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11 Days in Sucre – From Quad Biking to Spanish School

11 Days in Sucre – From Quad Biking to Spanish School

We started our almost two weeks in Sucre at Hostal CasArte, but at NZ$45 per night, we decided to move to a cheaper option for the remaining week – La Dolce Vita had private double rooms with ensuite for only NZ$33 per night, and was closer to the plaza, and only 2 blocks from the central market.

Outdoor kitchen at Hostal CasArte
Hostal CasArte – view from our balcony at the front of our room. Typical white-washed Sucre!

We decided it was time for a bit of fun, so booked in for a quad bike tour with Off Road Bolivia. These guys were totally proffesional from start to finish, and the gear + bikes in great condition. We were the only two booked onto the tour, so for 500BOB each (around NZ$100pp) we set off on our private guided half day tour. Having never riden a quad before (only two-wheelers) Marcelo, our guide, made sure I was comfortable before we set off. We both completed some “skills training” – riding around a small paddock, over uneven ground, on an angle, and practicing gears and braking. It was a lot different to a two wheeler! Having such heavy steering, and no clutch to squeeze in, as well as 4 big wheels to worry about rather than two skinny ones, I started to wonder what I’d got myself into. We moved off to another training area, where we could get a bit more speed up.

Our tour took us through the hillside in Sucre, past small villages and along dirt roads. There were some tricky sections up rutted hills, but for the most part it was quite enjoyable – apart from my thumb being so sore it stopped working! WHY don’t they make twist-accelerators on quads?!? We did take a Go-Pro video of the whole experience, but with only a tablet it’s too hard to edit at this stage!

Tough biker kids
JUMP! Marcelo kept telling us “be careful of your knees” – yeah I feel em!
Admiring the view

The following week we headed back to school, feeling like we’d not actually learnt much more Spanish, it was time for a bit of help from the experts. We chose Sucre Spanish school on calle Calvo as someone we’d met at a hostel was also attending lessons there. Being at different levels, we had to go our seperate ways, and had private lessons for 40BOB per hour. Not the cheapest, but we both feel like we learnt a lot and improved our Spanish with 4 hours of lessons each day over the week. The first day was hard – my tutor spoke to me in only Spanish for 4 hours straight – something I now think is an excellent idea as I was forced to converse back in Spanish – I got my money’s worth. Darryl’s tutor skipped the really basic stuff like numbers, as he already had a bit of a grasp on these, and taught him how to conjugate verbs in the present amongst other things. Being tired from all of our lessons, and having plenty of “tarea” to do, we didn’t do much else apart from become regulars at the Condor Cafe – an excellent vegetarian cafe offering a daily menu for between 20-30BOB.

 

On Top of the World in Potosi

On Top of the World in Potosi

Officially the 2nd highest city in the world (inhabited by more than 100,000 people) Potosi sits at a cool 4060m above sea level, and if the stunning view of the city from your hostel terrace isn’t enough to take your breath away, the lack of oxygen will.

We arrived early on a Sunday evening – not the best idea for any Andean or South American town, as everything is usually closed. We did manage to find a pizza shop open, and had some fairly decent pizza (albeit with tinned mushrooms… blegh) while huffing and puffing around the narrow streets.

Most of our short time in Potosi was spent wandering the streets, and again, eating. It’s here that we were introduced to the Bolivian way with “menu del dia”. Basically, the small local cafe/restaurants put a whiteboard/chalkboard menu on the street, and that is what is on offer for the day (there is no “carta”). Our first experience set the bar pretty darn high, at only 18BOB for a 3 course menu, including a salad bar, we soon found it hard to top with most decent menu’s being around 20-25.

While in Potosi we chose not to do a mining tour to Cerro Rico, already struggling with the lack of oxygen we decided being down a dark, dusty, oxygen-lacking hole may not be the best idea. And it is an active mine, so perhaps not the safest idea. Instead we chose to go to the National Mint Museum – you must do a tour but it’s only 40 per person and was really informative (they have English, Spanish and French tours too). The pictures below explain it all!

First stop on the tour – an mini art gallery, and a mini history lesson
Silver coins from the Potosi mines
One of the many displays
Mules were used to power the machines above – they worked long hours and usually only lived up to 3 years old.
Wall of scales
A very complicated lock box!
In the smelting room
Cobbled paths and stone buildings of the Potosi Mint
Beautiful Bolivianite (Ametrine)
Check out the size comparison – that’s a big rock!
Displays of all sorts of minerals and rocks found in the local mines. Lots of pyrite to be found!
Panorama shot from the terrace of our hostel – Overlooking Potosi (Cerro Rico is on the left)
Argentina Life – 10 Things To Know

Argentina Life – 10 Things To Know

1. You cannot flush loo paper. Almost ever. A lot of the time there is a sign saying “Por favor, el papel en el cesto” or “No tirar el papel en el inodoro”, but if there isn’t, and there is a bin next to the loo, then you can guarantee you’re not supposed to flush the paper.

2. Returnable beer bottles. Going to the supermarket to buy beer, you spy a great deal – 35 pesos for a litre bottle, “I’ll get two” you think. Ah, but this could go either way. The first time we purchased beer in Argentina, a nice lady who spoke some English helped to translate the cashiers repeated demands – “You should bring the bottles back so you get the cost of the bottle back” which is around 9-12 pesos depending on where you are shopping. Ok, so the next day we took the bottles back – no refund. Strange, but whatever. These types of scenarios continued, mostly we had to pay for the bottle, and never bothered taking them back. However upon trying to purchase beer in Salta, we were simply denied. Being told that we must have bottles to swap. Others from our hostel had the same issue, and were equally as confused. A mystery we’ll never solve!

3. You can buy empanadas anywhere. From fancy restaurant, to person wheeling a poly-bin through a market, they are everywhere. The ones we have had were mostly good, some even better than the humble Kiwi mince pie!

4. Mate. A tea, a religion (or so it would appear). Almost everyone has a cup in hand, and it’s a necessity to carry around a flask of hot water for top ups. We’ve seen it being drunk everywhere from hostels and streets, to busses and even by tour guides while they’re walking around the city.

5. Bread, bread, and more pan. In our 3 weeks in Argentina, we had bread almost every single day. If you go to a cafe or restaurant, you get free bread. For breakfast, there’s a choice of bread, bread, sweet bread (ok, cakes or the likes) or cornflakes covered in sugar.

6. Dulce de leche – for the above mentioned bread, sometimes the only option at breakfast time. Mmmmm caramel for breakfast you say? Give it 3 weeks and you’ll be googling recipes for peanut butter!

7. Bus travel is better than flying. Yes Argentinean busses are expensive, but their seats are 10x more comfortable than any airline seat we’ve ever sat in. We haven’t yet come across a bus that serves wine (they apparently do exist) and the one meal we had was only just edible, but pack a picnic and snuggle into your giant leather armchair – remembering to bring extra clothes or a blanket as it probably will get cold.

8. Weigh your fruit and vege, before you get to the supermarket. We discovered this when the cashier started speaking very quickly, looking annoyed, and repeating “pesar” – to weigh. In most supermarkets, the fruit and vege section has a weigh station – and it’s for the customer! Go figure…

9. White lines on the road? Looks like a pedestrian crossing, but don’t be fooled into thinking anyone is going to stop for you! The way to cross the road – a well timed, semi sprint between lights. Cars have the right of way, always.

10. Argentina is expensive! We were surprised to find groceries were almost the same price as back home, accommodation was going to cost us between NZ$50-60 per night (double room) and bus travel cost us around NZ$10 per hour. We still managed to stick mostly to our NZ$100 per day budget (for 2 people) but for the most part, we cooked at the hostels, and sought out the “menu del dia” if we did go out.

Argentina – Bolivia Border Crossing & 4 Days in Tupiza

Argentina – Bolivia Border Crossing & 4 Days in Tupiza

We decided to leave late at night from Salta, and arrive at the border bright and early to have the best chances of avoiding the crowds and getting a bus to Tupiza, our first stop in Bolivia. The bus journey went well and we even managed a few hours of sleep as we wound our way up through northern Argentina in darkness.

Having never “done” a land-border crossing before, we were a little worried about how it all worked. Would it be similiar to an airport, with x-ray machines and loads of security? Would we need to pay a bribe? The answer is no – in fact, if you wanted you could simply waltz on into Bolivia (well it certainly looked that way!). It all seemed too easy…

Accompanied by two dogs, who followed us all the way from the Argentine side to the bus terminal in Bolivia (around 45 minutes walk) and two other travellers from our bus, we walked up to the first window on the right, and handed our passports over to the officer. 30 seconds passed – stamp. Check. We were had officially exited Argentina. We headed for the next window – entry into Bolivia. The only question we were asked – how long will you be in Bolivia? We answered around 3 weeks, which seemed to be enough information for the officer as he stamped each of our passports and we were on our way. The whole process took less than 10 minutes, there we’re no lines, no x-ray machines, no corrupt officers and basically no worries. Hopefully all of our borders are this easy!

We were now in Villazon, Bolivia, a dusty border town with “cambios” and souvineer shops lining the streets. With no Bolivianos to our name, the first point of call was one of the few ATMs in town. The first didn’t work (Mastercard we later discovered would be the thorn in our side!! We reccommend bringing Visa!) but a very friendly army-looking man pointed us in the right direction, and warned us to be careful of the delinquents in Bolivia. Boliviano’s in hand (or money belt rather) we decided to walk to the bus terminal, it didn’t look too far away, and we wanted to stretch our legs after 7 or so hours on a bus. It was a little hard to find, but locals were helpful in pointing out a large building at the end of a dirt road, which turned out to be the terminal.

Bolivian bus terminals can be a bit overwhelming – not only for the choice, but the ladies yelling the destination of their next bus trying to lure you in can give you a bit of a headache. We found what we thought was a good bus company, and for a mere 15 Bolivianos (NZ$3) we were on our way to Tupiza. I wish I got a picture of the bus, or the look on our faces, but what we were confronted with was a very old, very worn looking bus with stickers holding the windscreen together. Considering whether or not this was the best idea, we (and our travel-mates) decided “what was the worst that could happen?” and climbed aboard. Slightly suprised that we weren’t sitting on beer crates, we settled into our seats and braced ourselves for the next 2-3 hours. Apart from a few funny smells, and the steering being a bit off, the old girl didn’t go too bad and we made it to Tupiza in one piece!

Our hostel “Butch Cassidy” was across the bridge from the main town in Tupiza, however the stunning backdrop and fact that it was basically a hotel for NZ$30 a night made up for the short walk. The owners were the most lovely people – it seems to be run by a family with dad in charge of the bookings and their small supermarket next door, the son operates tours with his friend, and the daughters and mum in charge of house keeping and breakfast. Breakfast deserves a “best in Bolivia” award – fresh fruit salad, pancakes, donuts, different breads, cakes, cereals and hot drinks, plus ham, cheese and avocado. We were in heaven after 3 weeks of dulce de leche and white bread.

Pancakes, fresh fruit and dulce de leche (What? It goes great on pancakes!)
View from Hostal Butch Cassidy, looking towards town (over the river)

Our 3 nights / 4 days in Tupiza were spent exploring the markets in town (there is a street market each Thursday and Saturday by the train station – Thursday was much bigger than Saturday) and being amazed at how cheap it was to eat out, as well as eating out a lot. We became regulars at “El Alamo” which had some sort of funky American/Vegas/diner-bar feel and played old English songs just a little too enthusiasticaly. They also had “cerveza verde” which turned out the be exactly what it sounds like – green beer (with a very average taste). One night we even stumbled upon a basketball match – we just followed the sound of the band! Here’s a quick video if you are interested: https://youtu.be/G_XjtnfC4sM

Walking the streets of Tupiza
The town is surrounded by red rocks
From the pedestrian overbridge
El Alamo – our new local
Cerveza Verde – 11/10 would probably not try again!

 

Cafayate and Calchaqui Valley Day Tour

Cafayate and Calchaqui Valley Day Tour

While in Salta, we booked ourselves onto a full day bus tour to Cafayate (hey it said including wine), choosing an English Tour we thought was a smart move. What we weren’t expecting, was to be on a bus full of Spanish speakers (no hablan ingles!) and for the poor tour guide to have to repeat everything in Spanish and in English! Whoops! He was rather entertaining though, and having taught himself English using British material, he sounded like somewhat of an Argentinian David Attenborough.

We wound our way out of Salta, heading south through some very barren looking pueblos. After a while the windows of the bus defogged, and we were able to see the surrounding area. The bus first takes you through the Calchaqui Valley past some stunning rocky scenery – all different shades of red, green and yellow could be seen, but unfortunately we’re rather hard to capture from a moving bus!

The pictures can explain the rest of the journey 🙂

La Garganta del Diablo – the Devils Throat
Looking up into the Devils Throat – it towered above us, too much to get all in one shot!
Where there’s a tourist attraction, there’s someone selling things! In fact there were around half a dozen little jewelery stalls set up at both the Devils Throat and the Amphitheatre
Can’t get enough of those panoramas! This one was taken from “Tres Cruces”
Such a contrast between here and NZ!
And another shot…
We visted the “Gata Flora” winery and sampled 3 of their wines – a white, a rose and a red. The white came out the winner, and we happily purchased a bottle for NZ$8
We stopped at the Amphitheatre on the way home – and were treated to some Spanish opera style singing by one of our fellow tourists
Just waiting for Roadrunner to zoom along – “meep meep!”

 

Salta Free Walking Tour

Salta Free Walking Tour

Having already done free walking tours in Buenos Aires and Cordoba, we decided to head out on Monday morning to do the 2 hour walking tour around Salta. We were led around the city center by our guide (who’s name escapes me…) and visted historical buildings such as the Basilica Cathedral (the pope visited this church and led a mass – hence its now a Basilica) and a Convent that is still in use today. Outsiders can communicate with the nuns through a rotating table/door (put your letter on the table and turn it type thing) but you can never see them face to face.

Outside the Basilica Cathedral in Salta
Inside the Cathedral
Convent in Salta – if you look closely at the woodwork the name of the family is in the top left, and each side tells a story (seed at the top, through to flower etc)

One thing to always do on a free walking tour, is to ask about the best places to eat! Today was no exception, and although we ended up being the only ones in the restaurant, we had probably the best meal in Argentina! Meals always start with bread, and this time we got a creamy kind of mayo (maybe?) and a salsa to go with. A giant jug of homemade lemonade, with “hiebra” – we’re still not quite sure what this is but it tasted minty, and Darryl reckons almost like spirulina of sorts. It was delish either way. Entre was “sopa de mani” or, peanut soup. Quite possibly the best soup we’ve ever tasted, it was creamy and nutty and had chunks of pork making it almost a meal on its own.

Main was a lentil stew – full of bacon, tomato, beef and all sorts of yummy flavours, we “struggled” through this hearty meal, before rolling on back to our hostel (fortunately only 2 blocks away) for a siesta.

Oh my! Something to go on our bread? This is a treat!
Sopa de mani <3
2-4-6-8 dig in and don’t wait!
The best lentil stew!
Getting to Salta and Our First Few Days

Getting to Salta and Our First Few Days

Opting to arrive into Salta in the morning, rather than midnight or some other ungodly hour, meant we had to wait around in Cordoba for a full day until our bus departed at 9pm. Salta to Cordoba is quite a long journey – around 12 hours in total, and boy do they know how to charge for it! Costing almost 1300 pesos each (roughly NZ$120 or so) we chose “cama” seats in the hopes that we might be able to geta little bit of sleep.

Questionable bus food – a squashed luncheon and cheese bun, “crackers” and more crackers. Oh and a juice box.

While the seats were excellently comfortable, the aircon unit that seemed to be directly behind us, blasting freezing cold air all night long, was not. Lesson for next time: Don’t take the 2 back seats.

Arriving into Salta it was easy to notice a change in both temperature, and pace. Salta was quickly dubbed our favourite city so far – the air was fresher and there were less cars, busses, people etc roaming the streets. We were allowed to check into our room at Coloria Hostel early – like 9am early, which was greaty appreciated. Our double room “Amarilla” was downstairs, under the common area. At first a little strange, it ended up working out quite well for us as no one knew there was another bathroom down there 😉

We dropped our luggage off and ventured out into the city, heading towards the main square, in search of some breakfast. It wasn’t long before we found a great deal – cafe con leche, 2 medialunas, juice, and a soda water for only 40 pesos each (NZ$4). Can’t even get a coffee in NZ for that price!

Croissants (medialunas), coffee, juice and soda water!

San Bernardo Teleferico – Salta’s Cable Car

The following day we walked to the top of the “San Bernardo” hill, where there is a cable car or “Teleferico” that you can take up/down, or both. Being Sunday morning, there was hardly anyone about, and the walk to the top took around 40 minutes. There are apparently 1070 stairs, according to the sign, but there are also sections with no stairs, and the last 10 minutes or so is along the road.

The view from the top was amazing to say the least! We were told the best time to go is the morning, as the sun is behind you and you can take some decent pictures. As always with any tourist destination, there were things for sale at the top. Mostly socks, hats, gloves, bags and ponchos in an array of colours, which we would soon learn are very widely available – there is a whole market at the bottom of the cable car with this stuff, each seller having almost exactly the same stock as their neighbour. Another lesson: Don’t buy 30 peso wine from the market, if the homemade lable which is glued on crookedly doesn’t send warning bells, then the half a cork or even the taste might!

We chose to take the cable car back down, and the 10 minute ride cost us 75 pesos each (it’s 150 pesos each if you want to ride both ways)

Cable car selfies
Overlooking Salta

Back in 15 Minutes

Back in 15 Minutes

Being day 12 of our trip, we decided to search for a “lavanderia” on our way to the bus terminal – hand washing is only so good for so long, and we thought we’d stumbled upon a good one just around the corner. Leave your bag of washing, come back “manana” and for ochenta pesos, it’s washed, dried, folded and ready for another 2 weeks lol.

Our bus tickets from Cordoba to Salta, “cama” class, were quite expensive – NZ$240 for the both of us, but seeing as its a 12 hour journey, its still only $10 an hour which seems about right for Argentina. We are booked to leave at 9pm on Friday 19th, and will get into Salta at 9am on the 20th – so, we are saving money on accommodation 😉

Later that night we went to a meeting at another hostel called “English and Mate” – unfortunately no mate (we still haven’t tried it) but at least there was English being spoken! Most of the group of 15ish were locals – ourselves, and a solo Auzzie backpacker, were kind of the centre of attention as everyone wanted to know about the other side of the world, and why we were crazy enough to come to Argentina. “Cerveza y Espanol” was straight after – but we made it more cerveza and English.

Bringing us to today, Wednesday, the day we get to wear clean clothes again! Yay! After breakfast (at probably the best hostel breakfast buffet thus far) we went to the laundry. Their “Back in 15 minutes” sign must have been broken, as it was over an hour before anyone arrived. Not ready they say, come back at 2-2.30pm they say. Ok… so that kind of messed our plans up, but never mind. A quick look around a little museum (they’re free on Wednesdays in Cordoba) and back to our hostel to get changed, before going to find the “parrilla” restaurant we’d seen on our walking tour, and also been recommended at our English and Mate meet. “La Parrilla de Raul” didn’t disappoint – think char-grilled meat, meat, and meat. Ordering the “Parrilla Ejecutivo” we thought we may have bitten off more than we could chew. Not so – just enough perfectly cooked beef, chicken and pork to fill us up for the rest of the day. Accompanied by papas fritas, ensalada and an empanada, and followed by a postre of flan with what we think was golden syrup.

Succulent beef, juicy chicken breast, pork (with some sort of sauce…) and empanada and chips – only $16 for this plus dessert!

We waddled back to the laundry, arriving at 2.30pm, to yet another “back in 15 minute sign”. Ok sure, we waited 30 minutes, still no one. Empty handed, we went back to the hostel for an hour or so, before walking that oh so familiar path to the laundry again at 4pm. “Back in 15 minutes” hung in the window… taunting us. But, at least this time, someone surfaced after around half an hour of waiting. Not. Ready. We quickly come up with a “we’re leaving at 8pm on the bus tonight” story, and agreed to come back at 6pm to collect said washing.

5.55pm – our favourite place, familiar faces greet us (are we friends yet?) and, familiar clothes! Fortunately not with a familiar smell, but a a more pleasant warm, soapy, and very clean smell. Hallelujah!

We’re in Siesta Country Now

We’re in Siesta Country Now

We arrived into Cordoba after 7 hours on the bus from Rosario. We almost didn’t make it onto said bus, as the person who sold us the tickets, wrote the wrong company on the bottom of our tickets. Inching very close to departure (it was now just 5 minutes away) we started to ask other drivers where they were going and showing our tickets. At the 2nd or 3rd bus along, we found which one we were supposed to be on! Not a “Sierras Cordoba” bus, but a “General Urquiza” – very, very different. Never mind, we made it, and settled into our semi-cama seats in the rather foggy upstairs cabin.

A dozen or so stops, a few siestas, more tuna sandwiches and 7 hours later, we arrived into Cordoba city. As our taxi took us through the streets, we noticed it was a bit empty, but figured we we’re in a quiet part of town or something? Not thinking much of the quietness, we checked into our hostel and set off in search of a supermarket. Nada. Not a thing was open in the CBD at 3pm on a Saturday. Returning to our hostel empty handed, we set about Googling why, and what would be open/when. Seems most things were closed until Monday, and with an empty pantry (or grocery bag rather) we decided to take a taxi to Walmart, some 10 minutes away.

We were not disappointed. Not only did we find the biggest supermarket/department store we’d ever seen, there were also stores and a food court, all open! 650 pesos later, and a bit of confusion with the check out operator (they don’t like our pre-paid travel cards because they have no name on them) we had enough food for the week and a few beers.

Sunday (14th May) was spent updating the blog, and researching our next destinations. Having wasted the day, on Monday we decided to do the “La Docta” free walking tour around Cordoba city. We were a small group of 8 – 2 Swiss, 1 French, 1 German and 4 Kiwis – the other 2 Kiwi’s also being from Nelson, and living around 5km from our house (small world!). Ana was our tour guide for the morning, we visited several places such as the Iglesia Catedral, an Alfajores shop (where we got to sample some) and an old Jesuit Church/ruins of one that they’d found while laying cables. We we’re recommended a local restaurant, and had their vegetable tart with salad and a drink for only NZ$8 each.

Iglesia Catedral
Iglesia Catedral – Beautiful Ceilings
Iglesia Catedral
Jesuit Church – under the road

The following day we moved hostels, only a block or two up the road so we walked (faster than the traffic was flowing). We soon realised that Hostel Alvear was just ever so slightly better than our digs for the last 3 nights – for an extra 200 pesos over 3 nights (just under $7 a night) we now had our own private ensuite, a bed that didn’t sink and crunch every time you moved, air conditioning, a chair (don’t laugh!) and best of a TV that we don’t even watch because it’s all in Spanish. Waahoooooooo!

Luxury at Hostel Alvear!
3 Days in Rosario

3 Days in Rosario

We left Buenos Aires at 6.30am on Wednesday, on the “Costera Criolla” bus which appears to run between Mar Del Plata and Santa Fe. For only 12 pesos more we were able to book the best seats on the bus, so we decided on the “Ejecutivo” seats instead of semi-cama, or cama. We think it was well worth the extra $1, as for that we got 2 very big, very comfortable, fully reclinable leather seats. More comfortable than any plane we’ve ever been on, and only $30 each for the 4.5 hour journey (yeah Argentina isn’t as cheap as we thought it might have been).

The journey was very smooth, along a smooth straight highway we even dozed off for a bit. Upon arriving in Rosario, we took a taxi from the bus station to our hostel across town. We soon realised that even though Rosario is still a big city, it’s nothing like Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires was busy 24/7 with too many cars, busses, people and dodgy little streets to look out for. Either we lucked out on location, or Rosario is just a nicer place (or these country bumpkins are getting better at city life) but we feel much safer walking the streets here. Our hostel – “Freedom Hostel” is only a few blocks from the Flag Monument, and a neat little street Darryl reckons feels like Cuba Street in Wellington called Cordoba. It’s a pedestrian only street (or at least as far as we walked was) lined with shops and cafes, and steet sellers laying out their socks and undies. We found a little cafe and ordered some empanadas and coffee – for the record empanadas are great, probably better than pies – no gravy, all meat!

After a quick stop at a supermarket for supplies, we headed back the the hostel for a game of chess and a few beers (NZ$2 will get you a litre of cheap local stuff from the supermarket), before making dinner in the best hostel kitchen so far, more beer, then bed.
The next day we were happy to find something other than dulce de leche and bread for breakfast – cereal! Honeypuffs even – which probably wouldn’t be our usual choice but needs must. Breakfast was followed by a nap (yeah we did just get up but ohwell!) before heading out for lunch and a walk.
We found a tourist office, and a very informative lady who spoke English (woot!) who gave us a map and explained a few things to do around town. We were looking for somewhere to buy bus tickets for Saturday, but apparently the only place you can do this is at the bus station. You can also buy tickets online, but you have to print them and thus far we haven’t seen any internet cafes/places to print tickets off. She said we should be fine to head to the bus station on the day and see what is going, as there are plenty of buses that travel this route each day.

We stopped for lunch at a pizza place, and ordered their special for the day “Hamburgesa Especial con patas fritas & un gaseosa” – burger, fries, and a fizzy drink, for 99 pesos. Most cafes here seem to have WIFI available to use, you just have to ask for the password (easier said than done). After lunch we walked a few blocks to the flag monument (pics below) and had a great view of the river and a huge boat coming up it. The tourist information office mentioned there were beaches at the river, but seeing as it was quite windy and probably around 16 degrees, we decided it probably wasn’t worth trying to find them.

At the National Flag Monument
Looking down to the river

The next day we decided it would be a great idea to walk the 24-ish blocks from our hostel to the bus terminal. It was raining… a lot. On the way we stopped at a Starbucks to use their free Wifi as the hostel’s was either broken or non existant for our entire stay… 🙁 A coffee each and a medialuna (sweet croissant things – the translation meaning “half moon” which I think is quite cute) cost us 60 pesos each. We hung around for an hour waiting for the rain to stop, it never really did so onwards we marched. Finally arriving at the bus terminal around 2 hours after setting off, we booked our tickets for the following day with “General Urquiza” from Rosario to Cordoba. The entire bus was semi-cama only and the 6-7 hour journey cost us 460 pesos each.

The reason we walked (apart from giving us something to do) was to try and save the 70-80 peso cost each way, but with the 120 pesos we spent on morning tea, and the 180 peso cheap chinease shite umbrella we got for the walk back (which saved us from torrential downpours) perhaps we should have just taken the taxi option haha.

One more quick venture out for a few dinner ingredients, and a 32 peso bottle of red wine, we spent the rest of the evening warming up and playing chess.