Saturday, April 01, 2006

The sights of Buenos Aires and Caroline finds a team to support

27 March 2006

We decided to check out down town Buenos Aires, as most of the museums and galleries are closed on Monday in San Telmo. Downtown Buenos Aires is extremely busy and there is heaps of people going somewhere or doing something. Buenos Aires has been busiest city we have visited so far. We checked out some of the sites of the city and the shops and took a wander down to the river and had a quick look at the bridge by Santiago Calatrava.

We the caught up with some friends who came over to Chile with us and they shared their experiences of standing in the roughest section (la doce) of the ground for the Boca-River match. We also swapped stories of our travels around Peru. We went out for dinner at a local restaurant. They did some really nice pasta (the itlain influence in the area) and we also sampled some Argentinian wine . Prices were excellent! Unfortunately the Blues were being played a little too loud so we decided to go back to our hostel.

28 March 2006

After a good nights sleep and a late start to the day we decided to check out some galleries and museums. Unfortunately the museums that we wanted to see were closed for renovations until 2007 so we decided to head back into Central Buenos Aires and have a look at some sites. We had a look at the obelisk that marks the spot where the first Argentinian flag was raised. The obelisk sits in a huge roundabout that sits within a 22 lane wide avenue, which is the biggest in the world. It takes you two changes of lights to get across it by foot. At every intersection the drivers all treat it like they are starting off from a grand prix - so you have eight lanes of cars flying off from the intersection. We checked out some bookshops - books are fairly cheap over here and there is also heaps of secondhand book shops. I purchased myself a Boca shirt at one of the many sports stores that are in this part of town.

Late in the afternoon we did a tour of the Boca Juniors stadium and museum which is called ¨La Bombonera¨ because from above it supposedly looks like a chocolate box. The museum had old shirts and some of the many trophies that Boca has won over the years. In our tour of the stadium we got to sit in the stands (the stadium is actually quite small and the stands are steep and only holds about 50,000 people); stand on a small part of the pitch; check out the press conference room and even the Boca change rooms.

In the evening we went out to a soccer match - Racing vs San Lorenzo. These are two of the oldest clubs in Buenos Aires even older than Boca and so it was a grudge match. The stadium probably about half full but the locals were making a lot of noise and it would have been deafening if the ground was full. It was a crunch match for Racing (the home team) as they were sitting on the bottom of the ladder without a win. The first half was pretty bad with both teams playing badly. The main highlight of the first half was a fight between the hamburger stall man and a disgruntled customer. Caroline also started chatting with these two old timers. One of them had been a member of Racing since the 1930s and the other the 1950s. They were complaining that the ground was never full anymore and told us about the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s when they won heaps of titles.

In the second half the crowd was trying to get their team going and the team responded by playing better and eventually they scored a goal 13 minutes before the end of the game. The crowd went absolutely nuts and the noise was deafening. People in the standing areas were shouting and everyone was taunting the opposition supporters who were own locked off section for their own security. Racing won the game and the crowd went home happy and tried to throw stones or rocks at the trains that full of San Lorenzo fans as they headed home. It was a great night and Caroline is now a passionate Racing fan.

Tomorrow we are off to the Iguazu falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil.


Neil in the Plaza de Mayo - this is where all the big demonstrations take place

The Casa Rosada (the Pink House)

Looking out from the Plaza de Mayo

Santiago Calatrava rolls out another bridge this time for the people of Buenos Aires

Buildings on the Avenida de Julio

The obelisk that marks the spot where the first Argentinian flag was raised

A Buenos Aires local taking it easy in the middle of the 22 lane Avenida de Julio

Diego Maradona´s footprint outside ¨La Bombonera¨- he was so fast he didn´t leave one

Neil giving the Boca team their orders - hopefully this team will listen to me

Inside ¨La Bombonera¨

Neil waiting for the next game at ¨La Bombonera¨

Racing and San Lorenzo line up before the big game

Caroline and one of the old timers (had been a member since the 1930s)she was talking to - he went home happy after the win

The Racing fans decide to spark their team into action by letting of a flare

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