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In the streets of Buenos Aires
We had two unfortunate situations today. First, this was our second port day in a row, so we didn’t get much chance to recuperate from yesterday. Second, Gail has now caught a full-fledged cold. She forced herself to get up and going this morning, because Buenos Aires is heralded as one of the highlights of the entire cruise.
Princess Patter: “The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is a city brimming with passionate culture. Often referred to as the ‘Paris of South America,’ Buenos Aires was the birthplace of the legendary Evita Peron.”
We docked at 6:30 am. The port here is so busy with freight that pedestrians are not allowed to walk on it. Instead, we must be driven by bus from the ship to the terminal.
The cruise ship dock
Instead of a Princess Cruise excursion, Gail had researched an outfit called “Buenos Aires Free Tour.” A group of college students leads guided walking tours for tips. The rendezvous instructions were simple. First, we were supposed to take a free city shuttle to the Galeria Pacifica. Then, we were supposed to walk to the nearby Plaza de Congreso. We did not need to meet them until 11:00 am, so we took our time with breakfast and preparations.
We arrived at the port terminal at 9:15 am. Unfortunately, the next free shuttle to the Galeria Pacifica was not due to leave until 10:30, more than an hour away. We decided to walk instead. First, we searched for and found a Farmacia to get some cold medicine for Gail. Using gestures, we were able to get some Redoxon vitamin C/zinc tablets and some Bucoangin N throat lozenges.
It was at this point that we got a free tourist map. We discovered that the Galeria Pacifica was a good 10 blocks away – a 20 minute walk at least. Even worse, we discovered that the Plaza de los Dos Congresos was 16 more blocks past that. Despite Gail’s cold, we walked as fast as we could. We had no other choice.
The colonial architecture – and the crowds – in Buenos Aires
The good news is that we made it to the rendezvous point at 11:01. The bad news was that Gail was feeling horrible, her feet were now killing her, and we were about to start two and a half more hours of walking.
The tour itself was great. There were 36 of us, mostly Americans, who were led by 30-year-old Gaston, a BA native. He was entertaining and informative. We walked down the Avenida de Mayo, where there are demonstrations several times a week. We crossed the Avenida 9 de Julio, billed as “the widest street in the world” (it was when it was built, but it’s not anymore). We saw the Casa Gobierno, also known as the Casa Rosada (pink house), where Eva Peron delivered her famous “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” speech. We ended at the Obelisco at the Plaza de la República, the symbol of Argentine independence. We will not reveal the details and secrets of the tour, for those who may someday take it.
Gaston (left, in the green shirt) led 36 of us around Buenos Aires
La Avenida 9 de Julio, called “the widest street in the world.” The mural that looks like a man eating a hamburger is Eva Peron talking into a microphone.
La Casa Rosada
The tour ended at 1:30 pm at the Obelisco. Gail was starving and Russell needed Internet, so we stopped at a Burger King that provided both. Unfortunately the wi-fi was terrible. After almost an hour, Russell was barely able to update the website before the connection went down.
We still had a massive amount of walking to do to get back to the port, and we didn’t get back to the cruise ship until almost 4:30. At the ship’s shop, we enhanced our cabin pharmacy with TheraFlu and DayQuil. Gail now has blisters on her feet in addition to her cold, so she promptly went to bed.
On our walk back to the port, we saw some demonstrators blaring loud music. Their sign says “English pirates get out of the Plata River” (the cruise ship inlet).
The port was lined with security guards to keep us tourists safe
Gail did get back up in time for us to go to dinner. We had scheduled to meet David and Pig Foon, fellow cruisers whom we met on the streets of BA and who actually live less than two miles away from us in Sunnyvale. We also shared a table with Jack, a fascinating fellow who has been on 85 cruises!
We were in our cabin for the night by 10:30 pm. Fortunately, we have two “at sea” days coming up, followed by a port with no planned excursion. With any luck, Gail will have time to get herself healed up a bit.
La Obelisca, symbol of Argentine independence
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