18 June 2010

My Travel Journal - Buenos Aires

I've been meaning to post my notes on my recent trip to Buenos Aires for a while now (I was awarded the trip from work, and went with a group of staff and their partners). They are brief, but go with my facebook photos nicely.

Thursday 20th May
Flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires, 6:30pm. Airline generally bad – rundown look about seats etc. Air Hostesses more like guards – lucky to get fed!
Plane seats were in this formation mostly: (window) two seats, aisle, four seats, aisle, two seats (window). Rob and I had a seat of two seats both ways, which was great.
No real in-flight entertainment – a couple of screens did show our flight plan, and a couple of movies (which were dubbed to Spanish, with no English subtitles. One was ‘Avatar’).
I didn’t sleep much at all on way over.

Landed 5pm, Thursday 20th. Bus took us to the Plaza Marriott hotel in the Retiro neighbourhood (big for leather goods, and near shopping). We checked in, then all Colliers staff and partners met for cocktails at one of the hotel’s bars at 7pm (keeping in mind I am running on little sleep and it's approx 10am in Auckland - great time for Vodka hehe).
All rookies on the trip (first-timers) were then invited out to dinner at a grill/streak house called ‘Las Navarenas’. Locals eat late (after 9am, and tend to head to work at 10am). Always start with complimentary baskets of bread/crackers. Tried my first Empanada (yummy meat pies that are look like turn-over pastries), and steak (HUGE!). Rob and I left around 11pm, as I was exhausted!

Friday 21st May
Breakfast at the hotel (great buffet: pastries, hot food including a chef to make you an omelette to order, fruits, yoghurt, bread, cheese, meat etc).
Brief wander around the local shops. Hotel is super close to Florida Avenue, which is lined with shops.
Half-day tour at 10am – small cost, but only our staff on two buses. Mostly driving, with a couple of stops. Drive past Plaza de Mayo (famous square, with government buildings around it, including Casa Rosa – the Pink House), 9 de Julio Avenue (widest Avenue in the world, also home to the Obelisk), Recoleta Cemetery (stop to see Eva Peron’s tomb), La Boca (with a stop at its famous Caminito Street).

Staff group dinner at ‘La Estancia’. Dinner and a tango show until midnight.

Saturday 22nd May
Took a van with a four or so other staff couples to a leather outlet store. Rob bought a leather jacket and shoes. I bought a pair of green leather ankle boots. While waiting for the van to take us back, we played foosball in the back court yard of the building with one of the shop's staff/owners (he was VERY competitive!).

Back to the hotel for a brief coffee break, then more shopping down Florida Street. Lunch at Galleria Pacifico (fancy shopping mall – shops too expensive).

Back to hotel around 5pm, then off to dinner at ‘Broccolino’ (just the two of us). Great Italian food.

Sunday 23rd May8:25am – Staff “conference” breakfast (aka informal gathering to allow tax benefits).
9:10am – Partners joined us for breakfast.
10:15am – Full day Gaucho Fiesta tour. Rob and I were the only staff to go on it, and the only non-Spanish speakers in the tour van (made us feel like a hassle, but oh well).
We made our first stop in the San Telmo neighbourhood to spend ½ hour at the famous Sunday markets (antiques and flea market).

Then on to Santa Susana, in the district of Campana. 1200 hectare farm, originally started by an Irish Argentine. Homestead and Chapel (now a museum of how they lived 200? years ago), horses, park, and main tourist centre.
Big dinner for all the different tour groups (more grill), dancing/music/tango show, then outside for a horse show. There were two different horse shows: Tropilla – mixed and matched horse herds (gauchos herds them), and Carreras de Sortijas - ring race (Gauchos on back of horses race towards/under arch, from which hangs small rings. They hold a small stick between their teeth and have to get the stick through the ring to pull the ring off. The ring is then given to the girl they want to marry). You'll be happy to know I was given a ring by one of the Gauchos.

Started to rain! It ended up pouring by the time we were back into the tour van to head back to the city by 6pm.
I went for a walk by myself and got soaked (also tried a McPollo – McChicken. Not as yummy as in NZ).

Monday 24th May
9:15am – Half day Tigre (river) tour. Bus through the suburbs of Vicente Lopez, Olivos (where the President’s residence is), to Maipu train station for a scenic ride to San Isidro. There we had ½ hour of so look at the shops, Cathedral (neo-gothic), and flea markets (where I found this jewellery stall that I WISH I had bought more from. I bought myself a ring and bracelet).
Back in the bus (which met us there) through San Fernando to Tigre. From Tigre we got on a tour boat (with many other tourists) for an hour cruise of the Parana River Delta. Awesome sights – no roads on the delta (all houses use river/boat access).
Back home along the Panamericana Highway.

I went for a wander alone (browsing shops), then back to hotel where the pair of us went to ‘Las Nazarenas’ for dinner (again). Around 10:20pm we walked to 9 de Julio Avenue for some of the bicentennial celebrations (which had been going on for the last few days – 25th May is a public holiday to celebrate independence). We went to the Obelisk (big concert going on around it, along with fireworks), and past the Colon Theatre, which was having its grand re-opening – exclusive inside, but all opera/ballet etc, going on inside was played live on big screens outside. Home around midnight.

Tuesday 25th May
Checked out at noon, and moved our luggage into one of four rooms work kept for us to share. Walked to MNBA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (the National Fine Art Museum). Stopped at a flea market along the way. Spent the morning browsing the gallery (first floor has international artists, including pieces by Monet, Picasso, Pollack, Modigliani... Second floor is Argentinean or South American works). Lunch at the gallery restaurant.

Back to the hotel to sort ourselves out for the flight (shower, hotel bar of drinks, dinner). Then a bus came to take us to the airport at 10:30pm for our 2:15am flight. BA departure lounge – lots of duty free stores.

Rob and I got a two seater again (I had the window seat this time). We were served dinner at 3am-ish, then I slept (thank you sleeping pills!). Breakfast served around 2 hrs before landing. In-flight service just as crappy (no movies etc).

Thursday 27th May
Landed back in Auckland at 7:30am (13-14 hr flight).


All in all I (we) had a fabulous time. It was a long way to go for 5 days however - I really wish I could've afforded to stay a little longer (though, time of work etc would've been more of an issue, esp for Rob).
BA is a wonderful city, and I really hope I get to go back and travel to all the places in that neck of the woods that I didn't get to see this time.


  1. You had an excellent trip!!!
    Im going to Argentina next week, and Im planning my schedule.
    I´ve looked for apartment rental in Buenos Aires, but dont know where yet!.
    I wanna go to the MNBA..do you remember the addres ? or how to get there??

  2. I am *so* sorry - I only just saw this comment. I don't know what has happened to my alerts. I hope you found MNBA and had a great time in BA?!