I loved the days I spent in Buenos Aires. The city’s neighborhoods are very different but worth visiting depending on the experience you’re after. On our first day there we had breakfast at the hundred and fifty year old Cafe Tortoni. I had a cafe con leche and three medialunas (croissants) and my boyfriend went for a hot chocolate and three churros (fried-dough pastry). The croissants were smaller and sweeter than a typical French croissant. The cafe is charming with beautiful wooden panels, lots of pictures and waiters dresses in elegant suits.
After breakfast we headed south of the city to La Boca. La Boca is the birthplace of tango and soccer player Maradona. Italian immigrants took over this part of town and made it their own by painting the exterior of buildings in bright colours. We walked el caminito, a popular street in La Boca with artists, souvenir shops and tango performers inviting us to sit down at their restaurant for a tango performance. La Boca has a huge soccer stadium and it could make for an interesting experience to watch a game with the soccer crazed locals. Life size puppets celebrate the local celebrity Maradona and even Evita, the other well known Argentinian figure.
San Telmo is not a must see destination however our hotel happened to be in this neighbourhood so we decided to see what it has to offer. The neighbourhood has a few interesting thrift stores and unique pubs and steakhouses. We stayed at Axel Hotel Buenos Aires & Urban Spa Hotel, who’s motto is “Walls are optional”. It’s a trendy hotel with concrete walls and floors and a pool and spa on the top floor. This might not be the best choice for those traveling with someone who’s not a partner or love interest. As the motto indicates, the rooms have very little privacy. The shower is a glass box in the middle of the room with no way of preventing someone from looking in.
Next we visited El Ateneo bookstore in Barrio Norte, a must see area of Buenos Aires. The bookstore is located in an old beautiful theater. The setup is perfect for spending an afternoon reading a book and sipping a cup of coffee.
Recoleta cemetery is reminiscent of Prazeres Cemetery in Lisbon, Portugal. The graves are built like houses and decorated with beautiful sculptures. A lot of past Argentinian presidents rest here. East of the cemetery, we took the elevator down to enter Buenos Aires Design, an entire mall of home furnishings and hardware fixtures and the epicentre of Argentinian home decor.
If shopping is your thing you have to check out the Palermo Viejo neighbourhood. There are many designer stores that amazed me not only for the beautiful clothes but for their decor and modern interior design. Palermo also has many trendy restaurants and the occasional charming cupcake shop. In a future post I’ll be sharing my experience at one of the best steakhouses in Palermo Viejo.
I was adamant about seeing a tango show in Argentina. Most shows start around 10 PM and have a cover charge. We finished dinner early and walked around trying to find a cafe that had a performance starting early. We got to Bar Sur and the owner quoted us a cover charge but when he saw we were ready to walk away lowered the price to about $40 USD per person which included a glass of wine. Bar Sur is a small cafe and there were only two other couples in the place. The show contained of a three piece band, a wonderful singer and the two tango performers. Each act took turns and then performed together. The tango dancers invited us to join them on the floor and we did our best not to step on their feet. Tango is a dying art in Buenos Aires and the singer thanked us for our contribution to keep the tradition alive.