Discovering mate, street tango, Argentinian empanadas: first days in Argentina, Buenos Aires

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March 30th 2014
Published: March 30th 2014
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Nice people met in the street in La BocaNice people met in the street in La BocaNice people met in the street in La Boca

Proposition of this guy "to marry him to help him get to Europe more easily and if I could to pay for this flight would be nice" ;)
After spending one week in Paraguay, which helped me to find myself again, I took a 22-hour bus to go to Buenos Aires and begin my trip in Argentina. It was a really long drive, especially when we spent 2 hours crossing the border. Why did it take 2 hours: well mainly because when they stamped the entrance papers at the Argentinian checkpoint, they put the year 2013 instead of 2014. They noticed it after doing all the papers, so everyone had to give back his paper again to get a new one with the right year on it… The other reason, why it took so long to arrive in Buenos Aires is that we were stopping in any small villages in Paraguay to take other passengers.

Anyway, after one day on a bus, I finally arrived in Buenos Aires and after more than 1 hour of hassle to get some money –see my blog about “How to get money in Buenos Aires”-,I finally could leave the bus station and go to my host!

My host is living with his sister in the West part of the city center. When I arrived only his sister was awake. We had breakfast together and she gave me some advice on where to go in Buenos Aires in the afternoon. After meeting my host and his girlfriend and sharing my first mate with all of them, I went to the city center. By the way, my 1st experience with mate wasn’t the best one, as it seems to be as strong as coffee to me and I don’t like coffee. But, I will soon get very used to drink and like it a lot. It’s like terrere in Paraguay –same preparation but with hot water instead of cold water-, I love it for the taste but also for the community spirit, when you share mate with people. And, well, when I will be heading to the South from Malargüe to Patagonia, where it’s colder, I was very happy to drink something hot!

My first walk in Buenos Aires pleased me a lot. The buildings here are really beautiful, the city is nice with parks and people are very friendly –at least they were with me-. On that day, I visited La Boca district, which was a nice district but way too touristy. But, at least, there, I could see some Tango shows outside restaurants. Buenos Aires and Argentina are famous for tango, so I wanted to see some 😊 From La Boca, I went to San Telmo district, which will remain one of my favorite districts in Buenos Aires. It’s with nice churches, nice small places with markets, music, tango shows, antiquity markets and shops. This district has a very nice atmosphere. If I were living in Buenos Aires, that’s the kind of places I would love to go to enjoy a Saturday afternoon. And on Sunday, I would love to go to Palermo Viejo, with its nice little streets, shops and cafes 😉

From San Telmo, I walk up to Avenida de Mayo, where there are the Parliament buildings, churches and nice other buildings. I like those buildings as well. Only, one thing made me really laugh on the way there: Starbucks is definitely everywhere and not always, where it should be according to me. In Buenos Aires, I saw a old building that I liked from far away and when I was closer to it I saw the Starbucks café there… It’s like knowing that once Starbucks had opened a café at Tiananmen Square in Beijing… For me, it’s clearly not the right places for it but well, it answering to the demand...

What I will remember the most in Buenos Aires, as it’s mostly the case in any of my trips in fact is the people I met in the city. I shared a very nice time with my first host Gabriel, his sister Lucia and her friend Sofia; and with my other host Angie and her other surfer Susann. With all of them, I shared nice time, mostly sharing meals and talking about travelling. With Lucia, Gabriel and Sophia, we spent a very nice evening cooking together. With Angie and Susann, we spent a very good evening in the restaurant Peron Peron in Palermo. This restaurant is famous among the Peronistas –people, who are fervent supporters of the former president Sr. Peron-. They will sing the Peronista song, when the food is arriving on the table and there are pictures of Peron and his wife Evita all around the restaurant. It was very interesting for the cultural aspect to know more about Argentina’s politics there. However, I have to admit that I am recommending this restaurant to everyone I met here mostly because of the food: the empanadas in this restaurant are indeed DELICIOUS, the best I have eaten until now. It’s juicy and melting in your mouth. Just writing about it, makes me want to eat one there, too bad I am too far away.

In Buenos Aires, as I had some money issues, I couldn’t visit as much as I wanted but I managed to see quite a lot still.

I loved walking around Buenos Aires: through Palermo, Recoleta districts, which are the expensive districts of Buenos Aires. You can notice it while walking there with children going to private school with their parents, dog-sitters going to the park with lots of dogs, personal trainer coaching people in the parks… Buenos Aires is a huge city, so at the end of the day walking around I was really exhausted but for me, that’s the best way to discover a city. Going from one place to the other by metro isn’t allowing you to see as much of the local life.

In Recoleta, I visited the cemetery. For me, it’s very different from cemeteries in Europe with all the big mausoleums. We most of the time have only graveyards, nothing very high. So, that’s why, it was interesting for me to visit it.

I also liked the Puerto Madero district with the Costanerra. This is also a very expensive district of Buenos Aires with fancy restaurants and high buildings. The Costanerra is following lagunas and a natural reserve. It was very nice and liked seeing this big contrast between nature and building development.

The only thing I am disappointed I didn’t get the chance to do in Buenos Aires is to go to attend a football game. I indeed tried to but you have to be “socio” (club member) to get some tickets as the access is restricted. I was even more disappointed when I met some people in Bariloche, which could have taken me to a football game with them… Well, it will be for the next time I gonna be visiting them in Buenos Aires 😊

Buenos Aires was my first stop in my Argentinian trip and I really liked it. Although it’s a huge city, it didn’t feel like it to me, I felt a good atmosphere in this city with each district a different atmosphere. I wouldn’t mind living there for sure.

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