Alex’s hometown was a very pleasant surprise. Rosario is the third largest city in Argentina and is only recently getting attention as a tourist destination. We got there around 8 on Sunday evening and Alex took us on a quick drive around town. The beautiful Parana River runs across the city and there is green space everywhere.
The trail by the river was overflowing with people out for a stroll, run or bike ride. People in Argentina are very healthy.
After a great night in the newest part of the town, we spent the rest of the weekend in the oldest neighbourhood called San Telmo. This area was discovered in the 17th century so it has lots of history and beautiful architecture. We started off in Camito. It has been called a tourist trap, but I loved it. Brightly coloured buildings, live tango shows and lots of vibrant art added to the character of Caminito.
I spent the day in Puerto Madero – it is the largest urban renewal project in the old port of Buenos Aires. There is a mix of luxury hotels, residential high-rises and upscale restaurants. I had a lovely lunch overlooking the water and enjoyed my first glass of bubbly! I still can’t believe I’m here!
I then headed to Palermo Soho which is a 10-minute walk from hotel. I Ioved the area. For those of you in Toronto, it’s like Yorkville meets Little Italy with lots of cafes and cute boutiques.
The day flew by and I was counting down the minutes until my friends arrived. My friend, Agnes, met her boyfriend in Mexico last spring. Alex lives in Argentina. It’s because of him that we are both exploring this part of the world now. Agnes is on her second trip to Argentina and Alex has been to Toronto twice too. Not bad for not even a year of dating! They had the perfect holiday romance and have spent enough time together to know this is the real thing. The big question is where are they going to live?
I left Toronto on January 18. The weeks leading up to the trip were very busy with my dad’s funeral, Christmas and preparation for my big adventure. It’s not easy to pack for two months, especially as a woman!
Fortunately, the 13-hour trip went smoothly with a small stop over in Washington. I arrived in Buenos Aires at 10 am. Several friends had warned me about the city not being safe, especially for a woman traveling alone, so I booked a transfer through my hotel. I’m so glad I did. It was wonderful to see my name on a sign when I arrived and to be escorted directly to the hotel.
I didn’t sleep much on the flight. I was going to take a nap but it was a beautiful day and I couldn’t wait to explore. I visited the Recoleta area with many lovely Parisian-style buildings. It was easy to feel like I was walking through a city in Europe rather than Buenos Aires.
It would be an understatement to say the end of 2011 was not quite what I expected. I lost my job and my dad in December and my whole world literally fell apart.
However, I am a firm believer in positive thinking and staying strong no matter what life throws at you. Everything happens for a reason and I had to believe that my life would evolve and change for the better.
I am an avid world traveler. I quickly saw the opportunity to finally be able to go on a trip with no set itinerary or time frame. There are many beautiful places around the world but South America stood out for several reasons. I had wonderful friends to meet there and I have always loved the Latin culture and language.
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