I don’t know why we didn’t like Buenos Aires more? Perhaps because of our budget, concerns over safety, or it was just too big and impersonal. We arrived on the 7th of December from the Cruise ship and made our way to our first hotel the Sheraton Liberador. It was a nice hotel although the elevators never seemed to work properly and getting service in the lounge was like pulling teeth. On the plus side, we received two bottles of red wine for being platinum members.
We stayed an additional two days in the Holiday Inn Express which was about 500m down the road. Security was extremely high as a series of WTO meetings were about to occur. The African countries were at the Holiday Inn and a number of Canadians were at the Sheraton. The Sheraton hotel had a sub-committee of chicken/egg producers from Canada although we didn’t see any of them.
We left Buenos Aires for Uruguay and returned seven days later just to catch the bus to Cordoba.
The Bus – El Practico
A short walk to the bus terminal where I practiced my French on a Spanish police officer to get directions. Colleen took over and he ended up escorting us to the terminal.
Researching the bus and our experience in Uruguay suggested this would be a piece of cake. The price was $407.62 for the five out to take an overnight bus with ‘cama’ or lay-down beds, and a meal service. What could go wrong with a company called, El Practico? Well, nothing. We waited at the bus station for about four hours – although full of friendly, happy people it also has a mix of scum and villainy (Star Wars reference) so we were cautious. The bus arrivals shows up on the television monitors about fifteen minutes before arrival. We were a little worried El Practico did not arrive. Colleen went to the office and I went with the kids to the gate. For buses, they give you a range of gates that your bus will arrive at. While, Colleen was still communicating with the agent the bus arrived. All aboard! P.S. The meal was a broth, followed by turkey/pork with mashed potatoes, some kind of weird desert and salad. They topped it off with a whisky. At least, that’s what I thought he said and I was right.
We arrived at 05:30 am at the bus terminal and took a cab to the Holiday Inn Cordoba. It was in a pleasant little suburb where nothing opened before 09:00am and no one knows how to make real coffee. We even tried McDonald’s thinking the coffee would be the same as in Canada – nope, nada, not going to happen. One thing we tried to use an ATM and it wouldn’t work at first or it asked for exorbitant transaction fees so we opted to pay by credit card. The McDonald’s system wasn’t working so we left without food until the Manager called us back and said ‘don’t worry about it’ and we got a free meal.
Cordoba is the second largest city in Argentina with 1.3 Million people it is surprising that we liked it as much as we did. Perhaps it was the fact that we stayed in the suburbs. We took the time to rest and recharge from all the movement. Christmas gifts and yellow fever shots for onward travel were our only tasks.
Our time in Cordoba ended with a flight to Iguazu Falls in the North-eastern part of Argentina.
We flew to Salta from Iguazu Falls on Christmas Day. Surprisingly the plane was quite busy. Salta is a small city with a population of around 600,000 people and sits at 1100m above sea level. Our suite upgrade at the Sheraton Hotel was very nice. One drink only in the free lounge was a disappointment. What? Wait?? Who does that??? The snacks were sandwiches and deserts. I shouldn’t complain the service was very good and the staff were very friendly.
Our stay gave us a change to look around town and visit some of the key areas. But mostly, we rested as the trip to Iguazu was quite busy.
The Bus – Balut
Our time in Argentina at an end our next move was to Bolivia and visit the Salt Flats. We took at early morning bus, 08:00 departure at a cost of $154CAD for a semi-cama bus. The plan to travel to La Quiaca and then walk across the border and pick-up a bus or taxi to Tupiza. That’ll be the next story…