At a large round-a-bout off Ruta 3, there are 2 major options for a road into the city. Luckily I didn't choose right there and then. Which way??!! I couldn't make a quick choice, so I continued the circle like a bike going down a drainpipe to look at my choices again. I then noticed a female police officer waiting on one of the corners for a ride. I stopped and asked her which route was the safest and she was very clear that I must take the toll road into the center. She also said, the standard route through the barrios is very dangerous and to avoid it at all costs. She pointed me onto the toll road without stoplights. Decision made.. done and thank you!
I knew which neighborhood I was headed to in the city, because I have a place to stay! Facebook friend, Martin, who's been messaging me for nearly 2 years just happens to be here visiting his family and friends. Otherwise, he lives in the United States. We will be meeting for the first time and staying at his best friends Mom's house, Ines.. got that straight?? ;-)
Martin says that each year he comes home to visit, he buys one of these little Hondas' to get around town.. It's cute, I love it!
I follow him through the busy city streets a bit to help me find the office I am going to use to organize my shipping out of South America. I'm quite keen to get everything organized as soon as possible. There is a lot to do to prepare shipping from South America to New Zealand. Plus, even though I'm in Buenos Aires now, I have one more country to visit before I go.. Uruguay! So it was really helpful for Martin to show me around this town now as I'll spend more time here when I return from Uruguay..
We got back to Ines' home and I love this woman! She lives in a part of Buenos Aries that is completely taken over by highrise apartments. She's been living in this one house for over 40 years, raised her children here and she doesn't want to sell or move! So she hasn't and I'd say she's not going to anytime soon! One very adventurous inspiring woman who's planning a trip to Africa with her sister AND Martin..ha!
We came back to drop off luggage, etc. and Martin was feeling a bit cold. I've got a bag full of warm riding gear, and for once I'm not the cold one! So we dressed him up in my winter jacket and neckscarf. Looking good in Sherri Jo's clothes, Martin!
We sat and visited with Ines for a while. Martin said she was originally concerned to have an Aussie/American stay in the house because she doesn't speak English. But I was able to communicate in Spanish, thank goodness. I still screw up a lot, but I've been in enough countries to know that language barrier can be uncomfortable if you are staying the night.. So we ended up getting along super well and she loved hearing some of the travel stories in my bad Spanish! Such a busy social lady, that phone never stopped ringing!
Martin wants to take me around central Buenos Aires on the back of his bike. It's just easier that way, we can talk, not get cut off in traffic, etc.
The first government house built in colonial times, called Cabildo de Buenos Aires 1609. Far too small, they didn't use it long, and currently a museum.
He's a latin man... he'll dance anywhere.. ;-)
Martin asks what I would like for dinner. I'd rather that he decide since this is his city! He says, I want to take you to my favorite pizza place and then go to my favorite place for steak and then ice cream!! Gee whiz!!!! As long as each one is small, otherwise, I couldn't imagine eating that much! First stop, pizza in a famous old neighborhood, San Telmo....
Ummm Martin? I'd be lucky to get through just one of those, let alone a steak afterwards!! Oh man, that was good...but super big and heavy. Now back on the bike! Who ate the onion slice?????
What's fun for me sitting on the back of Martin's bike is being able to have a good look around, to take photos and not worry about traffic. I loved this old car, but you would have seen many old cars in my other posts. Argentina is known for keeping the oldest cars on the road, and they are always so great to see..
Another stop on the Martin tour is this famous bridge called "Puente de la Mujer" (Bridge of the Woman). It's a suspension walking bridge, with a center piece built to rotate to allow water traffic through. It's a fun piece of modern architecture in contrast to the old industrial buildings that connects Puerto Madero to the city. Interesting history, the $6 million bridge was donated by a wealthy family and the city of Buenos Aires takes no responsibility for it. The bridge was closed for repair just 3 years after it was built and the family have been "chosen" to keep it maintained. I personally think they should have had that minor detail sorted before it was built.. but from our point of view, it does look good!!
Now, Martin finally agrees that steak and pizza is a bit over the top, but we're not giving up on the most important part.. Ice Cream!! And to be more clear, Dulce de Leche Ice Cream.. OMG!!! We should have just come here first! I can not tell you how good that ice cream was.. I will remember it forever.. I sure hope I can find this flavor when I get home, or I'll probably just start hand making it.. Yep, I'm looking up the recipe now... ;-))))
But wait, there's more!! Now we are riding the bike around this super pretty planetarium which quite proudly displays the Argentine colors.. a lot!
Next is an important monument, Obelisco de Buenos Aires. It was built to commemorate 400 years since the foundation of the city and has since become an icon. It sits in the middle of 9 de Julio, the widest street in the world. And I can vouch for that ! I crossed it nearly every day and it usually took 2 street light changes to make it across, unless I wanted to run like a ding dong but it wasn't that important.. ;-)
Martin and I are stopped in the middle, so double that distance to cross the road.
I enjoyed the next 2 days running around as a little pillion Honda rider with Martin as he made the rounds saying last goodbyes to family and friends. It was a super fun time. I do enjoy riding on the back of a bike and always that much better to spend it with a local. Martin has a flight out to Africa and I want to get to Uruguay, so we eventually said our goodbyes too. Thanks again for the hospitality!!
The next morning I take the ferry from downtown Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay. I quite honestly don't have much in me to visit this country. I've heard great things about it and I'm not going to walk away without seeing it, but ever since the last few weeks I have felt my South American time is done and I'm quite ready to move on. So this will only be a little 3 day trip, and it's an easy one obviously, ferry to ferry.
Welcome to Uruguay! As I'm waiting for the aduana guy to give me my papers back, I got a chuckle out of this sign. "Welcome to Uruguay.. now get out! (Salida)" Of course it's not what they're saying.. And then below in English. "Welcome to Uruguay, sorry for the inconveniences caused.." Ha! Now I'm worried, I wonder what's going to happen?
The road out of Colonia is a pretty one! I'm expecting to see a golf resort any minute now..
I traveled along a really boring road to my first stop, the capital, Montevideo.
Moving on up to the next big city, Punte del Este and a must-see to ride over the wavy bridge at La Barra!!
I think there should be more wavy bridges in the world.. are they earthquake tolerant??
If Argentina has old cars, well so does Uruguay.. both countries are like taking a huge step back in time.. it's nice, I like it!
I rode back to Colonia a day early. The bike was acting a bit funny and I couldn't put my finger on it. Also I wanted to be in town to do some banking business, stay the night and explore before catching the morning ferry back to Buenos Aires.
Colonia was built by the Portuguese. Clearly evident in the architecture and the stone streets! This historic center is a world heritage site.
I know I've shown a few old cars on the road. This one is not for travel. They use it outside the restaurant. You can sit inside for a cup of tea if you like! Looks very limiting for business, but a cute idea! ;-)
This so much reminds me of south Portugal.. memories!!
I spotted the ferry arriving from Buenos Aires. I can't get my head around this muddy water. I hear about so many people coming here to retire and I imagine that water would get to me. I'm a bit spoiled and prefer the blue/green waters of the world! Anyway, it's a mix of the Atlantic Ocean with river water from Rio de la Plata. Here is an aerial view to give a better perspective Aerial view muddy water from Colonia, Uruguay to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The next morning I pack up my bike and I had a gut feeling that I wished didn't come true. The bike wouldn't start. I tried and tried, it's not a dead battery.. just dead! I don't know what it is.. I'm not sure I want to know. But what can I do. I've already booked and paid for the ferry ticket. Luckily, while staying in Colonia, I was close enough and able to roll my motorcycle down hill to the ferry port.. how lucky is that!!?? I checked in at immigration, then rolled my bike through the line to board the ferry. I was not happy.. at all!
In line I met another ride.. remember in just the last post? I always meet riders on these ferries.. always! Anyway, this lovely man, Mario was traveling with his daughter. He was so kind, with worry on his face when he saw me, "What is wrong?" I told him the bike won't start. He had lots and lots of the right words to say, made me feel better instantly, and they both looked after me on the ferry. We had so much fun. Mario and Candy have been traveling 3 weeks together and they will be home once they get off the ferry and ride another 200 km. so close!
It was great to see a father and daughter traveling that far together on their motorcycle.. so happy to meet them.
We docked in Buenos Aires around 11 pm, but Mario and Candy would not continue their own journey until they knew both me and my bike was completely secure for the night. Far too sweet as they have quite a bit to accomplish at this late hour themselves, another 200 km riding! So I feel very guilty, but they wouldn't leave!
I did get everything sorted and said goodbye to my new friends. Here my dead bike will stay tonight in the underground parking at the ferry office. I took every little thing off the bike, just in case they find a way to break into the panniers at 3 AM in downtown BsAs!
I'm not sure what I'm going to do or how I'll handle this as of yet.. but I give up for now. Hopefully the bike will be there in the morning and I'll tackle the problem then.