Lots of wild toucans - so beautiful!
You never get tired of that view!
Lots of wild toucans - so beautiful!
You never get tired of that view!
We both knew this was famous, but didn't actually know it was in Rio! You can take a cable car to the smaller mountain (Morro de Acucar), stop for a coffee and then take the next cable car up to Sugarloaf. Views are absolutely stunning and totally different to the Corcovado, so it's worth doing both. It's so well-organized and equipped, you could spend all day up there and eat at the gorgeous-looking 200 restaurant (without kids of course!).
I read it was a great spot for watching planes, but was not prepared for this - they are so close and it's like they're coming straight at you! You can watch them turn and land from the same height and then from above - Dad, you would love it here!!
And a beautiful beach at the bottom with the perfect view - amazing!
Not just cute animals we stop for now! He was a particularly smiley baby!
More yummy food at Garota de Ipanema (that song has been stuck in our head all the way through Rio!).
On a walk through the forest at the end of the beach we saw loads of marmosets. "Did you catch him jumping?" Robb said, laughing. Ha! Shame we didn't have our good camera with us...
This military base at the end of the beach is open to the public and is really worth a visit - a lovely walk along the sea wall with cafes to watch the surfers and an amazing view from the headland (with guns for the boys!).
Little princess in her new swimmies (fringe courtesy of Xavi!)
We walked half the length of the beach, but chose this end because it's much quieter and Xavi could rent a boogie board. Some areas are pretty hectic, but it's still beautiful and relaxed. The people here are so helpful and friendly, lots warning about keeping an eye on your stuff, but so far so good!
Opened in 1951, it felt like it hadn't changed much since - great bossa nova music and pictures of the time around the walls - really fun and the kids loved it!
Far too much meat, but it had to be experienced!
I know the photos all look the same, but so incredible to be here!!!
A 20-minute ride up the Corcovado on the funicular railway - gorgeous jungle and we saw monkeys!
Breathtaking views of Rio - Sugarloaf and Copacabana. They stamp your ticket with 'no visibility' and have a realtime video at the bottom - we saw all around luckily, but one side completely disappeared in cloud while we were up there.
Lagoa and Ipanema
Fresh popcorn and someone found a stage!
The statue took nearly 10 years to complete, finished in 1931. It's 30 metres tall and the arms stretch 28 metres wide - so impressive.
We just arrived this afternoon, but what an amazing place! A city with great shops (I bought 2 pairs of shoes already), restaurants, mountains and beach, what more could you need, I guess we'll find out!
We have had the best time here with Robb's family - I've now met all of Michel's brothers and sisters and many more! What gorgeous people - we love you, Arnulphys!!
Visiting the Pinheiros club, right opposite Julia's apartment - it's huge, almost like a city, with a fantastic playground and a great buffet where you weigh your plate to pay (apparently quite common here, but novel for us!)
Sipping coconuts in the park!
Enjoying the local wildlife - outside and behind glass - one snake was described as 'deadly but charming'!!
Stephanie's pride and joy, a 1966 VW - beautiful!
How cute are these 3! The youngest of Robb's cousin's children - Lorena, who is 7
A lovely walk in the atlantic rainforest, where monkeys threw sweets down from the trees 😉 Xavi made his own costume!
Second cousin, Stephanie, who visited us in Hong Kong around 7 years ago - Xavi loved learning how to skateboard with her
Throwing stones to make different sounds - great fun
Xavi was desperate to see some big cats, so we went to this zoo an hour outside of Buenos Aires. We read up on it beforehand and were generally impressed with it.
The secretary bird who eats poisonous snakes!
A female bengal tiger and her 5 cubs who were born in the zoo - they were all playing together and swimming, it was amazing to watch
The aviary was beautiful and very open.
Xavi's favourite - the cheetah
We went on a Wednesday (everything is closed on Buenos Aires on Mondays and since March is the start of winter, the zoo takes Tuesday off as well!). It was absolutely deserted, but instead of trying to get in more customers by charging less on weekdays, they charged the same, but closed all the restaurants and didn't do any of the educational talks. The kids loved it, as it was like a private visit and we enjoyed the peace too, but it just seemed such a shame.
Lovely green spaces
La Casa Rosada, president's office famous for Eva Peron's speech from the balcony - Plaza de Mayo is in front
Cathedral was not that special, but the floor was beautiful!
Monkeying around the monuments!
Not sure why the national bank has such a grand building, their cash machines rarely have any money in them!
We went back to the San Telmo Feria, as it was so lovely. Got to watch more Tango this time - so enchanting - and Amber got to practise!
We spent quite a while in Buenos Aires, as we've both always romanticized it and thought it may be somewhere we'd like to live. It may have been glorious once upon a time, but in our view those days are gone for now. There is a lot of beautiful architecture and open green spaces, but it's all a bit neglected and run-down and there's a definite feeling of frustration with the economy and government. Good for a visit, but not a home for us!
We went to this steakhouse on our first night and were spoiled for the rest of our time here, so we had to go back - definitely recommended if you are in Buenos Aires - the best food and cheap!
Tiger taking a ride at the science museum (called "Prohibited to not touch") it's all interactive and Xavs loved it.
Xavi is also getting into curry!
Another sweet puppy!
Loi Suites was a brilliant hotel - set in the jungle with rope bridges and a great pool - not the luxury you get in Asia, but you adapt!
Just a short walk down the hill from the hotel is the river Parana with Brazil on the other side.
This place gave a really interesting 1 1/2 hour tour around their grounds (English at 9.30 and 1 only). Lots of sad stories, as animals were saved from trafficking or pets that could no longer be controlled etc., but it was really well done and Xavi learned a lot.
Many of the birds were seized at the airport - they stuff them into flasks to transport them - around 5 in 20 survive - so sad.
This gorgeous bird had hit his wing on a power line and couldn't fly properly, so couldn't survive in the wild. If they put him in an aviary he would hurt himself more, so they give him 30 mins exercise a day.
Body builder anteaters - so cute!
The meeting of 3 countries - we're in Argentina, Brazil on right, Paraguay on left.
Different views, as you're on the side of the waterfalls here - closer up and looking down on them - equally stunning.
The park had been closed for a few days because a puma had come in too close (apparently!) - all the info was rather sketchy and no-one knew why they reopened one part and kept the walking path closed on the day we went. It took us nearly 2 hours to queue for the crappy little train. Staff were shockingly disorganized (not unusual for Argentina we've found) and really unhelpful! We got to the main walkways on the upper circuit, but couldn't visit the Devil's Throat from this side or the lower circuit unfortunately. Food was awful too. Luckily nothing could spoil the natural beauty of the site - although a comment from Xavi, "I don't think you two realize just how boring waterfalls are," showed us that he did not feel the same!
Monkeys at the start - remember we lost our good camera 😉
The taxi driver from the airport was a lovely lady called Marcli who was happy to fit in with our schedule for the next few days, at a slightly high price perhaps, but so worth it for the convenience. She was gorgeous with the kids too.
Obviously people come here for a reason, but it really is amazing! This is the first view after we got off the bus on the Brazil side and it just takes your breath away.
We stayed in Argentina around a 50-minute drive from the Brazil side - immigration was very efficient and the park was really well-run with buses that left every 5 minutes or so to the top with stops to get off for boat trips, hikes etc. if you wanted to.
There it is!
The rainbows are real!
The views from this side are panoramic - you go along a walkway that takes you alongside the falls - you think you've seen the best view and then you round the next corner...
The walkways come out at the Devil's Throat and you walk out into the spray - so exhilarating!
Also just a little bit scary seeing your little ones with just a small fence between them and all that raging water!
Cute little coatis everywhere there are people and food
There are signs everywhere telling you they bite, but they still let you buy ice-cream - poor little Xavs had his snatched from his hands and they're now on his hit-list!
The Tigre delta is about an hour from Buenos Aires by train. It was fascinating to visit. It's a huge area full of waterways that flow off the Parana river with islands in between.
We took a 50-minute public boat ride to a restaurant we found online. It was touristy, but really nice and relaxing.
There are holiday homes all along the river, each with their own private pier.
We took the 'tren de la costa,' which was an interesting experience - they seemed to have made a big effort to start the rail line up as a tourist attraction in the 90s after it closed in the 60s, but it's since been let go and felt frozen in time. We've had this experience a lot in Argentina, as if things were started up, but then just abandoned. It took twice the time and really wasn't worth it, so we took the regular train home!
The playground was behind the restaurant. In the space of a few hours it had almost turned into a swamp - it made for some great sliding for Xavi of course!
I love visiting cemeteries, but the kids were pretty unexcited until we found the cats. It was beautiful (and the animals were very friendly too!).
Parrots in the park outside
Evita's mausoleum - very small and unassuming - the kids have been very interested in her life and she's so recognizable, they're spotting her everywhere!
These are for you Bullers!
This was a lovely area with cobbled streets and a gorgeous market on a Sunday - nothing much to buy luckily, but lots of antiques and crafts to look at. Me and Amber watched some street Tango while the boys were finishing lunch - so cool!
A woman stopped us to recommend we watch this lovely little puppet show - that was fun explaining drunkenness to the kids!!
We found a flyer for this almost as soon as we arrived and Robb was straight on the phone! We got picked up in the morning and traveled with 9 others to grounds about an hour from the city. The day was brilliantly planned and our guide, Poly, was great at getting everyone together and making it really fun. You HAVE to do this if you come to Buenos Aires! (http://argentinapoloday.com.ar/polo-day)
Watching a game of polo and learning the rules - there are 4-8 chukkas of 7-minutes each per game and a different horse each time, so they don't get exhausted - hence the huge expense!
Xavi throwing the ball to start a chukka
Amber getting into the game!!
Learning to hold our mallets and hit the ball - if you're used to hockey it's hard to remember you can't swing across your body or you'll hit your horse in the face!
There are usually 4 players per team on the grass pitch, but we watched a smaller game with 3 players on sand, as it had rained overnight
And we're ready!
Absolutely amazing you actually got to play! The horses were incredible - so gentle and docile, but so powerful and fast in the game (not our game of course, which was more like trotting around the paddock and switching direction every 2 seconds - hilarious!).
That's me - black no. 2!
Xavi was the only one in our family who scored a goal!
Phew - exhausted!
My 3 little carnivores were very happy with the lunch!
Due to 2 children not going to bed on time (and 2 parents being absolutely knackered!) we didn't manage to book an airbnb and then the site locked us out for a day to verify our details. Luckily we found this lovely little boutique hotel called BeHollywood! (in the Hollywood area of Palermo) for one night with a gorgeous pool on the roof.
A pretty Palermo park
The receptionist recommended this steakhouse on the next block (Campo Bravo). The food was delicious and the bill was HK$500 including wine. I'm trying to keep the little meat lovers in check, but it's not easy here!!!
Restaurant at the Evita museum - not great food, but a lovely courtyard. The museum itself is small, but very interesting, well worth a visit. Amber loved the outfits!
The zoo closed down in June 2016 - it was built in 1888, so animal welfare wasn't thought of. They've now moved a lot of the animals out to sanctuaries and larger animal parks out of the city and are transforming it into a Biopark to educate people about animals instead. It does still have some bad press, but we were really impressed with what they're trying to do. It was sad seeing some of the remaining animals that are too big or old to move, but they're working to improve their enclosures as best they can and it was like stepping into a different era with all the old buildings around.
There are models of big cats in the cages behind to highlight the lack of space animals had.
Random carousel on the way home!
Beautiful maras lazing free everywhere - an animal only found in Argentina
There are so many different areas and we have so much more to explore, but we love the city so far. We're really enjoying wandering around, although it is a bit hot when you're out of the shade!
A bit far away, but one example of the cool street art you see everywhere
Pretty efficient, but in case you're considering it, they don't count it in the bus journey, so 5 hours becomes 6!
And a one-night stay in the lovely little town of El Calafate. There's a huge glacier nearby called Perrito Moreno, which you can walk out to on platforms - it looks amazing, but unfortunately the kids were all glaciered-out! Next time...
We stayed at the Hotel Lago Grey in the national park – super expensive, but amazing views of the lake and the Torres del Paine mountains behind. When we arrived the weather was beautiful and there was a gorgeous iceberg sitting just out front – so picturesque – by the evening it had disappeared! There was a lovely foresty walk by the side of the lake and a little rocky beach for the kids to play on.
One of the best views from a hotel room ever! The sky was so clear at night, you could see so many stars - unfortunately it didn't get dark till very late, so Xavi missed it!
A quick stop at the Milodon cave on the way to the hotel. An explorer found the skin of the extinct animal there. The cave is underneath an overhanging rock and they’re still excavating and finding things there today.
We booked an all-day tour with a guide, who was brilliant, and just as interested in wildlife as Xavi which helped! We were a bit worried about them being in the car all day, but they were really good and Amber managed a 2-hour nap too.
The first hotel in the area, built in …., apparently a puma once crossed the bridge when it was closed in winter, but was too scared to go back over, so they had to drug him and carry him back!
We saw lots of lakes and waterfalls and clocked up a good list of animals too – guanaco (same family as the camel), flamingos, armadillos and lots of different birds.
The next day we did the Lago Grey Navigation which takes you out onto the lake right up to the face of the glacier. There are 3 sections where it has split and each has different formations – so interesting for us to see, but the kids were really tired and Xavi was bored stiff and wouldn’t go outside after the first time (it was pretty cold and windy!!). It was incredible seeing icebergs floating everywhere with all the different colours in them and amazing to think the landscape is constantly changing.
Just off out to the glacier for some ice…
And here it is in our drinks – not sure who was more excited, Xavi or Robb!
A solar eclipse on the way – first we’ve ever seen – amazing!
The hotel from the lake
We resorted to a selfie after Xavi failed to get both the Pisco Sours and the glacier in the photo!
And one photo of Puerto Natales where we stopped for one night on the way to Argentina. Last picture there as we left our camera on the bus!!! It was a fairly quiet town, but did have the world's only Zambian Chilean fusion restaurant, which comes highly recommended by us all!