Wikipedia says Buenos Aires has a population of about 15 million. We’ve been here 3 days and have no reason to disbelieve this – it is a bustling, busy, noisy, mostly grubby place! Many of the significant buildings around town show that the halcyon days of this city are past and there isn’t the cash around to maintain them. As you walk the streets, sparkling new high-rise buildings shoot up to the sky, squashed between their much older, dirtier neighbours. Still, we don’t think it pretends to be any different. We had decided to spend a few days here to get over any jet lag and get our heads around language, money, communication etc, before we picked up the cars. The locals have been patient and generally helpful and we’ve eaten a lot of steak – it’s true what they say about Argentinian steak – it is sensational. My observation on this is that a big beautiful steak 4 nights in a row was enough and that their chimmi-churri wasn’t as good as our son makes!
We are now on the move – leaving Buenos Aires by ferry on Sunday, crossing the Rio de la Plata and landing in Colonia, Uruguay. Colonia has a significant history of Spain and Portugal fighting for control over it’s strategic position – the Portuguese fought off 7 invasions over a 100 years between 1780 and 1880 before finally relinquishing. The old part of town is an interesting / confusing mix of history and modern tourism which doesn’t always work well. The historical part of Colonia was a refreshing change from the city scape of Buenos Aires, with shaded avenues of Plane trees and cobbled streets creating a calm atmosphere. Within the historical area of Colonia, there is a lot more to explore in terms of history than our timing allowed. We travelled by air-conditioned coach to Montevideo on Monday afternoon – the cars are due to arrive tomorrow so stand by for news and pictures of this significant event!