The physical actions of my wonderful ‘Great Adventure’ down south may be over, but some aspects continue. I woke early this morning in my Buenos Aires Hotel and sat on the edge of the bed swaying. And smiled. This is a small and temporary price to pay for the Southern Ocean experience.
The blog postings with all the details of the South Georgia Island and Antarctic segment will be delayed. I am not sure when I will have time to post all that I wrote during that extraordinary journey (around 20,000 words plus hundreds of photos). Tomorrow I am off to Barcelona and the days will roll by. I am inclined to believe I need to simply post my records of each of these forthcoming days and then perhaps when I return home at the end of the year the stories of my experience of the past fortnight can be posted. I cannot be sure what I will do. It is more important for me to experience the new than to spend all day in a hotel room posting.
So today I woke at 3 am and was back in bed at 9am after deleting and responding to emails, and beginning to get my house in order, etc. Hotel breakfast. I chose to buy this as part of the hotel selection because until the meat eating gets going through the day, the Argentinians eat lots of pastries and cakes. At least here I have fruit and cereal, and this morning there was a dish of cooked green squash (of course oiled and I doubt it was virgin olive oil). But I will take my vegetables where and how I can get them at this stage. The presentation added lots of colour to the morning in a very high ceiling expansive dining room.
There was something about the day which made me feel Argentinians were in a holiday mood and I should have asked questions before I left the hotel. Of course, when I went out and walked a few blocks to post home a kilo or more of papers and brochures, places like the post office were shut.
Today is a holiday in Argentina for National Sovereignty Day. The public holiday commemorates the Battle of Vuelta de Obligado, fought on 20 November 1845, which led to the signing of a peace treaty between Argentina, France and Britain. In the mid-1840s, the British and French were focused on commercial interests in Uruguay which meant keeping the Prana River open to large seafaring vessels necessary for trade. In 1845, Argentina closed the river with a boom and shore battery northwest of Buenos Aires. The boom consisted of 24 vessels, only three of which were Argentinian naval vessels, that were linked by metal chains. Artillery was stationed on a cliff above the banks, supported by 2,000 troops. In retaliation, the British and French sent eleven warships to break up the boom. The battle began with the French and British heavily bombarding the small Argentinian fleet. However, the Argentine fleet were able to manoeuvre easily as they were not reliant on wind. Captain James Hope of the HMS Firebrand managed to board the boom and sever the chains, allowing the ships to push upriver and attack with full force. Eventually, the boom was demolished, and the river was opened to trade again. Although Argentina lost the battle, heavy casualties were inflicted on the British and French troops. Despite the loss, Argentina viewed the battle as an attempt to preserve their sovereignty and to resist foreign intervention.
In the blistering hot sun without a hat (what is this thing called sun?) and trying to use the blessing of the wonderful shade trees, I wandered down Avenida de Mayo, marvelling again and again at the wonderful French inspired architecture. Loving Buenos Aires second time around even more. Feel like I could come back here for weeks. Beautiful. Before another visit, an intensive immersion in the Spanish language is definitely necessary to get the best out of this city. After two weeks with so much French in my head and with a mind not totally functioning because of this head and chest cold, trying to communicate more than a yes and no has been a challenge.
Past some street mural art.
I was delighted to find open the café that offered lots of vegetables smorgasbord style. I selected an enormous plate and wolfed them down. Then filled a take away container with more for my dinner. All was not lost.
I returned by the subway.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon having a long nap (exhausted from illness – still sneezing grandly but coughing less) followed by a terrific Skype session from June. Now I am packing and preparing for tomorrow’s departure. Everything about today has been to try and let my body heal.