Argentina: 15th – 27th February, 2013
The last blog about the trip will be a joint effort. It seems fitting and it is also essential because we were doing separate things most days.
Buenos Aires: 15th – 16th February, 2013
Chris: I was good to be back in Buenos Aires. We stayed in Palermo again, so the streets were familiar and it was a good feeling. On our first day back we went for a wander around the local area. It was hot and I discovered how tiring it can be to walk around on crutches. The arms are so used to being carried around all day, not doing the carrying around. This meant that I got tired and so started leaning on my sticks too much, applying pressure to the nerves under my arms and ending up with tingly/numb fingers! Back in the hostel it was time for a bit of internet research. A couple of useful articles and Youtube videos later and I was able to set my crutches to the correct height and knew the golden rule – don’t lean on them!!
We had a restaurant recommendation to check out so the helpful people in the hostel made us a reservation and we headed over to Green Bamboo, a Vietanmese restaurant. Funnily enough our table ended up being on the floor! The waitress was concerned that it would be a problem for me, but it turned out ok because it was easier to keep my leg straight slightly elevated – perfect! The food was tasty too.
Sarah: I’d never seen anyone sweat quite as much as Chris after crutching around the 5 block square area in Palermo in the 30 degree humidity going to the cash point and finding a laundrette. After that any group excursions were limited to a 2 block radius, or I did supply runs and Chris stayed in the hostel which was the prettiest hostel we’d stayed in, with plenty of floral, pink patterns and fun ornaments decorating the place- there was a fashion shoot going on one afternoon in the lobby.
Mar del Plata: 17th – 22nd February, 2013
Sarah: Mar del plata was a last minute addition instead of going to Uruguay as it was easier to get to and claimed to be a big surf spot in Argentina. The hostel owner in Trindade, Brasil gave us plenty of tips on where the best beaches were and what to do in the area as it was his home town. Unfortunately we’d already booked the surf lessons before Chris broke his foot but we were able to cancel Chris’ without having to pay anything! I was a bit nervous joining in the class on my own but the tutors Marco and Toby were very good and I met some friendly people in my class and got to practice my Spanish as well as surfing! The surf school was super professional with everyone in matching cocoa cola and ripcurk sponsored rash vests. We started each lesson with a run up and down the beach, group stretches and plenty of dry land paddling and pop-up practice. I will never be able to forget the drill words remando & arriba (paddling & up)!
We were lucky enough to have 2 amazing Norwegian ladies join us in our dorm at the surf hostel, who were doing surf lessons for a week before moving to New York for 3 months to attend dance school. We had a great time lounging on the beach in between surf classes and getting to know some of the other students in our class most of whom were from Argentina and were super happy to share their mate and local sweets with us, even if I did steal the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas)! I popped back to the hostel a few times during the days to see what Chris was up to. Luckily our 1 block radius had plenty of cafes and restaurants and shops so Chris could feed himself while I was down on the beach!
Chris: So way back in Colombia we met some Argentinians and I happened to mention that I was an F1 fan and that I hadn’t seen anything related to the five time world champion – Juan Manuel Fangio. Happily (as far as I was concerned) they were able to tell me that there was a museum dedicated to him in his home town of Balcarce, an hour and a half down the road from Mar del Plata and our true motive for going there.
During our stay in Mar del Plata we stayed in two different hostels and both did their utmost to ensure that my stay was a comfortable and easy as possible. The Che Legarto was amazing because it had a lift, so getting to our spacious first floor dorm. room was easy. Then for the second and third nights of our stay they moved us to a ground floor private room which was again spacious and comfortable. The reception area also had a lounge area that was comfortable and three computers that seemed moderen and worked well. I really enjoyed our stay there.
Getting to the Fangio museum involved a short taxi to the bus station, a bus and then another taxi in Balcarce. Easy, even on crutches. Having previously looked at the museum’s website I knew that there were a large number of cars on display, along with numerous other artifacts and trophies. There was also an English audio guide! Due to me being on crutches we started at the end of the dispaly on level 3 and made our way down towards the beginning so it was a little back to front chronologically, but it made it easier for me.
I really enjoyed the museum, there were lots of cars important to the history of Fangio and another couple important to the history of F1, (a Prost Renault and a Senna McLaren) the audio guide was informative and the shop was good too. We bought a Fangio Thermos flask and T-shirt! I was happy hopping around looking at the old cars and other interesting items. Sarah really enjoyed the chairs in the museum as they were comfy and it was pretty quiet, so she was able to catch up on a lot of reading while I was hopping around.
Buenos Aires: 23rd – 26th February, 2013
Sarah: I continued my girly days of Mar del plata spending time with Lucy and Anna from our hostel, rediscovering San Telmo and La Boca districts, enjoying sangria, tango performances and the blistering sun. I also got to meet up with some of the Argentinian gals from surf school as they had returned to BA after their surf holiday and felt a little bit like a local hanging out in Plaza Serrano, the Alto Palermo shopping centre and drinking mate in the hostel with our new friends!
Chris: So apart from going out to get food, I pretty much stayed on the couch in the hostel all day, every day. I developed a favourite spot that offered everything that I needed in terms of comfort and also a plug socket to allow me to plug in the laptop and surf the ‘net for most of the day. When I wasn’t surfing the ‘net I was reading, so it was a pretty tough routine.
Time to go home…
Sarah: Ending our journey in the city we started with great weather and lovely people was a perfect ending. The only downside was Chris’ lack of mobility, and despite the freezing weather waiting to greet us back in the UK we almost wished we were going back a few days earlier as the thought of re-acclimatising, moving back to London and getting ready for work in just 4 days felt daunting.
Chris: So the time had arrived where all that remained to do on our trip was to write a message on Facebook thanking everyone we had met for helping to make the trip amazing and telling everyone back home how much we were (or weren’t) looking forward to coming back, but were looking forward to seeing them again! That and get to the airport and catch our flight home. Getting to the airport was fine and when I got there I had arranged a wheel chair so we were able to jump the queue at security, but I had to be taken to a special X-ray machine where I stood on a conveyor belt and was moved through the machine to make sure that I wasn’t faking it and had something contraband hidden inside my cast! Thankfully they let me on the plane and we made it back to the cold, grey UK without too much discomfort. The in flight movie selection was good, so the time flew by (ha ha).
The trip was amazing. We met so many lovely people, had the chance to do so many fun (and at times crazy) activities, go to so many beautiful places and eat some lovely food. It was fantastic. It felt like how life should be lived.
Sarah and Chris: Travelling. We’d recommend it!