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.
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.