Sunday, 9 March 2014

Basecamp Buenos Aires

I need to apologise for my lack of posts over the last week, this is due to a combination of the awful Argentinian WiFi and our constant state of movement. 

Our home (on and off) for the past week has been Buenos Aires, we popped in for 1 day before heading to Uruguay, for another 2 before leaving to play polo and then back again for 1 day before saying farewell and heading to Iguazu.

Faded Glamour in the streets of San Telmo.

I'm sure Buenos Aires needs no introduction, the city is renound for nighlife, tango and its passionate population. This was one of the destinations that was high on my 'to do list' for this trip, but I have to admit I also approached it with a bit of trepidation (after a few horror stories from other travellers). First off I have to say that like any big city Buenos Aires has its problems, but as long as you are sensible, watch out for yourself and your belongings, and stay away from potential problem areas you will be fine. The city is beautiful, filled with faded glamour and riches from times gone by. It is best explored by getting to know the diffrent areas or 'barrios' which each have a very distinct feeling to them.

Beaten up car, San Telmo

Our first couple of days in BA were spent in the Central and San Telmo areas of the city. This included The Presedntial Palace (which you can tour for free on Sunday's), The Cathedral and the crumbling graffiti filled streets of San Telmo. This is an amazing place to photograph, with the potential for stunning images on every corner. On Sunday's there is a huge market in San Telmo, selling everything from tourist tat to antiques. I had a great time and may have gone a little shopping mad, purchasing two polo belts, a handbag, leather sandals, an amazing graffiti hat and some shorts... In my defence it has been a while since I have been able to shop!! The market was also a great place to see tango out on the street, live music and even puppet shows. Sunday evening we went out with our lovely roomate Tessa (a fellow Fillipina) and her friend  for a nice dinner, swapping stories of our Torres del Paine treks and hearing about their Ushuaia adventures.

Street art, San Telmo

Me, graffiti and my newly purchased hat, San Telmo.

The next day we decided to take part in one of my favourite city activities, a free walking tour! This took us through different parts of the centre of the city (past the national theatre and Plaza San Martin) and on to the posh part of town, Recoleta (which felt alot like Kensington and Chelsea). The tour was really good and focused on the architecture of the city, the mix of old and new, and the copycat French palaces built by rich familys during the 'boom' years of the early 20th century. The tour ended at the Recoleta cemetery, which was filled with maginificant tombs and the grave of Eva Peron (which is easy to find due to the queue leading up to it). On the tour we met the lovely Chelsea from San Fransisco and we arranged an outing in Palermo. The evening started at a restaurant on the square and ended at an expat bar called Sugar which was fun but had an odd mix of cool interior, cheesey music and projectors showing  a samurai style war film. 

Mix of old and new in the centre of BA.
Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta Cemetery

After a two day break playing polo (blog post coming soon) our last evening in the City was again spent in Palermo at a middle eastern restaurant called Sarkis which was really tasty and a nice change from steak. Afterwards we headed to a bar called ocho7ocho which was very relaxed and cool, and we had a couple of tasty cocktails. The following day was our last (with another 20 hour bus journey to look forward to that evening). We decided to head down to the La Boca area, famous as the colourful but traditionally poorer part of town. This was a bit of a strange experience as there is about a block of tourist streets which are vibrant and beautiful, but outside of this area its not really safe for tourists. This makes this bit of town feel a bit contrived, but definitely still worth a visit. After La Boca we went on to El Ateneo, an old theatre which has been converted into the most stunning bookstore I have ever been in. We followed this with another trip to Palermo for our only daytime stroll through the cobbled streets, quaint cafes and boutiques.

La Boca

La Boca

Street art palermo

Unfortunately on Thursday evening our time in BA was over and while we managed to explore a lot I definitely dont think we spent enough time in this amazing city. A return trip is probably on the cards....


El Ateneo bookstore

Summary

Location : Buenos Aires

Highlights: Palermo (best described as the North London or Islington of BA), Recoleta Cemetery  and San Telmo market.

Hostel: Estoril Terraza, good city hostel with a roof terrace. However if I was staying again I would choose to say in Palermo as this area has the best nightlife and little places to hang out in.

Regrets: Not staying longer, I dont feel like we even scratched the surface of BA, this is definitely a city I could spend a lot of time in!

Minutes spent lost: Not too many, wandering is pretty easy, as is the metro and if all else fails taxi.'s are pretty cheap!

Epiphany's: 0

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