So, to begin, I have to say that the hotel we stayed in Buenos Aires was quite nice; everywhere you turned the staff was helpful and made every effort to make you happy. Mr. Sanders and I were excited to have more than 3 feet of space between us! Our cabin on the ship was tight. We had two T.V.’s, a chaise lounge, desk and an enormous bed! Our flight leaving to go to Rio was in the afternoon; so, we had time.
We took advantage of the breakfast offered at the hotel and then decided to meander around the district, exploring a little before our 1 p.m. pickup to go to the airport. It was a lovely day in Buenos Aires. The temperature was about 80 degrees without any humidity. We made our way to a local park area in the Recoletta district. There was a little city of booths being setup with people selling their crafts, handmade treasures and some occasional food. It is a good thing that they were setting up because I seem to like looking at that kind of stuff. J The hotel (Melia) agreed to hold on to all of our arctic wear so that we could travel with only our summer things! Even if I wanted to buy things, I really couldn’t. There isn't room in our summer bag!
We made our way over to an impressive building – it looked kind of like the Museum of Science and Industry. Big. Columns on the perimeter. Old. Dirty. It was impressive, though. It had a presence as if to say, “I am here and pay attention!” It was the Buenos Aires School of Law. Further down there was a giant sculpture that Mr. S. needed a photo with. It was a giant lotus flower, silver and in the same style of “The Bean” in Chicago. Another cheesy photo opportunity lead me to posing like one of the strange advertisements that we saw all over the street. People seemed to have strange facial expressions to sell something as simple as a sell phone. Perhaps, I was in a silly mood. There was a photo in our lobby above the headboard from Eva Peron’s bed when she lived in the apartments in the hotel.
Walking down the street, we hear someone say, “I hear English, you must be American.” Can you believe that after chatting with the couple, we found out that they are friends with a pair that we met on the voyage to Antarctica? The woman of the couple is a travel agent in the states and had a ton of business cards for us for tour opportunities in Rio! What luck! We haven’t really planned what we are going to do here yet.
We wanted back to the hotel, stored our luggage and found our driver waiting for us as promised. Again, all of the people have been so nice and follow through with what they say they are going to do.
The flight from Buenos Aires to Rio was smooth and quick. The three and a half hour flight brought us to Rio around 7:30 “Buenos Aires Pacific Time.” Coming into the city, you could immediately tell the difference in geography. We flew over water for most of the flight. It was exciting to finally see land. The view offered mounding green hills with almost river like veins surrounding each mound. Things were very green and not as if chards of giant pieces of chocolate were rising out of the earth. After going through customs without a problem, we found a taxi and arrived at the Sofitel Copacabana. The hotel is fantastic. Great service. Pretty top notch.
We ate at the hotel, relaxed and enjoyed the soft, warm breeze of Rio from the hotel’s restaurant patio. Our hotel overlooks the south end of Copacabana. I see beautiful beaches, calm waters and paddle boarders as I write this. We have five days here – so some relax time is planned! Though, you know Mr. S. I will be looking to do some wild and adventurous things as usual!
Mr. Szymanski is a 1st grade teacher at Walt Disney Elementary School in Chicago, IL. He is bringing the world to his classroom with the help of National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. Here, he chronicles his adventures to Antarctica and South America in December 2014.