We have just finished a couple of weeks at language school learning some basic Spanish in Buenos Aires and Montevideo and are now waiting for the van to clear customs so we can begin the road trip proper.
Bruce here again…
School has been a bit of a shock to the system for me as I haven’t really done any serious, intense structured learning since my undergraduate days. Becca did have a bit of an advantage having done quite a lot of studying for various professional qualifications, but also not for a few years now! We’ve had four hours each week day morning of small, group classes that have taken us through the basics and got us started. It has definitely been worth it, as we’ve now got a very basic level of Spanish as a foundation that we can hopefully build on over the next couple of years. We’ve even had a few minor triumphs where we’ve successfully managed to communicate to do things like buy car insurance, book a haircut or book a table at a club etc, although it was slow and relied on the huge amounts of patience, friendliness and goodwill from those involved.
The course was also a good way to see both Buenos Aries and Montevideo, as the school we used has a centre in the middle of each city. This meant that we could fly into Buenos Aries, do the first week there and then move over to Montevideo for the second week whilst we waited for the van to arrive. We’ve rented apartments through AirBnB in each city near to each school, which has been an easy and relaxed way to experience living here.
We’ve found both cities to be very easy to get around in and people have been very helpful and friendly. It does seem to help when you start conversations in Spanish with “Mi disculpe, no hablo mucho español, ¡pero estudio!” (“Sorry, I don’t speak much Spanish but I study!”) and it generally induces a smile and a helpful response… As well as sightseeing and sampling the delights (mostly meat, wine and tango) of the two cities, we have managed to meet up with Rike & Martin, who were just about to set off from Buenos Aires to Rio in their van, and George & Irene, with whom we are sharing a shipping container for our vans from the UK.
The van is now sitting in the dock in Montevideo, having arrived Friday, and we have been told by our customs agent we will be able to open the container and collect the vans on Tuesday. That could be perfect timing, as we’ve got our apartment here in the heart of the city until Tuesday morning. Fingers crossed… Then we’re off up the coast to the north to start our trip proper.
Here are some images from our time in Buenos Aires. Click on an image to open the gallery and see the captions. Press escape (or X on a device) to return to this page.