In love with Buenos Aires
Ten minutes into our taxi ride from the airport to the hotel and I asked my husband if we could move to Buenos Aires. What can I say I am in love with this city!! Mr. B on the other hand had a different impression. In his defense though he was a bit apprehensive after hearing a few tales from other travelers about getting mugged on the subway etc. I on the other hand was enamored by this energetic, lively, complex and seductive city.
Here are some of my recommendations. I have deliberately left out information which you can easily get from guide books such as timings, ticket prices etc.
Do take in a tango show. It’s an intimate dance form depicting love, emotion, heartbreak and passion. Portenos ( Buenos Aires locals) prefer to listen to tango rather than see it at their ‘Centro cultural’ and this would probably be the most authentic and least expensive way to experience tango but requires a bit of planning. Another great way to experience tango is to do it yourself at a milonga. A milonga can either be a venue or an event and often starts with a dance lesson followed by a tanda, which is 3-5 set of songs played in a row. Usually couples are supposed to dance a whole tanda together and are then free to change partners after each tanda. Best milongas are La Catedral (located in an old converted factory. Mostly frequented by a younger crowd. They offer beginner’s lessons every Tuesdays) and La Viruta (a classic and popular milonga. Open till late on Fri and Sat). If you are the type to see than try to dance yourself then head to El Viejo Almacen, a classy and intimate affair and located in a historic venue. This show is a mix of solo performances, a group of couples, live orchestra and some local musical numbers.
If there is one site that you should not miss out in Buenos Aires then it should be the Recoleta Cemetry. One of its kind, this is where the rich and powerful people of Buenos Aires come to be buried. Count on spending at least three hours in this elegant and serene place and if possible take a guided tour, every Tue & Thurs at 11 am (free of cost in English). The cemetery is lined with beautifully adorned mausoleums, small churches, temples and pyramids. Of course most people come here to visit Evita’s tomb.
If all the walking made you hungry then head over to El Sanjuanino for some of the best empanadas. A short five-minute walk from the Recoleta cemetery located at 1515 posadas. This place is cheap and oh so good. My favorite here was spicy beef.
Another place not to miss is La Boca. La Boca in Spanish means “the mouth”, so called as this port area served as an entry point for thousands of Italian, Spanish and European immigrants. Probably not the one of the best neighborhoods in Buenos Aires but for sure the most vibrant!! Be sure to head over to Caminito to see the brightly colored conventillos, shared homes made of wood and corrugated zinc. This square is generally full of Tango dancers. I would highly recommend not going to this neighborhood after dark.
Do stop by Cafe Tortoni, selected as one of the 10 most beautiful cafes of the world. You can’t be so close and yet miss this
! Do try their espresso and churros among other tasty delights. Established in 1858 this is the oldest café in the country. Take a moment and try to soak in the atmosphere. This café is beautifully decorated with some Tiffany lamps and art nouveau touches. Do expect to see more tourist than locals but still totally worth a visit.
Here are a few pictures from my trip. Have fun!!