Nothing is ever easy

We have not left home and already we are having problems.

Well there we were bags packed tickets ready hotel booked and all ready to go. I was worried about the floods, but it never occurred to me that the French Railways would be on strike.

I checked, of course that all would be well. Then I was informed that my train would stop at Bordeaux. This means that I have spent the rest of today finding out if there is any other way to get to Bayonne.

We could, of course delay, but the tickets to London and Eurostar are already paid for, as is the hotel in Bayonne. We tried every way we could but there is nothing for it but to stay in Bordeaux. The cost of a hotel is nothing compared to the tickets so we stay the night.

At least the hotel in Bayonne has said we can come later.

So in the morning we set off knowing we can get as far as Bordeaux, but now have no accommodation and no forward plan. I speak no French, so we will probably starve and be unable to get transport.

If this was easy it would not be a pilgrimage, I suppose. If you hear no more then we are rotting somewhere in central France, otherwise next stop Bordeaux.

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Off we go again

When we started our last Camino, I was struck by the amount of people who were doing their second or third Camino. We even met one guy who was on his tenth. I admit to thinking why would anyone want to repeat the same walk.

As we reached the end we started to understand, and after getting home we started missing the comerardrie and the shear joy of doing nothing but putting one foot in front of the other.

So we have decided to repeat the experience. Not for us though blighthly treading the same ground. Last time  we did the Camino Frances, the one everyone knows and made famous by Martin Sheen in The Way. This time we intend to do the Northern Camino.

The Northern Camino follows the coast until it turns inland on The Camino Ingles at Sebrayo. Although we may take another route at this point. We Intend to start from Bayonne this time as well. This will save the final bus journey, and give us at least two days of walking in France.

So now we plan, buy the things we need, and hopefully get a little fitter.

The train tickets are bought, the rucksack is packed, then unpacked, packed again. What to take and what to leave, will I ever get the hang of the GPS. All the worries will fade once we start walking.




















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Too many goodbyes

Always sad to see the end but here we are.

We took the subte for Uruguay and on the platform we met the nice girl from the Chino. I was glad to have a chance to say goodbye. Some good Spanish practice as well. She left at Pasteur so that will be the last we see of her.

My sube card had $3.20 on it and Vivs had $24. So we can use Vivs to come home and there will be little credit left to run out.

Nuevo Chique was packed too many turistas, it made dancing difficult. Viv was having a great time though. The locals seem to know it will be their last chance to dance with her. Every woman I ever danced with was there, it was impossible to dance with them all. I missed Pauline again but at least I can dance with her at home, some that I missed I may never see again.

Viv dragged me out at seven, then a man arrived who she has not seen in a while. At least this gave me a chance to dance with Gerta. I have been avoiding her as she was worried about my cold. It would have been a shame to have gone home without dancing with her.

We stopped off at Plaza Congresso for some food and more beer. A last chance to drink Quilmes Stout and have some matambre.

We came out to see a 90 drive past. Fortunately the next 151 was not too long in coming and it was back to the packing.

We had to have some last Ice cream before bed, it will be nine months before we get Ice cream like this again.


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Drunk in charge of a broken Umbrella

A grey start to Monday morning. Viv sent me out for some fruit, so I took the opportunity to pay the City tax (Rentas) and put some credit on my phone.

I bumped into Jose on Corrientes. I love bumping into people I know here, makes me feel more like I belong. In the veg shop he opened a fresh box of pears for me and I told him we were leaving. Viv told me to give him $100 for his son, he did not at first understand “es una regalo por tus hijo” I said. When he realized we were leaving he thanked me and asked when we will return. So many goodbyes, it is sad to be leaving.

Viv dragged me around the shops again, looking for some guest towels. We never managed to find what we wanted. They only seem to sell towels in sets here. We tried the shop at 550 Medrano but by the time we got there it was closed. Some shops do not open until one others close one until four, others still open just when they please. It makes shopping an interesting experience here.

We returned to Plaza Bohemia, hoping that with the demise of Ideal the numbers would be up. It was a vain hope. The rain did little to help, but I suspect deeper problems. There were two spare women and three men. Viv was not advantaged though, because the shy guy would not look up and did not get up to dance until another lady arrived. Then he danced only with her.

We did many tandas together, but there was a real risk of . me becoming casamiento  with the few ladies. Good news though, Viv won the sorteo. They sell tickets and divide the money up into prizes. Small house, so there was only one prize of £130.Hardly a fortune  but better than a kick in the teeth.

Back to the bus stop and my umbrella is looking rather sad. It blew out on the way and several stays are broken, but it will see today out.

We were supposed to be meeting Mauricio and Kym and I had suggested Imaginario. Turns out it is shut today TIA. So we rescheduled for Guardia La Vieja. I got in and ordered a stout “No tiene, solo Hieneken” he said. So I tried ordering a pint, “Solo Hieneken” he said again. What is the point of having a long menu of beer and only stocking poison. So we had two coffees.

When Mauricio arrived we explained that they have no beer, so he messaged Kym and we retrenched to El Banderin across the road. No stout here either but they did have Quilmes so this would have to do. They do not have a lot of food choice here either, so we all had bondiola sandwiches and some crisps.

Kym brought another friend and the lads polished off two bottles of wine, while we hammered the beer. Then we ordered more beer. They are just not used to this here, we got louder as we put the World in general and Argentina in particular to rights.

Then they closed all the blinds and threw us out. I thought that they had more stamina here than that, but it is Monday I suppose.

We walked back past our apartment and as a parting gift, I gave Kym my umbrella. Well I think he has ten blocks to go.

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Our last Sunday

We walked down to Palermo, Viv had some things she wanted. We sort of wandered around aimlessly. She found something in Estoy Mirando, she loves this shop and I do too, it has a man seat outside. I can sit and watch the world go by, while she does what women do in shops. We tried both Isadora shops, seems that they do not open until late afternoon. I don’t get it, but then we are just customers.

I had wanted to watch the Gran Prix, so I walked again to Los Floristas. The waiter had said I could watch it here, but every seat around the TVs was full. I could not move diners on and then get them to change channels. So I left.

I was not in a good mood, if Viv had come with me I could have looked for somewhere else but she was going to come later. So I had to go back.

When I got back I tried looking for live commentary on the net. Twas then I discovered I had mis-timed anyway, it was all over.

Viv cooked the last of the lentils for tea. I think we had rather a lot, I was well stuffed. Viv it seems wanted ice Cream after but somehow the deadline past while the lentils settled so we will have to wait for again.

Back to Club Fulgor for our last time tonight. On our way we bumped into Mauricio outside a bar the next block to Fulgor. Still not sure what happened last night but he was waiting for Kym. So we left him and promised to meet up later.

The little lady on the door seized upon us again, seems there was another English couple there. She always grabs me as her translator, though for what use I am, I usually accede. This couple was Tania and Howard form near Keswick. They knew Maggie Fawcett who we had visited last year. It is a small world of tango in Cumbria.

I was asked to translate again when a Swiss guy came in. Slim pickings for him here, but he danced with Viv when I was off entertaining the old dears.

I managed to get Mariana up on the floor. She got only halfway around, protesting all the way “no se como” She was not half bad, for someone who had never danced before. I think I could have made a good tango dancer of her, but she was forever conscious of people watching.

All in all we had a great night. Won the sorteo again (more champagne) and kissed almost the whole of Villa Crespo. That’s it Fulgor for another year.


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Final Arranque

Our last trip to El Arranque. We had our usual seats and we literally danced our socks off. Viv said she only missed two tandas. I struggled when there was a DiAngelis vals seemed every time I looked I was just too late. Seemed like I managed to find the worst dancer in the room, but she seemed happy enough.

They had the cumbia, followed by Pugliese so I had a rest for a while, then it was right back to it. I exchanged emails with a few of the ladies, don’t know if they will ever write but nice of them to ask.

Soon though it was time to leave, muchos besos and “buen viajes” then back on the subte.

We were supposed to be meeting Mauricio and Kim at a place called Lo de Roberto. It looked a right dive from outside. Inside was not much better, We found a big table, sorry the only big table. This place was established in 1890, same furniture and sanitary fittings, I think. We ordered beer and already had trouble I thought she said “solo negra” well that would do for me, but when it came it was Schnider. We then had confusion over the negra she said “Si es negra” I finally worked out she was saying “Schnider”. I think she needs her adenoids removing.

We were starving and waited a while, but with no sign of our friends we decided to order some food.  No empanadas, everything else was just nachos and sort of picada. Viv ordered a lomo sandwich and I ordered something ham on a plate. Then we ordered some more nachos.

Well the whole lot would not keep a sparrow alive and when I saw the girl scooping nachos out of a jar with the hand that had just handled money. I thought enough.

We waited until ten, no sign of Mauricio or Kim so we retrenched to Imaginario for some empanadas.

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Los Floristas

We went out today to explore some museums. As is the way here nothing goes to plan. We took the subte to Las Heras and walked up Libertador. The first museum looked closed, perhaps we were at the wrong door, we walked around and could find no other entrance so we walked back. We saw another couple talk to the guard then look at their watches. Viv said to ask them, but it made more sense to ask the guard. “A las Dos” he said, so we tried the next museum.

The entrance was open and there was a working café there as well, it looked good. We walked through the door and spoke to the guard “A las dos martes a Domingo” he said. So it looked like we had almost three hours to kill.

So we walked up to Santa fe, stopping for coffee on the way. Viv still had some shopping to do, but we were having little success. Eventually we reached Alto Palermo and rain started She found some of what she wanted (at a very inflated price in my opinion) at least she was happy. I asked the girl if there was an Isadora here, she asked at the next stop then tried to tell me in English. “out there” ” Do you mean Santa fe?” “Si, turn left” pointing, “Do you mean right” “Si”. well we followed her directions but found no Isadora, so we gave up and headed back towards Libertador.

As we were now on Salguero, we decided to head for Malba. This was in fact open from 12 but we were not to know. It was $90 each entrada, and I have to say it was a waste of money. The building was beautiful but the art was mainly pretentious rubbish. There was modern art that looked like infant school paintings, Sheets of wood spray painted and framed, and some paintings that looked like Beryl Cook, they were the highlight.

The only really exciting thing was a wall mural that had been taken down restored and installed here. There was a video of the restoration and transportation and I was impressed with the care and attention to detail here.

There was an exhibition of sound, where various things were transposed into music box tunes; a video of the traffic and some other things that I just lost interest so much that I forget what it was.

Finally there was a moving set of pictures, photographs of Brazilian Indians, moved from their homes in the name of progress. The number tags they all wore were somehow dehumanizing, but poignant just the same.

We have new umbrellas, but they are at our apartment. We were stuck in Las Canitas in the heavy rain without them. We managed  to dodge under buildings until we found  good place for coffee to sit out the rain. It was still raining, though not so hard when we trudged the 20 blocks home.

After our poor parilla in Florida we though we would give it another try. Not far from us on Corrientes is a bar called Los Floristas, super parillada $450. We got there soaked despite the umbrella, the roads are, by now, flooded  and the broken flags spray water up your legs.

Super it was, we struggled with the chips and all the meat, even the salad. The waiter offered to box it up for us but we are too near going home and have most evenings planned. We hate to leave food but sometimes you just have to.

Soaked again on the way back, the trenches dug on every street don’t help. Time to just roll up and sit out the storm.

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