The start of our journey South – Good morning, bonne journeé y buenas noches
Day 1 – Hello and welcome to Group 2’s blog!
We were warned of the high standards that the first group has set for the Antarctic expedition and competitive bets have been set. Our group composes of 7 undergraduates, 6 postgraduates students, and our lecturer Kelly, all to join Sonja in Ushuaia.
Four of us arrived to Argentina several days before the rest of the group and had some time to settle into the climate and culture. They became our local guides leading the flock around once everyone had landed. Jess and I had a 6am flight on the 16th from Edinburgh – I took leaving my flat in snow to be a blessing for our voyage. This did however mean the plane had to be de-iced and the delay was increased with a passenger requiring paramedics on arrival at Charles-de-Gaulle airport (France). Once within the airport building it turned out the shuttle bus between terminals was broken. Poor Jess had to sprint along the concrete underground tunnel in sandals and a heavy backpack to reach terminal 28L, through security and then we had to run further using the travellators to reach our gate 36!
Completely out of breath we made it to the gate just in time and boarded our 13hr flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. A huge heat wave welcomed us stepping off the plane – we hopped in a taxi and collapsed straight into bed at our hotel for the night. Time zones were mocking our 23.5 hours of being awake calling it only half past midnight.
The morning of the 17th saw more of our group arriving in Buenos Aires and we amassed at Hotel Sofitel – previously known as ‘the brick’. Since being met with silence to answering “St Andrews” as to where I am from, I’ve learnt to say Scotland. The goal for the day was to successfully say “gracias” rather than thank you in any other language (sad to say I failed quite horribly with ‘grazie’ and ‘merci’ on multiple occasions). This cultural confusion expanded into me needing to hold people’s hand to cross roads otherwise in my panic I would have been left stranded on the other side.
Hand-led by our locals we visited ‘La Panera Rosa’ for a brunch and I was introduced to empanadas and pink sauce which was subsequently hunted for in every menu. We visited the ‘La Recoleta Cemetry’ which contained gorgeous statues and stained glass its city of mausoleums. This was followed by visiting library ‘El Ateneo Grand Splendid’, a converted theatre. We ended the night with a feast at ‘Rodi Bar’. The table was laden with empanadas, steak, chorizo, pasta (with pink sauce of course) and red wine. With checked bags in the hotel corridor, we set alarms for 4.30 am preparing for our flight to Ushuaia.
Hope you enjoy hearing about the rest of our trip and thank you all.