14/6 Monday: It was strange to wake up in a four-bed dorm with two empty beds – we miss you, Ange and Janine! We stayed in bed for quite some time, it was raining and we’re both feeling a bit sick so it was nice to relax and not have to do anything. We watched a bit of football and did some work but otherwise just lazed around and ate empanadas.

15/6 Tuesday: Today was an important day for New Zealand football – our first match in a World cup since the year I was born. It was awesome, we played really well in the first half but Slovakia got a goal in the first few minutes of the second half. We were thinking: well, at least it’s better than Australia’s 4-0 loss when we scored a goal in minute 92! Fantastic!

After that we worked a bit then walked to the bus station to catch a bus south. When we were in Cafayate tasting wine, we met Julian and Natalia, who invited us to stay with them in La Plata, and we took them up on the offer. They met us at the bus station – we all arrived late so it worked out well.

They took us out to dinner at a cervecería where we ate too much and drank lots of specialist beers (I had a honey one and a fruit one). Julian has an awesome old car (I have no idea of the make, but it was built in 1928) and we got to ride in the back, outside. We felt famous because people kept pointing and waving.

16/6 Wednesday: My birthday was a bit of a non-event. We slept in then had to wait for the washing machine to finish its run so we could hang out our clothes, so we didn’t have a lot of daylight left. We found a cafe and watched the end of a game, then wandered around the city of La Plata, enjoying the architecture. In the evening we had gnocchi at home with Juli and Naty and stayed up late chatting and drinking wine.

17/6 Thursday: This was more of the day I had in mind for my birthday – we got up at a reasonable hour and went to the Republica de Los Niños, which is an awesome little town built on a smaller scale so that it feels like a town for kids. All the buildings are beautiful and it’s well-maintained. One of the buildings houses a doll museum and they have dolls in traditional costumes from many countries, but sadly not New Zealand (or any South Pacific countries, actually).

Next we visited the cathedral, which is immense and impressive. It’s built in a Neo-gothic style, so it’s really intricate, and there’s a museum about its construction in the basement. We went up the elevator to get some good views of La Plata.

One of my birthday presents was a trip to the cinema, I wanted to see a movie in Spanish. I was stoked that I could pretty much understand it, though I wasn’t so thrilled that the only option was a thriller. I definitely enjoyed the experience though. We finished the evening at Julian’s brother’s birthday party, where we ate asado, drank beer and chatted with Julian’s parents.

18/6 Friday: After a long sleep-in, Naty, Juli and I went to the museum – Craig was feeling sick so he stayed home and missed out on a ride in the awesome car. The museum was really interesting and it was great to go with Juli, who has a degree in palaeontology and explained everything as we walked through so I didn’t have to read the explanations.

We had dinner (empanadas) at Naty’s family home with her parents and brother, who are all really lovely. Then we went to meet their friends Angie and Juan, and go bowling (the weirdest I’ve ever played) and play pool. The evening didn’t finish there – we headed home to drink Fernet and chat, and finally went to bed at 7am. I think this takes the cake for the latest night of our trip!

19/6 Saturday: After our late night, we slept in until past midday, which didn’t leave a lot of time to do things before we had to hop on the bus back to Buenos Aires. We pretty much just packed our bags and had a bit of a chat with Naty and Juli’s neighbours. When we got back to BA we headed back to our old haunt Kaixo hostel, where we were welcomed like long-lost family.

20/6 Sunday: Our last day in Buenos Aires started well, with an awesome game of football by the All Whites – we managed to get a tie against Italy, the current World Cup holders. We spent the rest of the day working, with a bit of souvenir shopping thrown in for good measure, and we’re heading out soon for dinner and a drink or two with Corrie from Bueno Entonces.