We decided to splurge and book our overnight flight to Buenos Aires as Delta One tickets. There are some nice perks with that. Easy drop off of checked luggage and access to the Delta lounge while you wait. The seats lie totally flat for the overnight flight. Maybe we will be able to sleep, we thought. Not so much as it turns out. But we made it, having left Minneapolis at 3:00pm on Tuesday we arrived at 9 something the next morning in BA. An hour to get through customs and an hour to get downtown in a cab, It was pouring rain, the hotel lobby was packed with people waiting to leave on their Viking cruise. And our room was not ready, to be fair checkin was not until 3, and we were not the only tired travelers arriving on an overnight flight.
We had booked a bike tour to keep us going in the afternoon, but that was cancelled due to the rain. So we hung out in the lobby, watched some soccer, and had a light lunch waiting for our room or for our friends Ann and Jerry to arrive.
The highlight of that first day was the dinner experience we booked at Fogon. Everything is cooked with the highly elaborate Argentine grill called a perilla. There are 9 courses on the menu, but the 2 surprise courses brought the number to 11.
The chefs were all very friendly and very entertaining. The food was absolutely delicious and a celebration of being a wine loving carnivore.
Our dinner didn’t start until 7:30 which is very early for the Argentines, and it ended sometime after 10 when most of them are just getting started. We were glad to get back to the hotel and put our overstuffed bodies to bed for the night. We had an all day tour of the city booked for the morning beginning at 9:30. Note that Buenos Aires is 3 hours ahead of Minneapolis so we were not too jet lagged, but still quite sleep deprived.
The tour of BA was fabulous, our tour guide’s name was Fabio and he was both knowledgeable and an excellent story teller. We had lots of questions and he seemed to really thrive on our back and forth. Our first stop of the day was at the government center. It was a big day/weekend as they were inaugurating a new mayor as well as a new president. Our impression was that this new president was going to be a trump-like disaster for Argentina, but it seems most people remain hopeful, that he will be an influence for change but moderated by the legislature that he must work with. Democracy in Argentina over the years has not been easy with many coups and rebellions. I won’t try to recap it all in this post, but I feel compelled to re-watch Evita with a new perspective. We did see the balcony that Eva Peron and Madonna both used.
Speaking of Evita our second stop was at the cemetery where she is interred. Her mausoleum is one of the most visited places in the city. This cemetery is just amazing as everyone is in some kind of crypt or mausoleum. When a family buys a place there they own it forever, but if they stop maintaining the site then it begins to decay. So we saw many amazing graves and many that had been grand years ago that were now full of spider webs and weeds. It was like a small town all to itself with streets and avenues going all over.
Having had our fill of beef the night before we politely asked Fabio for a different option for lunch. He pulled through and brought us to a small family run place that made killer empanadas. By this time it was well after 1 and we didn’t finish lunch until 3. We still had one more stop on our tour!
The highlight of the final stop was a drive by of the stadium where the Boca Juniors play. The club of Maradonna! The blue and yellow colors of the teem seemed oddly familiar to me, and I’ll tell you why. It seems that there were two teams in the city with the same colors, and they had a match to see who could keep the current colors, the loser would have to choose new colors. The Bocas lost, and the owners declared that they would adopt the colors of the next ship to dock in the harbor. That ship turned out to be flying the Swedish flag!
It was 5pm by the time we arrived back at the hotel. We were going to have dinner, and then take in a Tango show which didn’t start until 10! On top of that our bus to the airport for our charter flight to Ushuaia was going to be leaving between 4:30 and 5:00 AM the next morning!! Sound a little crazy? Well, we made it through, and are enjoying a couple of down days on the journey to Antarctica to catch up on sleep. More on that in the next post.
The dinner was pretty forgettable, and 3 out of 4 of us enjoyed the Tango show. OK, the music was good, I just have never learned to appreciate dance. For me the show could have ended after an hour but it kept going for another 40 minutes with various flourishes and bows and a dramatic rendition of “Don’t cry for me Argentina” to wrap up the show. It was after midnight by the time we walked back to our hotel, and yes, the alarm needed to be set for 4:15AM. There will be time to sleep later.