In Courconnect, we try to highlight local activities that could interest our students. Moreover, we test them to ensure the qualities of these activities!
Few weeks ago, I personally tested for you the Buenos Aires City Tour on Electric Bike! This visit, provided by the company Bike n’Wander, has for peculiarity to be dedicated to the respect of the environment. Before the tour, we are invited to bring our own bottles and gourds to participate in the reduction of plastic consumption in the world.
In this article, you will follow my route during these 3 hours, from Recoleta to Palermo Soho. Then you could find some general information about the tour as well as my personal opinion about this activity.
We meet Natalia, our guide for today, at 9:15 in front of the Recoleta cemetery, in the neighbourhood of the same name. After a little welcome pitch, it’s time to discover our machines! The electric bike is a trendy means of transport that you could see in more and more cities in the world because, besides being environment-friendly, it brings the advantages of the bike while limiting the physical efforts. We are also equipped with an earphone connected with Natalia’s microphone who will tell us the history of different monuments of Buenos Aires that we will see. After a little warm-up to master the bike, we are ready to pedal in the city!
We are learning about the history of Buenos Aires in the first minutes, we passed in front of the National Gallery and a strategic residence of General San Martin, one of the iconic characters of the Argentinian Independence. We were following the Avenida Libertador when I realized that Buenos Aires is a city perfectly adapted to the circulation of cyclists; Natalia confirmed that the city has one of the best bike-path networks of the continent. We continued to the different parks of Palermo where it is even more pleasant to cycle.
After almost 1 hour, we entered in one of the numerous polo stadiums that the city has. We also see the Argentinian Hippodrome, one of the most known of the country. Then, we go back to Plaza Italia in order to arrive quickly in Palermo Soho. Near to Plaza Serrano we discovered some pieces of street art, very present in this neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. We took time to enjoy a banana and a cereal bar generously offered by Natalia before leaving the place to continue the visit in Palermo Soho.
Already two hours passed and we go back slowly to Recoleta, appreciating the sweetness of a bike ride. On our way, we discovered a monument honouring Eva Perón, one of the icons of the country who particularly worked in the right of votes for women. We finished our 3-hours loop where we began to ride, in front of the Recoleta cemetery.
So, this 3-hours tour enables us to know two of the most important cultural neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires: Palermo and Recoleta. However, the city is huge and it exists numerous other cultural attractions. Bike n’Wander also proposes 5-hours and 7-hours city tours with a picnic included in the last one.
I did have a pleasant morning with this City Tour in Electric Bike. It was my first time on an electric bike and the machine is rather easy to use. However, even there is assistance, you will need all your legs to ride in the city, after a 3-hours tour, you could find some signs of exhaustion! Our guide Natalia was very sympathetic, always here to help us with our bike and she knows lots of anecdotes about the city of Buenos Aires. If you would like to discover the history and the treasures of Buenos Aires in an original manner, this activity is made for you!
The 3-hours tour cost $49,00 whereas the 5-hours tour cost $79,00 and the 7-hours tour cost $119,00. Besides the Spanish, the tour could be dispensed in English or in Brazilian Portuguese, but don’t hesitate to enjoy this tour in Spanish in order to enhance your Spanish skills with local guides!
All the information you could need is on the website: http://bikenwander.com
Like it or not, any foreigner that comes to Argentina will have to drink mate someday. (At least if you wanna have a social life here with Argentineans).
The problem is that besides its particular and bitter taste, the act of drinking mate has a very specific ritual. Many foreigners get confused and become “boludos” in front of everyone.
To save you from embarrassment, here goes a list of implicit rules that every Argentinean knows, but no one has ever explained to you.
Usually the owner of the house or of the mate volunteers himself to prepare it. He will heat the water, put the yerba and he will drink the first sip. Don’t freak out if he spits, it is normal! The first dosis is really strong, and no one likes it.
Don’t try to be the cool guy, by offering to prepare the mate! Bear in mind that if you prepare, you must know how to do it and you will have to keep filling mate for everyone until the water is over! (And you cannot forget the order of the group, otherwise things can get ugly)
That is right, the “mate cup” keeps moving around the group, but the hot water stays with the same person all the time. Don’t try to understand or to criticize them, that is how they have been doing for centuries and they won’t change haha
(If you wanna be the cool guy, learn how to do it first )
Eletric kettles in Argentina already heat the water at the perfect temperature for Mate (80 degrees Celcius). But if you have a conventional kettle you must turn off the heat before it boils. If you forget, you have to add some cold water to it or wait until it cools down a little bit.
NEVER put boiling water to mate BOLUDO, because it will burn the yerba and you will ruin it!
Frequent habit of 10 out of 10 foreigners drinking mate, this is a CRIME for the Argentineans. When you receive the mate, drink it the way it is. DO NOT touch the little straw and UNDER NO circumstances move the yerba.
If you feel the straw is clogged, warn the owner of the mate, because he will know what to do.
The mate is distributed in single dosis, and each person has to drink their dosis and the return the mate to the one with the water. You cannot return the mate with some water inside left, it is very rude, so drink it until you hear the noise of sucking air.
You also are not supposed to take top long to drink it, because people in line will start complaining. If it is too hot wait a little bit or warn the one with the water.
As I already said, every round has an order of people, and they follow this order religiously. So do not try to cut the line, and if you are the one preparing it, never miss the order when distributing it.
This rule is awful, because it goes against my need to be polite… But that is how the do it. You should not say “Gracias” when you receive the mate, neither when you return it.
The “gracias” must ONLY be used when you return the mate and you DONT WANNA DRINK ANYMORE. It works like saying “thanks, I’m full”.
Although many Argentineans drink mate in their extremely hot summer, is very usual for some people to change it for Tererê. (I think it is much better)
Usually they make 1l of juice in powder (Grapefruit or Apple) and they mix with the yerba. All mate rules apply the same for Tererê
It is a polemic topic, but according to the region you are, or where the mate’s owner comes from, mate can be served with sugar.
Don’t get used, though, to have sugar in your mate, because it is not something you can ask in a regular mate round “Put some sugar for me plz”, because this is impossible.
When you buy the mate cup, if you wanna put sugar, you have to “cook” it in a specific manner, is very complicated. My suggestion is: just drink what you are given to.
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