Friday, 24 January 2014

Rosario

Piranha attacks! That's what everyone from home was telling us about Rosario before we got there. We arrived about a week after 70 people were attacked by piranhas in the river paranha. It was also a day before the Dakar car races started so there was a lot of buzz around Rosario when we arrived.

We were staying at the hostel La Lechuza and we were greeted by the lovely Juan who kept referring to us as 'good little British' in his Argentinan accented slur. We only picked this hostel as it was the only one with availability for the whole 5 nights in the area, but I'm so happy we did. It had a lovely garden and was a really nice place to relax. The staff were really friendly and helpful and although it wasn't the cleanest hostel we'd stayed in, there was a really good sense of community about the place. Plus, there's Rita. Rita was a tiny black kitten who lived in the hostel and could be found making lots of mischief.
Rosario
Our time in Rosario was filled with hired bikes around the city, lunches by the river whilst watching lots of people run or skate past. I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of roller derby players skating around and it made me pine for my skates. Add into the mix the biggest monument to a flag in the world, with an elevator operator who created a mini disco, he wasn't so friendly when he discovered we were English. Afternoons on the beach and lazy days on the island across the river, surrounded by young Argentines with deck chairs, mate cups and their bottoms on show in their itsy bitsy bikinis.
Rosario
Rosario

Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
I also have to mention that we went to our first Milongas, which is a tango event where you pay entry into a huge dance hall and can dance tango to your hearts content. It was amazing to watch so many couples dancing. They all looked fabulous. We went with a guy from our hostel who was obviously a tango fanatic as he would always catch me while I was doing the washing up and try and explain the basics on tango.

One of the best things we did in Rosario was deciding to go on a tour organised by Cameron, one of the guys working at the hostel. It was really interesting as he explained lots of the things we'd seen the day before but didn't understand. One really sad thing we learned was about the bikes graffitied on many walls in Rosario. Cameron explained that back in the time of the Dirty War in Argentina, many young people had radical ideas against the government. These people would often mysteriously disappear. A popular way for all these young people to get around was to use bikes, so hundreds of bikes would be abandoned. Locked up outside shops or homes and would never be retrieved again, so someone would paint a bike in this place to show that someone who disappeared had been there. So sad.
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
The tour was free and is every Saturday, I would really recommend it to anyone that wants to find out more of the city.

We left Argentina on Wednesday and we're now in Santiago in Chile, and have to say it's a strong contender of my favourite place so far. I'll share more soon!