Where to start with Buenos Aires. It not only marked our longest stay in one place but also our first visitors! My sister Catherine and her boyfriend Tom traveled from Atlanta to spend the week with us in BA, which coincided with Thanksgiving and Cathy’s 30th birthday!
The trip up from Welsh Patagonia was another long one so we treated ourselves to a bit nicer bus with bigger seats, and boy were we treated! Not only did we get wine with dinner but we also played bus bingo! Never been so excited, and I even almost won…
We arrived into beautiful BA early in the morning and headed to our Airbnb in the Recoleta district where we were to meet Cathy and Tom. As we all arrived so early, we couldn’t even get into the flat yet but were allowed to drop off our stuff and headed out to explore our neighbourhood. First impressions were outstanding: Recoleta seems to be the neighbourhood for dog walkers, every corner a different person walking at least 10 dogs each – heaven!
Cathy and Tom tried their first Argentinian empanadas for lunch, and we explored one of BA’s top sights, its beautiful and hugely elaborate cemetery, where Eva ‘Evita’ Peron is buried. This was followed by a celebratory reunion beer and a quiet evening in our lovely and spacious flat.
Don’t worry, I won’t take you through day by day, but will give you a summary of our week together.
BA is huge, so we spent each day exploring a different neighbourhood, mostly on foot. We quickly found out that November is the perfect time to visit as well, not only temperature wise but also as the streets are lined with these trees that blossom beautiful purple flowers.
We ventured round San Telmo market, a huge antiques and craft fair that goes on for miles on end. Each Sunday the quiet streets turn into bustling stalls dotted with food markets and tango shows.
We strolled around Puerto Madero, what I felt was BA’s answer to Canary Wharf. A lovely port with huge office buildings, striking bridges and upmarket restaurants. We discovered the world’s second pretties bookstore (according to the Guardian), and wandered around Casa Rosada, the parliamentary building which homes the famous balcony (where Evita spoke to the people/Maradona lifted the World Cup, depending which story you’re more interested in)
We spent a good few days in Palermo, discovering the MALBA contemporary art museum, its huge parks, and its fantastic (steak) restaurants. Luckily for vegetarian Catherine, Argentinian cuisine has a huge italian influence so pasta is available on all menus.
Tom had (very realistic) dreams for his holiday: to eat steak and to eat pastries on our apartment’s balcony, so needless to say we did exactly that. Several times. Many a day was spent having a lazy morning on the balcony. He did sadly have one goal that was slightly less achievable and that was to see a futbol match, but sadly getting tickets is near to impossible even for locals if you are not a member (or stupidly rich), so we had to cut our losses.
One day was spent on the canal system of Tigre, a town an hour north of BA, where we enjoyed the sunshine and a boat ride. Another day was dedicated, of course, to Thanksgiving, which we mastered amazingly well seeing as the flat had one frying pan, one sauce pan and no baking trays.
We also experienced some amazing local and very varied culture. One evening was spent at Bomba del Tiempo, an improvised drumming show that takes place every single Monday (and has done for the last 10 years). For it being a Monday, it was packed, full of locals dancing and drinking, and was a great introduction into Argentinian’s love of music. For Catherine’s birthday we visited a tango show. We were told it was a must see, so we opted for Tango Porteño, a huge show with a live orchestra and loads of dancers. It was like nothing we’d ever seen, so elegant and very special. Last but not least, whilst we didn’t do an organised wine tasting, we sure gave them a run for their money and tasted enough wine to host our own! Needless to say, Cathy and Tom left with a couple bottles of Argentinian Malbec in their suitcases.
BA treated us extremely well, and what a fabulous week slowly exploring its neighbourhoods and culture, made all the better by our fantastic first visitors!!
Bye for now x