From the torpid jungle of Iguazu Falls to the bustling city of Buenes Aires was a huge transition. It took us nearly 24 hours to get our city mojo going. But here is what we learned to have a great time and not just hit the typical tourist spots.
1. Allow time to explore and chill in Palermo. Best hip vibe and two of the city”s best and most coveted restaurants are there. Plus shops, great cafes abd a splendid park with a lake. We rented bikes and had a great ride. Be sure to photograph the lively street art everywhere. Murals rule!
2. Don’t miss Recoleto neighborhood. It’s the famous cemetery where Eva Peron and her clan are buried. Try to find her crypt on your own and you”ll see rows of ornate and decadently decaying burial structures. The city’s hoi polloi thought these decadent, above ground coffins would buy them fame immemorial!
3 San Telmo neighborhood is filled with antique shops and cafes. We missed their famous Sunday flea market bcause we’d already traversed the area enroute to what we thought was the contemporary art museum. It wasn’t! It was the modern art museum filled with about 15 minutes worth of weird stuff we could have missed! We subsequently learned that the Latin American Contempory Art Museum we wanted to visit was closed for renovations, reopening a week after we leave S.America. Dang!
4. Puerto Madera is a new part of the city and was built where old wharves and factories used to be. Its filled with restaurants and bars and has a lovely promenade (think China Basin in SF.) But most spectacularly, there is a pedestrian bridge across the river designed by the brilliant Calatrava that honors the mothers who marched in protest during the years their young people were “disappeared” by the government. Go at sunset and be awed by this giant harp of bridge as it is caressed by light from every angle. Then head for a delicious fish dnner seaside and give yourself a break from all the “beef.”
5. The beef! Yes, that is is how i sold my guy on going to Argentina. The Pampas grass fed cows produce world famous steaks…and leather goods! (My vegetarian friends should skip down to number 6 now!) A. was in beef heaven, eating a one pound rib eye with all the fixins at LaCabrera the first night. On the third night we we angled our way into Don Julio where he made quick work of a 1.5 pound T-bone. (On night 2 we had fresh grilled fish at Sorrento by the water) i don’t eat meat but seeng my carnivore in all his gory glory was a sight to behold.
6. Don’t take no for answer in making coveted reservations. We were told we couldn’t get in any of our choices without long advanced reservations. We decided to just show up and take our chances. And with a little charm, patience and wheedling, we got into two of the hottest hot spots: La Cabrera and Don Julio.
7. Buenos Aires is a huge city with all sorts of public transportation. But we used Uber to go everywhere… so cheap even with surge pricing. Go anywhere for 3-10 dollars U.S. Everything was relatively cheap because it’s 17 pesos to the dollar. Mas or menos!
8. This city loves coffee and sweets and the cafes fill up late aftenoon to provide a little pick me up to fortify its denizens till dinner. Dinner doesn’t really get going till 8:30 pm and the night goes on and on. There’s also a zillion wine and beer bars if that’s your pleasure. Wines were consistently excellent. Guess we will have to do Mendoza next time!
9. Make sure you know the pin for your credit card at an ATM before you leave home,We didn’t and getting pesos became more daunting. Also, check that your apple iPhone’s compass is actually accurate. We walked many unplanned miles until we discovered A’s was non “compass” mentos and kept sending us the wrong way!
10. We didn’t make it to a tango lesson or show but wished we had. My mojo has been a little under par due to a lingering virus just before we started this trip. But we ran into slinky tango dancers in a couple of public parks as we walked around town and it looks so cool!
Tomorrow, we fly off to Chile…