We enjoyed a pleasant bus ride through the Andes mountain range to Santiago. The border process was fairly smooth, though as our temporary passport fills up and our visa for Argentina is almost expired we seem to draw more attention from officials.
Arriving back at our hostel in Santiago we discovered our booking had been muddled and so we scored a free night in the dorm. A nice surprise and we were able to treat ourselves to Japanese for dinner. We had stored a bag full of ‘stuff’ at the hostel and so spent a significant amount of time rearranging our bags and filling our additional bag.
The following morning we caught an early morning flight across the Andes to Buenos Aires. The views over the snow capped mountain range were spectacular and a lovely way to farewell the mountains that have become so familiar. We arrived into a rainy and cold Buenos Aires, so once settled in our hostel we ventured out for long overdue haircuts and an early dinner at a nearby restaurant.
The next couple of days were public holidays in Buenos Aires so we slept in and slowly wandered the central city completing our shopping list and braving the intense tourist crowds of downtown.
We also managed to tick off one last activity on our ‘to do’ list - a Tango show in Buenos Aires. Tango music was born in Buenos Aires in 1880, initially only played in brothels, dance (by men) was eventually added to defer boredom of the audience. Eventually women were added and from there is grew in the suburbs and onto the streets, and finally to ballrooms throughout the city.
We had been recommended the Tango show at one of the city’s oldest Cafes, Cafe Tortoni. The Cafe itself has been operating since 1858 and still boosts much of its’ original grand decor. Beneath the marble floor of the Cafe Tango and Jazz shows take place daily. Arriving at 7.30 pm we were hastily ushered from the street to our seats as there were large protests taking place outside in the centre of the city. We are still unsure as to the reason for so much passion and for thousands of people to gather – but we assume it was political. The energy that came from the crowd was quite overwhelming and an example of the everyday passion that exudes from the Argentinean people.
Once in the basement we were absorbed into choosing our bottle of Malbec and excited for the show to begin. The five piece band of grand piano, double base, cello, violin and piano-accordion played fantastic music throughout the evening. The six dancers were polished and the show was delivered in humour, with finesse. We were very happy that our reasonably priced tickets provided us with a rich authentic experience in a very intimate environment. We recommend the Cafe Tortoni show for anyone visiting the city.