Friday, January 27, 2012

Santa Fe, Argentina

On our second full day in Buenos Aires we got on the bus to head 6 hours north to Santa Fe. The bus ride itself was long and the bus wasn´t exactly clean either... We obviously chose the wrong bus company.
The landscape was incredibly flat and unexciting but being tired, I managed to sleep a bit.

Santa Fe was hot! Since our bus was a tad early, Guille wasn´t there yet, but even at 10.30pm at night the air was still warm.

We weren´t waiting for long and soon we had a happy reunion and were heading back to her house, where she told us her mum had cooked us a delicious meal.

And delicious it was. I got to meet her parents finally, after meeting her 1st in NZ on the other side of the world. They were very nice and the food her mum cooked us was exquisite. We ate meat and potatoes, but the meat was the most delicious, melt in your mouth meat I´d ever had in my life! After eating and talking, a meal outside in a leafy garden with a perfect climate, we went to bed.

The next day, Guille and her mum took Genna and I on a tour of the two cities, Parana and Santa Fe. They´re both close together and connected by a 3km long underwater tunnel, below the Parana river.

Parana was a gorgeous city, with flowers and cobbled streets and a new shopping mall (quite small though). We stopped at a park up high with a view over the city and the river, and also at a stone auditorium.

On the way back to Santa Fe, her mum stopped and bought us materos.
Mate is a type of tea they drink in Argentina and Uruguay. It´s a very strong leafy tea.
To drink it, you simply pour heaps of the leafs into the cup and then some hot water on top. There´s a special straw you use to drink it out of which has a filter at the end.
Terere is mate, but with cold water or even juice.
Basically every Argentinean takes with them wherever they go, a thermos with cold water and the special cup and straw to driink mate. The flavour takes a bit of getting used to but I´ve found it´s actually quite nice. Cold. With juice.

We crossed the river again and arrived back in Santa Fe, to Guille´s home where her and a couple of friends came over to drink terere (it´s quite a tradition).

After that, we went into downtown Santa Fe and visited the most amazing building I have ever seen. It was the city council, old and colonial and massive. We also visited the cathedral where people were praying with rosary beads, and a colonial house that had turned into a museum. A stroll along the river took us to an incredibly huge outdoor swimming pool filled with water from the river.

The downtown part of Santa Fe was the cleanest downtown I had ever seen and vacant of street vendors. The council had prohibited it. The shops were really cool and it was bustling and lively at 7pm at night.

The stay at Guille´s was definitely a highlight of our trip - staying with Argentineans, eating Argentinean food and being shown around a city by a local, plus being able to catch up witha good friend!

Then all of a sudden it was a rush to return back to Guille´s, shower, drive to the bus station and take our bus to Puerto Iguazu, where we would arrive after 16 hours in a bus!

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