Friday, June 17, 2011

Rosario, Argentina

Last Saturday (11th June) I travelled to Rosario, a city north of Buenos Aires on the rio Parana. Rosario is known as Argentina's second city, culturally rather than in size or population. Che Guevara was born in Rosario, as was the creator of the Argentinean flag, whose name I can't remember (I can obviously retain some facts from the guidebooks but not all), and Messi too. I travelled to Rosario via bus, or micro as they're known here, and had my first experience of coche cama, which are seats that can be pushed right back with footrests, a necessity on an 18 hour bus trip, and which luckily I haven't yet had to go through as the journey to Rosario only takes about four and a half hours. I slept most of the way, which shows the effectiveness of the cama seats, although the fact that it was 7am and I'd only had about four hours sleep due to going out the night before may have had something to do with it.
I was welcomed in Rosario by my friend Fran and some absolutely gorgeous sunshine that had I been in the UK would have been t-shirt-and-shorts weather, but I wasn't, I was most definitely in Argentina. My first sight of the rio Parana assured me of that; it's massive!

Earlier we went to this great restuarant for lunch where everything served is made from locally-sourced produce, including the wine, and we had four extremely tasty courses. I was so stuffed I wasn't hungry until about 10pm (we started lunch about 2pm), which luckily is the time most people eat in Argentina on a Saturday night, so that worked out well.

I've only got Buenos Aires to compare it to but somehow Rosario felt a lot more Argentinean, less cosmopolitan, with fewer tourists and just people getting on with their lives. I was introduced to Folklore in Rosario, a type of music that is a lot more common all over Argentina although maybe not as famous as tango, which I'm told is more associated with BA. Fran, some of her friends and I went to a restaurant/bar/café for some empanadas (dulce carne and quesa y cebolla, my favourites that I've tried so far), and to watch Jose Simon, who was pretty amazing.

The next day I had a bit of a lie-in and then we went back down to the riverfront and wandered down to a restuarant where we had the most amazing river fish with patatas fritas, and then had a look round the markets and went to a contemporary art museum. Later we took advantage of the ice-cream store near to Fran's apartment and had a relaxing evening in.

On my final morning we went to a different part of the city and did some sightseeing round there, we had another nice lunch and then I got on the bus and came back home to BA!

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