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Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 315-319 – Argentina – Buenos Aires – Part 4

We took the next day off from the group, pottering around shipping a parcel of no-longer-needed stuff back to the UK and wandering around the shopping districts of the city. In the evening we joined Ursula, Maria, Mazzie, Andrew, Alex, Kim and Nic at the Plaza Astoria for another round of glorious food. I can confirm that the steak was just as good the second time though for entertainment value Alex stole the show with his neatly sliced nose-to-tail half roast baby suckling pig.

We joined many of the troops for a visit to La Boca the next day – a colourful district that houses the Boca Junior stadium I’d visited earlier in the week. It wasn’t quite as enigmatic as I’d hoped and was very much a tourist spot for the sake of being a tourist spot but it was still a nice day out with everyone. That evening we hit the pub with many of the same faces as well as Jakub (Australia) & Rebecca (Australia). I spent most of the night watching Jakub work; he has quite a unique take on life and people. Exploring his thoughts and approach to life was genuinely interesting – though that applies to near enough everyone we met on the trip. Jakub stands out with a kind of unashamedly pragmatic angle on things – at odds with most people’s need for right & wrong. A ruthless charmer or interesting devil’s advocate character on the night, I don’t know, but it was cool to take a look at things from a different angle.

I did awake with a hangover and a distinct desire to do very little the next day and with the weather in support of my proposal (i.e. crap) I took up residence on the couch, convinced Andrew to stay another night, and together we watched the Hearts (his team) vs. Liverpool game and then El Classico (Real vs. Barca for the uninitiated). That night was an all-you-can-eat BBQ hosted by the hostel which proved great.

With the weather returning we decided to join a free walking tour the next morning with Andrew and Alex where we also met Laura. It was time for Andrew to finally say goodbye when the tour had finished as he was heading north. The remaining four of us trotted off to one of Argentina’s most famous coffee houses for lunch – Cafe Tortoni. While the coffee was great and the decor classic and opulent the food was really poor for somewhere with its reputation. We decided to go snap the interior of the Teatre Colon (Buenos Aires foremost theatre) but were thwarted by rehearsals – you can’t win ‘em all. We returned to the hostel and decided to chill out for the remainder of the day, grabbing some pasta from the spectacular pizzeria next door, watching telly and later embarking upon a few late night beers with Alex, Alla and Jake before hitting the hay.

For our final day in Buenos Aires we got up and got out to get some final snaps of the city, covering the Plaza De Mayo, Obelisco and Congress under the brilliant blue sky that had chosen to join us for the morning. We then took the opportunity to meet with Ariel one last time. He had planned a route along the Avenida Corrientes, the Broadway of BA, for a special kind of tour – a pizza tour! Interspersed between all the theatres are pizzerias that have been servicing the pre-post-and-any-other-time-around-the-show punters for many, many years and we bounced from one to the next with Ariel recommending a slice in each that we wolfed down. By the time we’d finished we’d hardly scratched the surface of the many eateries that were available but we were full to bursting and so decided to go for a stroll to walk it off.

Ariel took us to an ‘Eco-Reserve’ – an area of the city that had been successfully saved from the claws of property developers on account of the species of wildlife that take up home there. It’s a very natural and in fairness not particularly spectacular by any means but many people jog, cycle and walk around the reserve to get away from the city streets. On our way back we called in at a Shopping Mall where Ariel decided it was time for dessert and ordered a bucket of various ice creams – we were not allowed to leave without sampling this side of Buenos Aires. We surprised ourselves and the bucket was soon empty and thus it was time to say a sad goodbye to our dear friend Ariel who’d shown us his city in style.

We returned to the hostel, sorted our stuff, said our goodbyes to those travellers whose BA time was not yet over and made our way to the bus station for an 18 hour overnight royal class (we had standards now) bus to Puerto Iguazu; jump off point for one of the world’s great waterfalls.