Buenos Aires Day 4
There was a change in the rhythm today – you could sense it. It was like a new energy was surging through everything and there was a new purpose to the day. I was up early—Maggie even earlier. Not only did she have to prepare for my departure, but for the arrival of a group who were going to take over her whole apartment – and she was packing her things to stay elsewhere! But, as with everything about staying with Maggie, she was warm and giving – a proper hostess!
For me, this was my last time on this trip to see “everything I need to see” before heading off to new places. I thought I would try the hop on, hop off bus one more time and if I got to the ticket office when they opened, maybe I’d have a chance! So I was out on the streets early – and it seemed that there were a lot of people out and about this time.
I thought I would save my poor feet and ride on the oldest subway line in South America – especially since the A Line goes along the Ave. de Mayo. So, for 0.70 peso (yes, that it 70 cents) I got to ride on a wooden subway car where you have to open the door – and if you are not careful you can open it while the car is moving! Of course, wrong-direction Catherine had to get on the first time going the wrong way, but with some assistance, I was able to squeeze in to a very full car and head on my way.
There was a line at the ticket office for the bus tour, however it was not like previous days – and so I was able to get a ticket and on the bus. Next time, I will remember to do this online and just show my voucher – you get a discount and you get to go to the front of the line! There are 20 stops along the way at major attractions or you can stay on for the whole loop which gives you a ~3 hours. If I time it right, I would be able to do the tour, get tango shoes (the shop was near where I got the bus) and be back to Maggie’s before the next group arrived!
I will not go into complete details on the bus tour – I will go into more details and include pictures for that. But I did get to see the Boca Juniors Stadium; Caminito, the artist’s block; The other side of Puerto Madero that I did not walk to the day before; Plaza San Martin, the English Clock Tower; the Argentina Polo Field; the Flower sculpture; Barrio Chino; the largest mosque in South America; and the Opera House where the first opera ever done there was Aida – just like the opera house in Palermo! See, this will be much better with pictures and descriptions! Once cool thing I have to mention because I’m not sure I got a good picture of this – there are people who travel around Buenos Aires in a little horse-pulled cart who go around collection recycling (plastics, paper, etc.). I thought it was interesting and the horse I saw was wearing a little straw hat! Anyway, 3 plus hours later, it was off to buy shoes!
Did I mention I hate shoe shopping? Alanis is a great place to go and she really knows feet and how to get you into the right style and size. I told her that I wear a 38 European. She looked at my feet and said, “You’ve got short, wide feet – you need a 37 wide.” She started pulling out the most appropriate shoes for me (including a pale pink pair). But then I had another problem. Remember all my walking the day before? Well, my favourite pair of walking sandals did not like it and I now had blisters that prevented me from being able to try on the shoes to ensure a proper fit – so no shoes this time. I really do hate shoe shopping. I hobbled on my sore feet back to Maggie’s to prepare to leave for the ship.
I loved staying at Maggie’s B&B. My room was perfect. I slept well and had a great view. I got all sorts of advice – stay in Palermo or Recoleta areas, etc. While both of these neighbourhoods were very nice, I prefer a more central location – especially if there is a lot of character. And let’s face it – skeleton keys, a 100 year old elevator, a beautiful, homey feel and even a bird sitting on a nest on one of the window planter boxes! I like being central to the historic district as well as able to walk to San Telmo. Maggie can also tell you a lot about the tango “scene” and can help direct you to some of the best places to go. When I come back to Buenos Aires – because you know I will – I will try to stay at Maggie’s again!
Last thing Maggie did for me is call a radio taxi to drive me to the cruise port, since Nicco was not available this time. We left together Jimmy drove me to the port. Did I mention driving in Buenos Aires? While there are clearly marked lanes on the road, these lane markers are really more of a suggestion than and actually way to keep multiple lines of vehicles from careening into each other – although I did not witness an accident, there were a few close calls.
Check-in for the ship was quick and easy and before I knew it, I was doing a tour of the ship to see where everything was – then I headed to the pools because I wanted to cool off from the heat. There is a Solarium with a hydro-spa pool – and the water was warm. Then there is the outdoor pool and that was perfect – cool and wonderful! Both are salt water pools, something I really like.
So, I sat by the pool for a bit and just settled into this new rhythm.
I had an early seating for dinner at Table 308. When I got to my table, I met Scott from Denmark. Then came 3 ladies from North Carolina who travel together – Donna, Gay and Gail. The Wine Steward, Richard, joked that Scott need there to be two more women to complete his table – and then there were two more – Judy and Mary – who are cousins – Judy is from Austin, Texas and Mary is from St. Louis, Missouri. Our waiter is Herman from Indonesia and our assistant waiter is Diana. For dinner I had a goat cheese tart, mushroom soup, prime rib and puff pastries with praline ice cream and chocolate sauce – and Spanish wine. It is a lively and entertaining group.
The first night’s show was just an into to what to expect for entertainment on the ship. There were, of course, tango dancers along with the regular cruise ship singers and dancers. The band is very good and there is an amazing Spanish guitarist.
So much for my last day in Buenos Aires and my first day at sea.