Thursday, May 16, 2013

It’s Hard to Get Tired in Buenos Aires!

(Trip date: December/January, 2012/13)

I had never heard anybody say anything bad about Buenos Aires and now I know why! The city is amazing, full of life and colour and energy and a vibrancy that is truly contagious. The people are incredibly friendly, the food is delicious and there’s so much to do you never want to stop exploring.
We spent our first evening in Buenos Aires just like the locals do. We took a long walk through the city enjoying the warm summer night air and ended up in Puerto Madero, an area of the city with restaurants and shops lining the waterfront. We walked up and down the strip admiring the array of restaurants and enjoying the company of people out on a Saturday night –out for a stroll, sitting on patios, eating ice cream, families gathering, couples hand-in-hand. We quickly adapted to the Argentinean way of life and had dinner at 11pm, a typical dinner of fresh breads, salad, grilled meat, dessert and of course – wine! I loved watching all the friends and families making an event out of dinner, watching the food being passed around, the continuous flow of wine, the conversation and laughter filling the air. I was immediately addicted to Argentina!

Fortunately we were in Buenos Aires on a Sunday as there is an amazing craft market that is only opened on Sundays in San Telmo – the old part of the city and the area we were staying in. We walked through the market, stopping at many booths to admire the jewelry, clothing, antiques, paintings and many other unique crafts and got to enjoy watching tango dancers in the street. The day market turned into a night market as the sun went down and we came across a group of drummers in the street, surrounded by crowds of dancers enjoying the infectious beat as the pulsating rhythm filled the air. We also made sure we enjoyed some famous Argentinean pizza, many empanadas, grilled meats (steak for Bev, chicken for me!) and alfajores – yum!

A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without a shopping trip to Palermo Soho – where the vibrant colours and Bohemian culture embrace you, Caminito in La Boca – famous for the origin of tango dancing and brightly coloured buildings, and the Recoleta Cemetery – a fascinating city of vaults, tombs and mausoleums. The cemetery is part eerie and part beautiful and you feel a sense of mystery while walking up and down the pathways peering inside the vaults to get a sense of closeness to those who are buried inside. Many of the vaults are covered in cobwebs illustrating how long they have gone untouched and some of them are mysteriously empty sending a chill up your spine!

We also took a tango lesson and saw a live tango show, rode one of the oldest trains in Buenos Aires and visited Casa Rosada (the Pink Palace) in Plaza de Mayo. Just walking through the streets is a treat, admiring the colonial architecture and taking in the culture of a city where old meets new. It’s a combination of beautiful, old buildings contrasting with cool, modern skyscrapers. Every turn brings you to a different site, through the winding cobblestone streets and along the paved highways. It’s a city where Europe meets South America. It’s a city that never sleeps. It’s a city where the colours shine, the people laugh, and the energy takes over your soul.