So… this is a little awkward, but this time last year I was dating someone from Argentina. Unfortunately, three weeks after we took a trip together to his homeland, we broke up.

Despite this, I’ve decided I still needed to write about that trip; I had a great time and was left with good memories and good impressions of the country (break ups are no fun but at least one good thing came from dating him 😛 ). It was my first time in Argentina, and the first place in South America I’ve ever been. However, if you’re hoping for a juicy account of why we broke up I’m sorry but I’m going to have to disappoint you. Only my therapist gets to hear all about that.

Teatro Colón, photographed from across the Av. 9 de Julio

My two week trip began in Buenos Aires. I remember BA being a place with giant roads and lots of concrete, which at times was overwhelming. We tactically spent most of our days here in the quieter and more touristic parts of town. It was easy to get around and get into places and it was good value in terms of beer and eating out. Being there in March, the weather was great too. The city felt like a real mixture of Spanish/European as well as (North) American flavours, with ornate architecture reminiscent of Madrid, in a strict gridded structure reminiscent of New York.

Buenos Aires’ most famous landmark? The Obelisco

Highlights included going for afternoon tea at one of the city’s fanciest hotels (as doing so only cost about £15; a veritable steal), drinking beers in Puerto Madero, ogling the OTT memorials at Recoleta Cemetery and admiring beautiful works of art at the Buenos Aires Museum for Latin American Art. During a long walk around the city centre we spotted the Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada and of course the iconic Obelisco; symbol of Buenos Aires.

Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt for afternoon tea? Well why not?
The fit
And the tea
Puerto Madero, a super cool place to chill out day or night
Recoleta Cemetery. We spent a happy couple of hours hunting for Evita’s final resting place.
Proof that we visited at least one museum (The Museum for Latin American Art)
Plaza de Mayo, a great place to come to participate in a revolution
Argentina’s presidential office, the Casa Rosada
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a theatre transformed into a bookstore
Jardin Japones – obviously a guaranteed win to take me here

We visited the Centro Cultural Kirchner, a stunning and impressive building containing a concert hall as well as Eva Peron’s former office. There was also an excellent installation about the father of modern tango music, Astor Piazzolla. I was really taken by his music which we listened to a fair bit on this trip. Somehow he managed to capture precisely the energy and excitement of the one time booming Buenos Aires in his compositions, providing a perfect soundtrack to the city during its vicissitudes in the 20th century.

Centro Cultural Kirchner
Eva Peron’s office
A still of the incredible immersive light show celebrating Piazzola’s life (the videos I took are sadly a bit rubbish)
We had to join a tour that was completely in Spanish for 45 minutes to get access to the auditorium. Would not recommend.

After BA we travelled about 3 hours west to spend a few days visiting my ex’s hometown Rosario. It’s not a typical tourist destination by any means, but it is the country’s third largest city and it was certainly interesting to see how most Argentinians more typically live their lives. The highlight of our visit here was getting to stay at his mum’s weekend house in nearby Funes. I have to admit, the lifestyle of spending the week in a city centre apartment for work, followed by weekends at a charming house in the countryside with a private garden and pool, surrounded by nature was a very appealing one. We even saw a possum!

Monumento Historico Nacional a la Bandera
Along the riverfront, which is THE cool place to hang out in Rosario
Hanging out in Funes

Finally, the final place we finally visited was the absolutely incredible Iguazu Falls in the far northeast of the country. A must visit when in Argentina, we treated ourselves to a fancy hotel with views over the Tres Fronteras from the rooftop pool (where the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay all meet). We spent two days hiking in the national park, getting soaked with spray looking over the “Devil’s Throat” waterfall and searching for toucans and coatis along the rainforest trails. After spending lockdown in London, getting to work up a sweat hiking through a rainforest on the other side of the world was absolute bliss. It was a fantastic thing to do to round off our trip in Argentina.

Iguazu National Park
Walking along the suspended walkways in the rainforest canopy
The thundering climax of the Park; La Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat)
Spotting the exotic wildlife was exciting! This is a coati, which is like a South American racoon

Aside from all this sightseeing, we spent a fair bit of time meeting up with my ex’s family and friends in various places, who were so welcoming and friendly to me. I tested everyone’s English language skills to the max, and was asked most days by someone or other – “When are you going to learn Spanish?”. Well Auntie Lucia, turns out, probably never. Sorry!

I’d had a good time in Argentina, and I was obviously lucky to get the chance to explore the country with a local (who I was on good terms with at the time). It served as a good introduction to South America, but I have to admit I wasn’t completely blown away by my visit. If I’m taking a 16 hour flight somewhere I want to feel like I’m really far from home. Buenos Aires felt too familiar; I think I could have had much the same experience in any European capital city. Iguazu was awesome though. I suspect the true highlights of the country remain to be explored, like Bariloche and Patagonia. So I guess there’s nothing for it but to revisit some day!

Watching the sunset over Paraguay from our hotel rooftop pool (Brazil on the righthand side)

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