeks in Chile, it was time to head into Argentina. First port of call is a little place called El Calafate, famous for it´s very active glacier. The glacier is 5kms wide, 60 meters about water and moves 2 meters every day causing large peices of ice to come crashing down into the lake. Pretty awesome sight.
We were only here for a couple nights, there´s not much else to do in this little town besides the glacier. We had our first Argentinian steak - it was huge and very, very good.
Zac and I parted ways here. He left to see more mountains, lakes and glacier before heading south for his Antarctic trip. I headed north for the big smoke, Buenos Aires.

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Posted by zedgee 10:12 Archived in Argentina Comments (2)

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