Buenos Aires - Ah, Where Do I Start?!
By Georgia Wilson
Last updated: 5th December 2014
“It’s so full of life!”
The culture is exciting, eclectic, creative, passionate and most importantly friendly and you can walk around the city for days and constantly be surprised every corner you turn.
I absolutely loved my Introduction to Argentina. It was my first stop on my first trip to South America (last continent ticked off now wooo!) and it was wonderful. Here are a few of my highlights:
Being the typical Brit I expected my limited knowledge of GCSE Spanish to be enough to get me by, assuming, of course, all I really needed to know was ‘vino blanco por favour’… Oh how naive!
After arriving effortlessly at the hostel, thanks to the transfer organised for me as part of the ‘Introduction to Buenos Aires’, and conversing in English with all of the wonderful and helpful staff at the front desks, it was only when I ventured out onto the buzzing streets of Buenos Aires that I realised… They. Do. Not. Speak. English. And not only do they not speak English, everyone also speaks Spanish reaaallllllyyy fast!! Why didn’t I pay attention to the daily reminders I got from my ‘Duo Lingo’ app?! – Note to future travellers – do not ignore those daily reminders, they’re annoying but essential!
Thank god as part of the intro week I had, Spanish lessons started the next day (and 2 hours every day for the rest of the week). Yes, the Spanglish/Charades game can cease!
After a few days of lessons, practising in taxis and conversing with myself in the shower, I was soon at a level where I could comfortably hold my own in a simple (very simple!) conversation. The lessons I think were vital and I met so many people at the beginning of their South American journey who were also taking advantage of the cheap one-on-one lessons provided at the hostel.
The hostel was quite simply, bloody awesome.
As soon as you arrive, you know it’s a really cool place to be, (I felt about 4 times cooler just being there). There is a huge board in the entrance that advertises all the awesome activities going on all week, which hostel the party is at each night and which nightclub everyone goes to after.
My favourite thing about the hostel is that it’s impossible to be anti-social. It’s almost as if the main job for the staff is to ENSURE you are having a good time.
There is no WiFi in the rooms – WHAT?! How am I supposed to recover in my bed watching Netflix when I’m hung-over without WiFi? However, much to my initial discontent, it actually ended up being such a good thing, because those who needed their Facebook fix, or just couldn’t wait to shove a filter onto that really arty photo of graffiti, HAD to go downstairs and subsequently – socialise!
I met some wonderful people, from all over the world. The best thing about backpacking is the variety of ages, backgrounds, interests, personalities and nationalities of the new friends that you meet. Thanks to the wonderful world of social media you never feel like you’re really saying goodbye.
When I was first booking the trip, I wasn’t sure if a week was too long to spend in a city. I’ve been on city breaks before, Rome perhaps being my favourite, and am generally content with just spending a few days exploring.
I am so pleased I made the decision to spend the whole week there! The city is MASSIVE with so much to see and as I mentioned at the beginning, every corner you turn there is something new and exciting.
The daily activities I did were:
Tuesday – Walking tour of La Boca.
Awesome part of the city right down in the south. It’s the old city, where the first ships from Spain docked and settled. Known for its colourful buildings with lots of rustic character.
Wednesday – Graffiti tour around Palermo.
This is the north of the city and the some-what ‘trendy’ part of town. I really enjoyed this, as not only did it show you some exquisite pieces scattered around the city, it also was very informative about the political turmoil the country has evolved from and how the expressions of public art work were often the voices of the socially downtrodden.
Thursday – City Bike Tour around Recoletta.
This was another part of the town we hadn’t yet explored (told you it was massive) and doing it by bike was fantastic. Please note travellers, you should make sure that you are competent on a bike before embarking on this particular adventure.
My reasoning of ‘just like riding a bike init!’ after not riding since I was about 10, in which I’m pretty sure I still had my stabilisers on, resulted in two pretty serious falls, grazed knees and elbows and some angry Argentineans. SORRY my spatial awareness and balance is that of a 2 year old!
Anyway – a must do for all of you trained on bikes without stabilisers.
Two falls will not stop me from proving to the world of Facebook that I did in fact have a fantastic time and am basically a pro BMXer…
Sunday – Football Match.
Great I’m hungover and have to go to a football match.
I’m not the biggest football fan, but my boyfriend was absolutely desperate to go. We were lucky enough to see a Riverplate game (one of the biggest teams in Buenos Aires)
I ended up actually really enjoying it as the atmosphere was completely electric and the passion and tension almost tangible.
As well as all these awesome things to do during the day, we also had so much to do at night too! (Beware… sleep is a thing of the past).
Night time activities:
Monday – Party at hostel – night club tickets
Tuesday– Party at hostel – night club tickets
Wednesday– Party at hostel – night club tickets
Thursday – Party at hostel – night club tickets
Friday – Party at hostel – night club tickets
Yes guys, every night there is a party. Not always at our hostel, there was a partner hostel down the road which shared the load. You get 3 night club tickets as part of the package in which you can choose the night you redeem them.
The clubs were awesome – loads of people from the hostel go to them so you’re always around mates.
Additionally, you get:
Tango night – Dinner, drinks, show AND Tango lesson. Safe to say Strictly needs to watch out. (Not my boyfriend – he was rubbish!)
Rooftop BBQ – Free food, music and fresh air with your hostel buddies. So. Much. Food.
Well, I think I have rattled on quite long enough about the week I spent in BA!
I hope I have managed to get across just how cool the city is and whether you’re having a huge South American Journey or just an adventure holiday for a few weeks like me, you must make this fantastic city one of your stops.
Now I believe I need a well-deserved holiday to get over my manic week!