Published: August 18th 2010August 11th 2010
We arrived on Sunday afternoon (8/8) in Buenos Aires in hopes of couchsurfing, but we really haven´t had any luck with people following up on their responses...really frustrating. So after going to the Sunday market near the Recoleta Cemetary, we luckily found a spot at the Tango Backpackers Hostel where we left our bags for the day. The market was amazing with so many unique artesans and crafts. It was so refreshing to see some new creativity after seeing so much of the same artesanías in the other countries.
Our first impression of B.A. was that is reminded us a lot of NY except with a very European feel. There isn´t nearly as much traffic as in NY though and it is much cleaner. Men´s hairstyles (including mullets) have also made us cock our heads in curiousity, while women´s hair is predominantly straight down to the bum and sometimes with bangs. Fashion is very European with loads of boots and long sweaters and trenches. We like.
On Monday morning I got up early and went for my first run in months, and it was cold but glorious. On Sunday is was warm during the day (in the 60s) so
I decided shorts and a long sleeve would suffice. Wrong. Other runners had on thermal pants and neck-warmers while I was sporting my bare legs. It took me like 15 minutes just to break a sweat, but it was totally worth it. I got to explore the parks of the Palermo district, which were beautiful. Running is one of my favorite ways of getting to know a new place so it felt really good.
Then we embarked on our city adventure, heading down to the Centro where we read about the tunnels under Manzana de las Luces (a church), Plaza de Mayo, 9 de Julio (the 18 lane avenue, which is the largest avenue in the world), the Obelisco in the middle of 9 de Julio, and the San Telmo district.
Along the way we had lunch in Confitería Ideal, which is one of the oldest Tango Salons in B.A. The inside was so old that you could just feel the early 1900s style pulsating through the room. The old woodcarved walls patterned with mirrors and antique chandeleres hanging from the cielings set the perfect ballroom feel. So amazing.
After lunch we continued exploring the Centro, where we
stumbled upon El Vesuvio, which is the oldest ice cream shop in B.A. I´ve officially had the best ice cream EVER: Dulce de leche con nuez y chocolate el vesuvio in a cupucucho cone. Oh. my. god. No words.
On Tuesday, we met up with Brigette again, after not seeing her since Màncora, and perused the Recoleta Cemetary to see Evita Peròn´s grave. I have never seen a cemetary of soley mosseleums--they were all so different, yet very ornate and beautiful.
After lunch we did some people watching and then went down Ave Florida for some window shopping and cappuccino´s at Florida Garden Cafe. All the waiters were so old, I felt like we had a personal butler waiting on us. I love sitting down to a nice hot cappuccino to chat and people watch after walking all day...makes me miss Europe.
On Wednesday we tried to go to the MALBA museum of latin american art, but of course it was randomly closed for the first day so we just perused the city a little bit before heading back to the hostel to get ready for the Tango lesson and show at Complejo Tango. Luckily, I arranged
to have a car come pick us up, because the show would have probably taken us an hour to get to by bus. We arrived just in time for the beginning of the lesson, which was fantastic! The instructor was really funny and led the class so well. The group was very large, and the studio was small, so it could have been a disaster. But it wasn´t--we learned 3 moves in an hour: paso basico, ochos, and a final pose. After each step one pair had to demonstrate that we had learned it well, and of course one of the Brazilians (Stèfano), who I met in line, chose me to do the whole routine at the end. I was so nervous with everyone watching us in the middle! But we performed without any mistakes! So much fun!
After the lesson we were served some starters and cracked open the wine. The show started an hour later and WOW it was incredible. The music, the lighting, the dancing, and the entire performance was just so sensual and spectacular! By far one of the best shows I have ever seen. Definitely worth every penny. 3 bottles of wine later, the
show ended and Sim and I were quite content. At this point we had arranged to meet with a couchsurfer and his friend, Javier and Mauro, so they picked us up from Complejo Tango and we went to a bar to get a little taste of Buenos Aires nightlife. However, that was shortlived because Sim got sick in the bathroom so the guys were understanding and took us back to our hostel. Needless to say, Thursday morning was a rough one.
By the afternoon we finally ventured out to meet Bridget and Elisa one last time in La Boca to say our goodbyes since Bridget was flying home in a few days and Elisa was continuing south. It was cold and rainy so all the artesans that are usually in La Boca returned to their storage holes and the streets were pretty baren. But the colorful buildings still gave off the artsy vibe that La Boca is known for. After we said our final goodbyes with the girls, we bused through Puerto Madero back to the bus terminal and were actually happy to just sit and vegge for our last overnight bus for this trip. Just what we needed.
Buenos Aires was amazing and I definitely want to come back, but now we´re off to our next stop: Mendoza.
There are more photos below