8 Dec 2011 – Buenos Aires

We arrived in Argentina, cleared immigration and customs with no problem, though we did have to purchase visas, which cost USD 140 each.

We stepped outside the terminal to catch a taxi and were greeted by blue sunny skies and temperatures in the high seventies. The taxi driver informed us that it is a four day holiday weekend and that the traffic into the city would be very light. What normally takes over an hour took only about twenty minutes today.

It’s been a long travel day, and since we did both manage to sleep on the last leg of the journey, when we arrive at the hotel, we are not in too bad of shape.

We are able to get early check-in, and head up to our room.  It is very spacious and has a nice view of the Plaza San Martin (a lovely park). According to the travel guide, The Marriott Plaza Hotel – “a stunning beaux-arts building on Plaza San Martin, this is one of the capital’s few grand old hotels.  Built in 1909, the Plaza, as it is commonly known, has long been a favorite bedsit of presidents and celebrities.  European antiques, leather chairs, and Francophile fittings are backed up with high tech amenities.”

After a quick stop in the executive lounge for a couple bottles of water, we set out to explore our surroundings.  We start with Calle Florida – the city’s most famous street.  It is a pedestrian way with shops of every variety. And today, being a holiday, it is filled with tourists.  No matter, it is nice to get out in the sunshine!  After a couple of hours, we are ready to head back to the hotel for a cool drink.  We opted for La Terrasse, which is pool side – a cold beer and a mineral water really hit the spot.

Blame it on the beer, and sunshine, but fatique set in and we returned to our room for a short nap.  We woke, showered, and went back to the lounge for hors d’oeuvres – it was really more like a meal with potato and leek soup, cheese and meats, and chicken and rice for the entrée.  We won’t be needing anything else to eat this evening!

We finished the evening with a stroll through the park and the surrounding streets.  We also popped into Galerias Pacifico, a “grand” shopping mall, built in the 1890’s with beautiful frescoes by Argentian artists.  It is truly grand, and the Christmas tree and other festive decorations are gorgeous.

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