Having always thought of Buenos Aires as a romantic city, my one day there was clouded by dreary weather, but adequately fascinating nonetheless.
Arriving in the city at night, we started our time in the country with some tradition asado, or grill/barbeque.
One day in Buenos Aires
Paired with red wine, I ordered a plate of mixed blood sausage, traditional Argentine chorizo, and sweetmeats.
Typical sides, including crispy potato slices and cheesy creamed spinach.
The typical style of eating Argentinian BBQ is to be served different cuts, and grilled meats at the table.
The Recoleta Cemetery is an unexpected but immensely well known stop in the city. Hailed as the final resting place for many of the city, and even the country’s rich and famous, many of the tombs and mausoleums are a sight to behold.
Interesting statue in the park next to the cemetery…perhaps meant to represent the weight of life?
La Boca is a colorful neighborhood known for its abundance of artists and vibrantly painted houses.
Tango is regularly performed in front of the Caminito, pictured below, site of inspiration for one of the more well-known tangos of the same name.
La Boca is well worth a stroll should one have the time, and is indeed a popular site in the city. Outside of the main tourist area, which is not large, the neighborhood is not particularly affluent and caution is warranted.
A brief stop for lunch, or rather pre-lunch (but lunch was unmemorable so I won’t make mention of it). An adorable old gentleman I discovered selling ready-made sandwiches off one of the main squares of the city center.
What meat/ham/egg combination that was in the sandwich I cannot describe, but it was delicious. (Some Googling turned up the result that the cuts might be a variation on ‘matambre’ - “a dish made of a meat roll stuffed with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and herbs, then boiled or oven-roasted,” per Wikipedia.
One interesting thing that did come out of lunch was an introduction to mate, or maté - a traditional South American drink that contains ample caffeine, first consumed by the indigenous/native Guarani people and today immensely popular as a shared drink among locals in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and parts of Southern Brazil and Argentina.
The drink itself has a bitter, somewhat soil-like taste. It’s made of some kind of dried, ground powder (that reminds me of a cross between tea and matcha somewhat), and is consumed by pouring boiling water into a special wooden cup, pictured, and drinking the resulting brewed liquid through a special straw (also pictured) from the bottom of the cup. The straw is meant to be shared among friends, family, and neighbors. Indeed, our bus driver in Buenos Aires was drinking this concoction with our tour guides in the morning.
With a bit of time in the afternoon, we wandered off on our own. First stop - El Ateneo Grand Splendid - a bookstore, of all places. Not just any bookstore, however, an opera theater turned bookstore.
Once a performing arts theater and subsequent cinema, El Ateneo has been in existence since 1919. Consistently rated as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, this majestic bastion of knowledge on paper is worth a visit. ( I tried to come up with a better metaphor…)
One last stop before nightfall, a Sunday market we happened upon, one of many, apparently, that occurs on the day of rest in the city.
I believe this is the San Telmo market, one of the largest in the city. The coffee shop on the right, ‘Coffee Town,’ is known for serving up a great cup of joe if you’re in need of a caffeine kick or even need a quick bite to eat.
Ubiquitous in every city - an open air markets typically sell everything under the sun. In Argentina, it ranged from fresh product to copper pots.
On the advice of our guide - we opted to experience more of the Argentinean culture and went for a tango show/dinner combination that evening.
Though the clientele skews heavily towards tourists, Piazzolla offered a wonderful show and better-than-expected set menu dinner that came with the evening.
As can be typical with most Tango shows in Buenos Aires, the evening often begins with a tango lesson for the audience.
Then comes the main attraction, a little more than an hour of twists, turns, swivels, and intense energy from the dancers.
And that marks the end our packed day in Buenos Aires. Known for as a romantic city throughout the continent, our short stay here was definitely impacted by the rather gloomy weather. Nonetheless, our stay here served as a great introduction to the vast country of Argentina. Next - on to a part I’ve been waiting for and one of my main reasons for making the trip - Iguassu.