And suddenly it started!
Saturday morning we were still sitting relaxed at breakfast - by lunch time we had already packed the first suitcases. What had happened? After our originally planned flight on 04.07. was cancelled due to a new entry regulation, we waited five weeks for this moment - and suddenly it was there. On Friday, the Argentine government gave the green light for unmarried bi-national couples to enter the country, and we started looking for a flight (which was quite a challenge in pandemic times and with a maximum of 1700 passengers allowed to enter Argentina per day). Challenge accepted! Without any time to think about it, we booked online two last-minute vacant seats with Air France via Paris the next day - which should change the comfortable Saturday morning fundamentally. Organizing PCR tests, reorganizing the already unpacked suitcases, studying entry regulations, filling out documents, inviting friends to a spontaneous farewell beer and a last lunch with the family the next morning - then it was off with plenty of luggage to Stuttgart airport. Less than 24 hours later, a little tired but overjoyed and full of anticipation, we finally entered Argentina in the dawn of wintry Buenos Aires and were very warmly welcomed by Ricardo, Marina's father - including a self-made welcome poster =)
First, 10 days of quarantine were announced - despite complete vaccination and two PCR tests within two days. So it was off to our quarantine apartment in Palermo, in the center of Buenos Aires. The first thing to do was to arrive, sleep in and adjust to the new environment. One might think that the overnight change from German summer to Argentinean winter might be difficult - but in reality it went from a cloudy 20 degrees in Germany to a sunny 15 degrees in Buenos Aires, which was quite acceptable (even if at night, with temperatures around freezing, we were very happy about the small heater in the apartment). From our experiences last year, we were both pretty quarantine-tested and quickly found our rhythm. Officially, we were not allowed to leave our apartment or have contact with anyone else and we stuck to that. Fortunately, the delivery services here in Buenos Aires are quite fit, so that we could do our shopping comfortably by app order and were delivered quickly by motorcycle to our house - as well as delicious "milanesas" (breaded beef), pizza and of course lots of empanadas. During the day, we used the free time, especially in the mornings on our sunny balcony, to concretize the months of planning and preparations and to get everything up and running: Creating our company, buy our car, make travel preparations - Let`s get started! The sports program in the afternoon consisted of yoga, Blackroll and TRX units - as good as it was possible in a one-room apartment - before the daily dinner was the highlight and our well-filled Netflix favorites list was worked off bit by bit. So the first days in Argentina passed in quarantine mode, limited but quite productive. A visit to the pub across the street with freshly tapped beer in the sun was nevertheless urgently longed for - fortunately it was not long away!
We waited in vain until the end for the big announced quarantine controls. From day to day the tension increased, whether someone would really visit us - but it remained with a single control call already after a few days. After we were informed that the quarantine, which was actually scheduled for 10 days, could be ended prematurely with a negative result of the final PCR test on day seven, the hope for "freedom" was great and plans for a family visit to Marina's parents were quickly made. Then finally the time had come: On Sunday morning we set out and walked once across the city, to the test center in "La Rural". This morning excursion was of course enjoyed extensively and so we crossed the empty streets of the chic and colorful district of Palermo, the zoological Ecopark and La Plaza Alemania - the German square in Buenos Aires. The test center was surprisingly well organized, but the registration was not prepared for foreigners without DNI (identity card), so we already had slight doubts during the registration (just with the only two digits in Christian's passport) whether we would really get the result via app the following day, but we tried our luck. On the way back we quickly bought fruits and vegetables in one of the numerous "Verdulerías" and had our first "Choripan" (Argentinean version of a hearty sausage in a bun) including a cold "Cerveza" - heavenly delicious! Then we went back to the apartment and the hopefully last quarantine day was used full of anticipation to pack, prepare for the family visit and comfortably end our quarantine.
Marina already had her result on her cell phone on Monday morning: Negative. We continued to wait, wait and wait for Christian's result. When nothing was retrievable until the evening and we were only informed on the phone about the up to possible 72 hours until receiving a PCR result, the hope for an early end of the quarantine was pursued and it was extended by at least one day. The next day, after exchanging ideas with other non-Argentine citizens and their experiences with quarantine testing, it was clear that the feared complications with registration were confirmed: the system was simply not designed for foreigners. So on Tuesday evening we went to the test center again on our own and when even there the result could not be found, we did a quick antigen test and 30 minutes later we had the result in our hands: Negative. So it was clear: We could move into our new apartment in the quieter "Colegiales" district the next day as planned and finally visit Marina's family. But there was one thing left to do and to enjoy to the fullest, exactly: The freshly tapped beer and a delicious "Picada" (selection of cold meat, sausages and cheese) in the pub across the street! Our things were quickly packed the next morning, after a breakfast in the café across the street, we checked out with Alejandro, the owner of our apartment, and with, due to our much luggage, two Uber cabs we went to our new home in Colegiales, where our new host Marco was already waiting for us. Less hustle and bustle, more light, pretty balcony plants and a sparkling clean, well-equipped new apartment was occupied - our home for the next two months: Hola and welcome!