We arrived Saturday evening around 6pm with a familiar excitement for being in a new place once again. It took the bus 5 minutes to transport us from the station to our two-day residence, Cool Raul Hostel. Omar was the nice young man, who sports big curly red/blonde afro hair, who is the heir owner of the hostel. Yes he is grandson of the cool Raul himself. The atmoshere of this hostel was much like that of a friend's house. Omar and the rest of the crew were so open and friendly, it was strangely as if we had all known each other for years. There was no awkward 'where are you from and what do you stand for?' conversation. The ice was broken once we arrived. My joy for travels were immediately refreshed in my mind once we met the other travelers passing time at the Cool Raul. After a yummy pizza dinner at the Malteria just two blocks from the hostel, we all started the night of consuming Quilmes (beer of choice in Argentina) and mingling with our newest network of friends. (In pic below/left is Omar, myself, Rodrigo and Shanina. Below center is Laura (Germany) and William (aka Prince Harry from England. Below right is Mike, his two girlfriends and I)
Oh, you didn't hear about the protests? Neither did we until after they happened. Sunday was a huge holiday in Argentina, 25 de Mayo, which is the Argentine national holiday in memory of the Argentine revolution. We were well aware of the holiday but didn't expect there to be a 350,000-person protest in Rosario. Why the protests? You may have guessed it, the farmers are resuming their strike as a reasonable compromise has yet to be reached between the government and the farmers. After collecting our wits from our fun night, we walked the city which didn't take too long and were able to see the aftermath of the protests. People were walking the streets wearing flags, we weren't really sure if it was for the protests or the holiday... or both. (Pictured below/left is Parque Nacional de las banderas. Pictured below right is just one of the many who was sporting the flag. Blue and white was everywhere)
With all of that said, we still really enjoyed seeing the city center and Parque Nacional de las Banderas. This plaza had a true Argentine ambience with all of the flags and people dressed in the national colors, light blue and white. We proceeded to eat at VIP, a little restaurant along the river meanwhile watching the Boca Juniors futbol game. Boca Juniors is the popular team in Argentina and you either love them or you hate them. After walking the city to the fullest, we returned to the Cool Raul and mingled more only to live up another night as 25 year olds in yet another 25 and up club. Needless to say, Rosario came through with its promise of good nightlife, fresh air, nice/beautiful people and good small-town atmosphere.
Upon returning to Buenos Aires, I felt a renewed energy from the weekend travels. Before this weekend, it was as if I had forgotten that I was living in another country, it had all become too comfortable. This renewed energy stimulated from the Rosario weekend has only spurred my motivation to travel and see as much of this country as I can in the coming months. It all brought me in full circle to my message from Euro travels, live your life, it is so easy to forget sometimes we only have once to fulfill the life we want to live.