Argentina 1806. British flags can be seen sailing down Rio de la Plata and for 46 days the British Army occupied Buenos Aires. A year later, the British army once again try unsuccessfully to occupy the Viceroyal region of South America, attacking and occupying Montevideo for a couple of months.
Meanwhile, criollos, South American born Spaniards, who had been denied roles with political power, gained strength in military positions. During these British invasions, as part of the Anglo-Saxon war, criollos gain power within their military status. On the 25th of May, 1810, the Spanish Viceroy is overthrown and Buenos Aires is run by the local military government.
Six years later, it’s official. The 9th of July, 1816, Argentina is Independent from its Spanish rulers.
Two hundred years later, Hannah and myself roll in on a bus to the bustling metropolis, Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is huge. In fact it has the widest avenue in the world. And guess what, it’s called 9 de Julio. So in a city like this you’d expect grand celebrations, particularly on it’s 200th anniversary. And that’s exactly what we got.
There were food stall lining the streets, traditional dancing, theatrical representations of the War of Independence, orchestra performances, opera singers, national singers. There were so many activities to choose from.
Imagine walking down this street:
With food stalls from all around the world. What would you choose to eat? Hannah and I kept it local and tried the national Argentine Stew, Locro. When you’re watching an Argentine cook it in a huge pot, the thick potato and meat stew is hard to resist.
We didn’t have to go far to feel the patriotic pride. Eating our locro out of a plastic container we watch the scenes in front of us:
Meanwhile, the hostel we had checked in to, Milhouse Hostel Hipo had its own itinerary. Actually it always runs on its own party itinerary. With over 200 beds available across their two available hostels you’re not going to have a quiet night.
For the night after Independence Day celebrations, which was very much a family orientated event, Hannah and I battle the younger crowd. We start at the hostel and immerse ourselves amongst the foreigners. Unfortunately that can be one of the traps of hostel travelling -stuck in the foreigner bubble. But at 1am a group of us head out to Palermo, the clubbing suburb of Buenos Aires. You tend to loose track of time at night, but I felt like the club peaked about 5am and when we left about 6:30am, things were still going strong.
There really is no denying, that Buenos Aires makes things big.