We hit the lottery with the Savoy Hotel. This is a 4-star property offering a swimming pool, spa, fitness center and a library in the heart of Buenos Aires. Offering accommodations in a 5-story historical building, the hotel was remodeled in 2011. The center of Buenos Aires is a mile away from the venue. Shopping centers and book stores are within blocks of the property. This elegant hotel comprises of rooms with Italian decor and such comforts as an in-room safe, a mini bar, high-speed internet, an iron with ironing board and a work desk. The rooms also have a view over the city. Although the room did not come with a coffee/tea maker, the staff has been extremely accommodating by providing whatever we asked for. We were provided a coffee maker “borrowed” from the bartender by the desk clerk. Today we hope enjoy a hot full American buffet breakfast. A range of Mediterranean dishes is offered at the lobby restaurant. The Lobby bar is a great place to taste tapas and fruit and drink coffee, tea and wines. Guests can eat at La Americana and La Continental, situated within a 5-minute walk of the venue. Oh yeah, did I mention that we scored the room at only $64 a night? Highly recommended, but call the hotel for a taxi from the airport. You’ll pay them around $45.00 for the trip, but if you take an airport taxi they will screw you for $75.00.
We were really dragging our butts after being awake for over 36 hours and although check in wasn't until 3PM, the desk clerk worked her magic and found an upgraded room for us around 9AM. The porter dropped our bags in the room about the same time as I dropped my head on the nearest pillow. 1AM the next day I woke up, took a shower and Julieann fixed me a cup of coffee (she had previously made three trips to the desk to ask about a coffee pot, coffee cups and plug adapters). I’m typing these while anxiously awaiting breakfast time. Oh yeah, no English TVs here.
A “minus” to my review of the Savoy. The “full American buffet breakfast” didn’t make the cut. I had toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee and juice. I liked the toast. Enough said. We returned to the room and I took a few photos of the streets below. A lot of action and a lot of noise. I’m going to try to find the Hop On Hop Off city tour. Those are usually pretty much fun.
I’ve also tried to find out some history that makes sense to the Italian architecture of this city. Of course, Spain took over South America years and years ago and Spain beat the UK in a couple of battles, but the rest of the “wars” appear to be localized as in “Spain vs Spain” or warlords of some type fighting for territory. Buenos Aires has not been the capital for very long and appears to be prospering. Argentina's capital is a stylish city filled with tango clubs, flea markets and great restaurants. A city tour is the best way to see the attractions, including the old Italian district of La Boca and the artists' quarter of San Telmo. Other options include a flightseeing excursion to Iguassu Falls and a visit to a working ranch.
We spent the afternoon on a “Hop On Hop Off” bus that took us all around the city. The city is definitely a beautiful collection of old and new buildings. I have attached a number of photos, but don’t expect me to explain them. The bus recording that is supposed to explain who or what we were looking at seemed to be in a loop. Just like the local folks, the recording spoke in a very heavy Spanish accent and VERY quickly which meant I did not understand much of what I was hearing. Every statue or monument we saw seemed to be “This is Carlos Romero Juan Constantine el Paso del Rio de Carlo of the Diaz family and he was responsible for winning the battle of “whatever”. As I tried to repeat what I was hearing to Julieann (who didn’t even bother to put on the ear buds) she was laughing so hard I thought we were going to have a pee accident so I stopped talking. The same was true for the various buildings pointed out. They all seemed to be built by Don Luis yada yada yada yada yada yada for whatever reason. One important (to me) fact that I learned was that the Tango was invented in Buenos Aires, but the dance was totally banned by the upper and middle class folks. Men would dance with each other in secret to learn or improve steps. Once they figured they had the steps down, they moved to the local brothel and practiced (the dance.......too) with the Ladies of the Night. Somehow, the dance was copied in Paris and demonstrated by famous dancers of the time. Of course, the dance was quickly accepted by all, including the Buenos Aires folks. Funny how things work out, eh?
The people remind me of New York City; all in a hurry to get somewhere quickly. Motorcycles and Scooters seem to be the best mode of transportation and as with the Asian countries we’ve visited, driving rules don’t appear to apply to them. From our hotel room balcony I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what the rules for the different marked lanes were, but it seemed that the rule was “If you feel froggy, just jump.” They do have very large, 4-6 lane streets where traffic is the busiest and the local don't have any problem making those 4-6 lanes into 5-8 lanes. I really don't know how they figure out whose turn it is to ride down a center lane. The small, one lane streets are just that. As we'd say in New York "Fergetaboutit".
Anyhow, we enjoyed our stay in Buenos Aires and are now ready to begin Part One of our two part cruise around South America with a final destination to Miami, Florida.