Becoming a solo traveller by accident
Yes, this trip was far away from what was initally planned, and yes it was one of the travels I really doubted whether I should continue to pursue. Actually it was planned that I travel around of the North of Argentina with a good friend of mine, however it happend what always happens: life being life. She couldn’t join the trip anymore but I already booked the flight.There I was: no spanish skills, unexpectatly a solo traveler and with no travel experience in any Latin American country. Yes you picture it. I was super lost and incertain what do to. A shout out here to my family and all my friends who supported me and encouraged me to just pack my things and do it on my own! It literally took all my courage and some moments of crying to really go into that plane, so it was: My first solo travel to Argentina it was! My compromise to this trip was that I didn’t want to travel all by myself, so I decided to take a 2 week long Spanish course in Buenos Aires, the remaining week I wanted to spend travelling.
Love at the second glance
First things first: Buenos Aires isn’t one of the cities that welcome you with open arms and an easy to understand vibe, structure or language. No. Being the first time as a small town girl with no basic Spanish here in this 13 million city is hard work. Buenos Aires is huge, 3o min walking distances are conidered as very close, everywhere is dog shit and it smells, the subways are always crowded and mostly terribly old, the people speak frustratling fast and getting money from the atm is a science in itself. Not to mention that everything is expensive. Like literally on European level but without the assortment. Oh and taking the bus is a proper adventure as you never really sure where the bus driver actually drops you, well if you managed to find the bus stop as they are only indicated by small signs on house walls. And please don’t expect anyone to speak English, get out your Spanish!
But Buenos Aires is also one of those cities that steal your heart without you noticing. After two weeks of living like a porteña (a person tha lives in Argentinas capital) I got to know some great spots, Buenos Aires has lots to offer but is not as easy and obvious about it. You should ask people who live here about where to go out and eat and what’s there to do and experience the different barrios (neighbourhoods) and their unique vibe. I realised this is the easiest and most convinient way on how to discover Buenos Aires. If you invest some more time in the city it will reward you with great little cafes and the most amazing heladerias ( ice cream shops) this side of Italy. With people who watch out for each other (often people on the buss tell you to put your phone away when the bus door opens as someone could steal it and get away with it easily) and great activities. For example to get to know the history of the city I did a free walking tour, to practise my Spanish I went to a Mundo Lingo event. An event where people gather to have a good time and have a few drinks and speak all kinds of languages with each other. (indicated by the sticker flags you receive) You are only doing it right when you leave the evening buzzing with all those languages you spoke! The great thing about those two event:they take place in almsot every city on this planet and are a great start to get to know the city and it’s people as a first try.
My impression after two weeks of studying and applying the language all I can say that I really love it and that I can only recommend anyone who intends to live, work, love, travel or do whatever here or in general in South America to improve or learn Spanish. Even in the capital you don’t get far with only English. And yes the Argentinian Spanish is different and yes it’s difficult. But pronouncing every y and double ll as a ‘sch’ is an easy task for a girl from Rhineland 😀 It’s the best and yes, magical feeling if some of those weird words the people say start making sense and you are able to talk back and are understood. I realised once more how much I enjoy the challenges and also rewards of learning a new language.
It’s all about the people
This travel has once again showed me that you can have fun and find great friends no matter where you go! Thanks to all the great people I met along my way! Especially Rena who also was at the same hostel and language school, once again it’s true if you put two horsey girls together chances are high that they end up becoming really good friends:P Thanks to my great Spanish teacher Pablo who had so much patience with making verbs and grammar fun! Thanks to the great and heartwarming ‘hostel mum’ who made everyone a home away from home. To all the native Spanish speakers who have the patience to repeat their sentences at least times, and with every sentence using easier verbs, you are all great! 🙂 Thanks to the great uruguay couple who gave not only a lift but made me feel at home in Montevideo. And yes finally I can visit Paris as I van visit a crazy french guy there who I stumbled upon on a rainy day in a hostel.