I’m a tourist, I don’t understand…

After a week of solid study, broken up by a graffiti tour, we finally left Buenos Aires and headed south to La Plata to visit July and Naty — not that we stayed there for very long. It’s a long weekend here in Argentina, we decided to make the most of it with a road trip south.

Monday 15/8 Getting up for a nine am start was never going to be easy, but it seemed even harder than normal after a weekend of sleeping in. School went well, though my classes were even more difficult than they were last week, but definitely useful. In the evening I did even more study to try to get my head around the subjunctive, and we both got some work done.

Buenos Aires street art
Buenos Aires street art
Tuesday 16/8 Another day of school, work and not much else.

Wednesday 17/8 After class we jumped on the subte to a suburb near Palermo called Collegiales, where we met Melissa from Graffiti Mundo, and the rest of the tour group, to do a tour of the street art in the area. We’d noticed all the graffiti around the city, of course — it’s kind of hard to miss — but it was really interesting to see it with a guide. Melissa talked about the differences between the various kinds of art we saw and the history of street art in Buenos Aires, as well as telling us about the artists: their style, their history and what they’re doing now. It was amazing. We finished the tour in a bar/gallery, where we had a drink and wished we could buy some of the art on sale.

Thursday 18/8 We arrived at school at 9 and left at 7 — at least we got a lot of work done! Dinner was at Desnivel, a local parrilla restaurant that we’d been to a few times already.

With July y Naty on the beach
Linda with July and Naty on the beach
Friday 19/8 Our last day at school went smoothly, although it was sad to leave. I think our heads would have exploded if we’d tried to do another week of lessons, though! After school we went to Retiro bus station to catch the bus to La Plata; the bus even stopped where it was supposed to, not like the last time we went south from Buenos Aires. There was, however, a rain squall just before the bus arrived and we got drenched.

The trip was smooth and July met us at the station. Naty got home soon after us; it was so good to see them both again! July prepared pasta from scratch and we spent the evening eating, chatting, and planning what to do for the long weekend.

Saturday 20/8 Craig and I meant to get up early but ended up sleeping in, which delayed our departure a little. We finally got away at around 11, driving south along the coast. We stopped in a lot of small villages, most of them full of houses for rent, popular with different groups of people during the summer. After a bit of searching, we found a guesthouse to stay in in Valeria del Mar, and took a wander around the town before driving to Pinamar for a parrilla dinner, followed by beers at a rather smoky bar.

Sealions in Mar del Plata
Sealions in Mar del Plata

Sunday 21/8 The day started with cafe con leche y medialunas, that very Argentinian breakfast. We got away pretty soon after that, and continued south to Mar del Plata, one of the biggest cities in the region. It’s a lovely city, with really nice architecture and a lot of beach space, which apparently gets packed solid in summer. Given that it was about 8 degrees when we got there, the beaches were noticeably empty. We had a seafood lunch (a Mar del Plata must-do) then went to visit the sea lion colony near the port.

Next, we turned north to Balcarce, where there’s a museum to commemorate its most famous inhabitant, a Formula One driver. July enthusiastically guided us around and I was disappointed that we couldn’t have a go on the racing cars in the kids’ section of the museum. After tostados (toasted sandwiches) and submarinos (hot chocolates) we drove north to Tandil to look for dinner and a bed for the night, which was easier said than done. All of the hotels were full and the restaurants where we wanted to eat had lines out the door. After two hours of bed-hunting we gave up and drove to the next town, an hour or so away, where we finally found somewhere to stay.

We’re planning to spend most of the next week in La Plata with July and Naty (providing they’re happy with that!) then go back to Buenos Aires for the weekend.

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