Published: March 14th 2008February 14th 2008
Learning to Tango
Dressed and ready to tango!
When Galib said that we should go to Buenos Aires for our honeymoon, I jumped at the idea. Good food, good wine, warm weather, and a place where neither of us had travelled before.
Little did I know, how good the food & wine was, and how beautiful the weather would be. Temperatures averaged 30-35 degrees. Sure it was hot & humid, but the air conditioning and park lined trees balance that out.
Argentineans are so friendly. Surprisingly, several people speak English, so getting around is not a problem. Spanish is a lovely and romantic language and easy to learn. The easiest phrases one should know are: buenos dias (good morning), buenos tardes (good afternoon), and buenos noches (good evening). Practice rolling those "r's". RRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Also to note, remembering which "buenos" to say becomes increasingly more difficult after consuming several glasses of Malbec, but, rolling those "r's" somehow mysteriously becomes easier...
Several small cafes line the streets and not one of them is a Starbuck's. Astonishingly, Starbuck's has not monopolized the South American market yet. One of the most famous places for coffee is La Biela, which is at the corner of Quintana Avenue, near the Recoletta cemetary.
Breakfast consists of "medialunas", which we Canadians know as croissants. Interestingly enough, the Turks have claimed "medialuna" is to have originated in Turkey...I always thought it was the French! I think most folks have "uno" medialuna, but Galib always ordered "quattro" for us. "Buenos dias, quattro medialunas y dos cafe con leches, por favor" (Good morning, 4 croissants and 2 coffees with milk please". It was quite a routine. Oh, and we would always order a bottle of mineral water as well, "agua con gaz, por favor". We did see San Pelligrino, however the most popular mineral water was "Villavincenzia". This was a resort in the Andes mountains. The water is supposed to be very healing for sore tummies and it is rumored to have anti-aging qualities for the numerous vitamin and mineral content.
And I believe it. The men and women living in Argentina do look very young. And they are all so stylish. The young women typically have long brunette hair and the older women resemble Sophia Loren, which is not surprising since many immigrants were from Italy (hence the premium wine making abilities too). There is a range of hairstyles for men in Buenos Aires, from
the faux-hawk to the dreadlocks, from bed-head to the supercoif, and they have lots of it (just look at the crazy locks of the football players). Men look dapper in their pink shirts, slim fit trousers and leather loafers. Women in their flowy dresses, flat sandals, and perfectly tanned, flawless skin. Argentineans certainly know how to care for their appearance. There's definitely something in the Buenos Aires, my hair felt shinier and my skin felt smoother. And I developed tan!
Our apartment rental was conveniently located down the street from several restaurants and coffee shops. We were near the Recoleta Cemetary, the famous resting place of Maria Eva Duarte de Peron (Evita) as well as many other military and wealthy people. As Galib & I were wandering the mausoleums, he commented that he could "smell death". I thought he was just being creepy, however, after smelling the odd stench a little while later, he remarked that that actually was the smell of death and there must have been a recent entry in one of the mausoleums. One can still be buried there if your family owns a mausoleum. Mausoleums ranged in size from small, shed like buildingsfor a family
of 4 to grandiose marble structures with staircases and various underground levels, possibly for use of several generations. There are many grounds-keepers, busily fixing tiles and glass. We stumbled upon some unkempt units, with broken windows and locks. I even found one that had an open baby casket with the bones in it. Just sitting there, exposed (see photo). I couldn't believe it. There must be some sort of payment for upkeep, and I guess if you don't have any family left, your mausoleums goes into disrepair if you have not made arrangements for upkeep. We heard one tour guide comment that some mausoleums have only one person in them, and they have space for more people, but no one has made further claims to be laid to rest there, so the space just goes unused. One person laid to rest in a mausoleum that could hold 8 people or more. Cats roam the 2 block radius and they seem to keep the rats away. The gates to the cemetary are closed at night to protect the contents. I imagine there are all sorts of family heirlooms and valuables contained within those mausoleums.
Now on to a happier subject,
Thin slices of beef with arugula, capers and parmesan
the food, oh the FOOD!!!:
I must say the food is not ethnic, like if you visited Mexico and ate their traditional dishes . Argentinean food is a fusion of all the best things in the gourmet cooking world. Many Argentinians have an Italian heritage. I can say it is the best I have ever tasted. The dining experience is threefold: taste, service & ambience. ***** stars. History: Before the crisis in 2002, young chefs travelled to Europe when the dollar was 1 to 1. Now it is 3 to 1, so Argentinians don't really travel outside the country. However, when times were good, aspiring chefs travelled and became educated and learned their skills in Europe. There has been a boom in gourmet cooking shows in the past 8 years. Check out Francis Mallman, my all time favorite chef.
The average dinner at a NY Times recommended restaurant with: appies, mains (20 oz. steak), dessert and a premium bottle of wine was $60. The architecture of each restaurant was so hip in each place we ate. Dark wood furniture, fancy glass, impressive wine cellars and displays all added to the ambience. Restaurants we visited were: Gran Bar Damzon
Lots of parks and greenery in BA
in Recoleta (a funky lounge type atmosphere), Cluny (very hip) & Jagunda (known for its fish) in Palmero, & BICE (known for its service~we had 5 servers, yet it wasn't over powering) at Puerto Madero.
Overall, was it a FANTASTIC honeymoon? YES. Would we return to Buenos Aires? YES. Would we recommend it to our family and friends? YES.........and we're coming with you! There's definitely something in the Buenos Aires...
I have attached several photos, ensure you click page 2 or "Next" to see all of our photos.
Cin & GB XOXO
There are more photos below