Though I love travelling alone – that never what actually ends up happening. You always meet people at the places you’re staying at and end up becoming the best of friends while you explore a new place together! And that’s exactly what happened this time as well.
Four of us (Jessica, Tanisha, Akanksha and I) went for the walking city tour. this was a “free” tour and we didn’t go with very high expectations. We thought it would finish in about 30-40 minutes as the guide would take short cuts but it ended up being over 4 hours and our guide was so energetic throughout we were very impressed. The tour ended at the Recolleta cemetery – by which time we were all “dead” tired! The cemetery houses the remains of the rich and famous of Argentina and is definitely worth a visit. It was the most unique cemetery I had ever seen! It’s a maze to walk through and makes you wonder about who these people were before they ended up in this one of a kind cemetery.
Tip : If you’re at the cemetery and you’re super hungry after your meeting with the spirits, there’s a café right across the road. It’s bright pink and will be hard to miss! They have wifi, some of the servers can be speak English and they have good food! Triple win!
On day 2, the four musketeers headed to Tigre. Its about and hour and a half from Buenos Aires. You can either take the train (you will need to change lines at Retiro) or you can take the longer route via the bus which I’ve heard can be quite scenic! We decided to take the train. After getting on the wrong train and getting lost for a few hours we finally reached Tigre. Its an amazing place to walk around and has an entire row of shacks and restaurants to eat at next to the river. We decided to splash out a little extra for lunch today and ended up going to a really nice restaurant by the water. We sat, ate, laughed and watched boats go by. It’s such a great feeling when you instantly get along with people you’ve just met! Its adds so much to the experience you have in a particular place and somehow I’ve always been more or less lucky along that front. After lunch we decided to take a boat ride. There are many islands along the way but only residents are allowed to get off – not tourists. Out of the 900 or so houses most of them are given on rent to people and a minority of them actually have permanent residents. These were some of the nicest houses I had ever seen! Every house had its own personality and was even more interesting than the previous one. It reminded me of the time I spent in the Backwaters in Kerala.
This is exactly the kind of stuff that I LOVE doing during trips – Observing and absorbing the culture and identity of a place. As much as I love diving deep into problems and finding their solutions and getting my hands dirty, there’s another side to me which likes to be the observer and this trip allowed that side to come out!
On day 3 I met Kunal! We would be travelling together to Antarctica for the expedition. We decided to rent cycles for the day and explore the city on wheels! Our 2 hour plan extended to 8.5 hours. Yes – we cycled for eight and a half hours and it was such a great experience. I’m sure its great to see the city on the guided city cycle tours but its even better to see the city at your own pace, specially when you get lost like we did. We cycled along the coast and in the narrow streets of the city. We stopped for pictures and snacks and finally returned back to the hostel in the evening! Tired but full of stories to tell the rest.
Day 4 :
Sunday! The day we had all been waiting for! The day was finally here!! Day one of the expedition. We got to meet all the other participants – 80 people form 32 different countries! But before that we had something else on the agenda! The San Telmo Sunday street market! The best street market in the city! And it was happening just a few blocks from our hostel! The entire hostel was up bright and early ready to go. The market had hundreds of peoples and shops. Colorful and bright local art works, paintings, pictures. Handmade jewellery , food and so full of life! I could have spent hours just walking through but since we had to get going we had our last meal with Jessica and said our Goodbyes!
Finally it was time – we had all been preparing for this day and everyone had worked so hard to get here! Antarctica here we come!!!!