Argentina is a country that I always thought I’d fall in love with.
Having grown up learning Welsh at school, Patagonia and the Argentinian Welsh colonies were kind of forced onto me, and I’ve always been fascinated by all these mysterious villages and towns on the other side of the world, with the exact same names as the towns and villages in which I grew up. In fact, during Welsh exams and essays when we had to make up the imaginary holidays we were going to have (anybody who’s ever learnt a second language at school knows what I’m talking about...), when I wasn’t planning how I was going to move to Jamaica and fall in love with one of Bob Marley’s children, I would drone on about how I was going to ride a horse in the mountains of Patagonia. Rydw i’n mynd i Batagonia i reidio ceffylau yn y mynydd, for anyone who’s interested.
So when this current trip came into focus, and visiting Argentina became a reality, it was a given that Patagonia would be on the list of places to go.
Except of course for the fact that I am really bad at planning things in advance. Right now it’s coming up to Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. For anybody that knows anything about outdoors-type places, or Argentina, would know that this means the whole of the South part of the country is basically closed for business. So no Patagonia for me.
Instead, I spent four long, dreary days in Buenos Aires before escaping to Chile. I know I did Argentina a disservice by spending such little time there, and not escaping the confines of the Big City. I know I didn’t give it a chance. I know I should have branched out, gone to Mendoza, eaten some steak, drank some wine, taken Tango class, done all the things you’re supposed to do when in Argentina, but I didn’t. Instead I stayed in a city who’s main tourist attraction is a cemetery; a cold city where it rained every day, making it feel like I was still at home but with less English and more Spanish.
It seems to be a city designed with nightlife in mind. If you like drinking, you’re sorted. If you don’t… well, you better like bowling. I really really don’t like disliking places, especially when I know I didn’t give them enough time or attention, but no matter how much I tried I just couldn’t find any endearing qualities in Buenos Aires. I will go back to Argentina again – thirteen-year old me would never forgive myself for missing out on Patagonia – but for now the only good things I’ve taken away from BA is a new found love for Dread Mar I and a rediscovered addiction to Dulce de Leche.