Tag: toddler

Argentina Day 13: Exploring Mercado San Telmo

After some more research last night, we learned Sunday is a great day for markets, art displays and carnival parades in the city. We took an Uber to Mercado San Telmo, the market named after the patron saint of sailors, St Elmo.

Sunday morning at Mercado San Telmo

Opening in 1897 to cater to the new wave of European immigrants, Mercado San Telmo still bears the same steel beams and structure as the original although some stalls have been updated.

There are stalls of antiques, bakeries, toys, jewelry, spices, butchers, vegetables and record albums. It truly is “un poco de todo,” a bit of everything.

Jewelry stall at Mercado San Telmo
Antique toy sewing machines
Semi-scary antique baby dolls

We came just after demolishing breakfast at our hotel, so we didn’t have much room for sampling things.

Tapas stall at Mercado San Telmo
Kneading the empañada dough

The market has grown so large over the years that it spills out of the original indoor space and radiates into the nearby streets.

Art fair at San Telmo

Just off the main fair you can find the French Salon, a small offset of higher end indoor shops. It caught my eye online thanks to the display of umbrellas spanning across the street.

#1Toddler soaking in the culture

After an ice cream and coffee, we caught another Uber back to the park near our hotel as #1Toddler has been asking for a “big park” for three days straight. Apparently the world’s largest waterfall didn’t count since it didn’t have a slide.

Plenty of slides to choose from at Plaza Vicente López

After the park at Plaza Vicente López we headed back to the hotel to hit the pool. It’s 75 and sunny today, so the pool is chilly but tolerable if you stay in the sun. The pool attendant pulled out a water noodle for #1Toddler to enjoy, and she quickly named it “my rainbow.”

Mural near Mercado San Telmo

I’m starting to feel a tad exhausted, so I think it’s time for a siesta before dinner tonight and boating tomorrow. I want to rest up because tomorrow is going to be a bear. We have a whole day in BA before our flight home which leaves at midnight.

-Steph

Argentina Day 12: From Iguazú back to Buenos Aires

So I’ve already been corrected that when we head back to Buenos Aires (BA) today we in fact have two nights in BA, not just one. We opted to stay at Hotel Recoleta Grand for these last two nights which is slightly more northeast in the city and allows for easy walking to different sites we didn’t yet explore when in BA at the start of our trip.

I’ve already mentioned how efficient the airport checkin process is here in Argentina, but there’s more to it than that. I looked it up, but it seems that in 1998, Autopuertos Argentina 2000 was founded. It’s a large group with over 2300 employees that operates all aspects of Argentina’s 35 airports.

At face value, it seems to work extremely well. Simple things like a single WiFi network across all airports ensure when you get off your plane, you automatically connect to WiFi. Each airport uses the same signage and security processes (imagine if the TSA had the same expectations at every location). Things are integrated and fairly seamless across the different airports. It makes it predictable and more navigable as a foreigner.

We had an uneventful 1.5 hour flight from Iguazú to BA, grabbed an Uber and checked into our hotel. Tired and sweaty, we cleaned up and rested for a bit before heading to dinner at Rufino, a typical Argentinian restaurant just a few blocks from our hotel.

Amir ordered a 20 oz bone-in ribeye, and I opted for pasta. #1Toddler devoured yet another sausage sampler. We ate too much. Sorry, no food porn as the lighting was dim, but you can check out the restaurant here if you are curious.

Tomorrow we plan to checkout the boat tours of the Río de la Plata. We don’t have a reservation yet, so we might not be able to make it happened. Regardless, we are central to activities that will please everyone in this crowd.

-Steph

Checking out of Loi Suites, Iguazú

Argentina Day 9: Hiking to Tacul Beach

We awoke this morning, finished watching “Cars” and picked a hiking trail for the day. Tacul Beach, 1.5 hours and rated medium, seemed like a great fit.

Scenic views from the trail to Tacul Beach

The website billed the terrain as “flat,” so given our success two days ago in reaching Sendero de los Arrayanes, we set forth with our CitiMini stroller in tow.

It wasn’t long before the terrain turned bumpy with rocks and roots crisscrossing the trail. We decided the only way to continue forward was to leave the stroller behind and for Amir to carry #1Toddler on his shoulders.

Considering and dreading the trek back, we almost turned around before reaching the beach. That surely would have been a mistake.

Crystal clear water at Tacul Beach

As soon as we arrived, #1Toddler scooped up a handful of pebbles and shouted “Splash! Splash! Splash!” I’m not sure what it is about throwing rocks into water, but she could do it for hours.

Rock throwing champion

We lucked out with the weather. No rain today and 60 degrees. The cools temps didn’t stop some young Argentinian women from bikini sunbathing though. Sorry, no photos.

We made it!

We spent about an hour at the beach, resting, throwing rocks, getting our toes wet and polishing off some leftover chocolate from Chocolatería Rama yesterday. It was hard to leave, but we knew we had a rough trek back and didn’t want to have to rush.

The for the trek back, Amir carried her on his shoulders until we caught back up with our stroller. We just gave ourselves permission to stop and rest as often as needed which made the return trip pretty tolerable.

Cleopatra took a nap in her stroller

All the rest stops along the way made for a great opportunity to snap a last few photos.

We reached the car starving and desperate to find a baño for me. I’d spotted a small café on one of our many drives through town. We decided to give it a try.

Chaido Tea Room & Café

The place reminded me of a young grandmas house. Eclectic decor, small, intimate and laced with detail.

We found a table near the window and quickly made some menu selections.

We ordered the waffles with creme, two sandwiches and two fresh fruit juice blends.

Prosciutto, Brie, tomato and arugula on multigrain bread
Café con Nutella (Coffee with Nutella)

#1Toddler not having had much of a nap was restless, so we had to pay up and skip dessert.

Admiring the decor at Chiado
Do the outdoor seating if you can

Tonight we have to pack up for our flight to stop #3 on this Argentinian adventure, Iguazú Falls. On the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú Falls are the largest waterfalls in the world, despite Victoria and Niagara Falls sometimes trying to steal the title. The weather should be sunny in the low 90s, and our hotel has a pool. I’m ready.

-Steph

Argentina Day 1: Getting there is half the fun (when it involves travel perks)

You may recall that the last time we flew to Denmark, we came back on a first class upgrade. I knew that was going to be trouble. Once you experience it, especially with a toddler, it’s hard to go back.

Amir had a solution for this. Back in the states a week, he’d sorted out which credit cards and flier clubs we needed to join to ensure an elevated travel experience from here on out. If you want details, ask him, but in short it involved the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card with Priority Pass as a start.

British Airways lounge in Terminal B

The other way this trip is already different for us is that I am traveling while 20 weeks pregnant. No major alterations to our usually pretrip prep – except I scheduled a special visit to the Infectious Disease travel clinic to ensure my vaccinations were all up to date, and to learn about any exposure or other safety considerations for this trip. Turns out Zika is still a thing, but there are just as many cases in the US as Argentina. Fortunately most of my immunizations from traveling to Rwanda are still valid.

“Get some insect repellant with <30% DEET and don’t forget your sunscreen.” Easy. Check. Plus 2 “just in case” doses of azithromycin for any GI bugs.

“And any red meat has to be cooked well done.” Hrumph. We are only going to the red wine and red meat capital of the world. I’ve decided to order decadent seafood and chocolate wherever and whenever possible.

Static cling letters and animals are great for window seat entertainment

As I always say, the key to surviving 5+ hour flights with an infant or toddler is preparation. Small toys without parts that are easily lost are key. This trip we added static cling window cutouts since #1Toddler is big into her ABCs these days. We also brought two magnetic puzzles that help limit lost pieces.

If you can swing it, lay flat seats guarantee a solid nap

All our flights arrived on time. We flew Avianca for the first time and were quite pleased. We arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires and easily summoned an Uber to take us to our AirBnB.

Raphael met us in the lobby of our AirBnB to ensure a smooth checkin. We’ve had some great luck with AirBnB wins the last few years and were delighted with an artful apartment in a historic building with breezy balconies and more square footage than anyone would reasonably expect for an urban setting like this.

Of course now we are all three thrown off on time. Amir and I want to nap, but #1Toddler is requesting a trip to the park and sliced apples. Here’s to hoping for a second wind.

Denmark Day 4: LEGOLAND!

Yesterday we travelled by train (x 2) and bus from Copenhagen to Billund, the site of LEGOLAND. There’s an option to fly here from Copenhagen, but it still means a train or bus to the airport, then another bus to the park. Renting a car is reportedly the easiest option, but incredibly expensive (like many things here).

So we opted to test out the robust public transportation system here. Not the easiest trip ever, but two thumbs up for a national public transit system that lets you seamlessly “swipe in” with one access card for the whole country and across all modes. No separate fares for trains, buses or the metro. Also friendly if you want to bring your bike or stroller.

Specific cars are designated for bikes and strollers, plus free WiFi!

Last night we stayed at Hotel Svaden, roughly 700m from the park entrance, but 1/4 the cost of a night at the official LEGOLAND Hotel. It served its purpose.

The park opens at 10am daily. We stopped for breakfast at an Espresso House, right across the street from the park prior to entering and avoided breakfast at a pricey all-you-can-eat buffet.

Rain ponchos thankfully come in adult and kids sizes

The only negative about today – the weather. Today was 62 degrees and rainy, the entire day. As Amir said, “what are we going to do, go back to Copenhagen?” So in Louka style, we made the most of it.

Admittedly, the yellow ponchos were pretty fun. I now feel bad for the multitude of people I’ve made fun of over the years at various theme parks. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I’m pretty sure the LEGOLAND website can do a better job showcasing everything the park has to offer in much greater detail, so I’m just going to drop some photos and small details.

Nyhavn a la LEGO

Nyhavn in real life

It was fun seeing the sites of Denmark built intricately in hundreds of thousands of LEGOs, particular scenes like Nyhavn which we’d visited just two days earlier.

After riding on a Jungle Safari, we headed to Duplo land, a playground designed just for kids under six. With a hospital, an ambulance and 3 slides, it was everything this team wanted.

Someone didn’t feel like driving the ambulance

Next we headed to the carousel to ride a horse. The ride allows a parent to stand in the middle and chaperone a little one, which is nice at our age.

She went once with her MaMa then immediately wanted a turn with DaDa

After the carousel, the rain had intensified, so we went in search of an indoor activity and landed at Atlantis, the aquarium. There’s a short film before entering the aquarium itself, but you are quickly greeted by sharks, clown fish, stingrays and various other colorful creatures.

LEGO sculptures live under water with the sea life

A little damp, but everyone is still smiling

LEGO submarine and a stingray

After the aquarium we met and hugged a beautiful princess and indulged in strawberry ice cream at the request of #1Toddler.

She also tried cotton candy or “candy floss” for the first time

We would have stayed a tad longer, but #1Toddler eventually passed out in the stroller.

No question what was Amir’s favorite

We took the bus-train-train route back to our hotel and exhausted, enjoyed a nice dinner in the warmth and convenience of our hotel restaurant.

The train is always the scenic route

Buses run every 30 minutes

These $3 IKEA stacking cups are a must have for out & about


Some photo odds & ends:

Cape Canaveral, FL

The Royal Palace, Copenhagen

Everyone was tired by the end