Buenos Aires: coolest. city. ever. Oh my, did I fall in love (with a city- can't have a worried husband.) My dear friend Laura and I had a ladies trip, nine days long, exploring and soaking up the summer sun and good vibes. Heavenly.
What we realized after a few days of walking and picture-taking is the the essence of BA cannot be captured in a photograph. The atmosphere is unconquerable for a lens. Still, we tried, and a few of those pictures are sprinkled throughout this post. The best visual summation for me is one of the Parisian style buildings that sprinkle the city (think Montmartre) tagged with amazingly colorful graffiti. Because of heavy Italian and Spanish influx in the 1800's due to the promise, and eventual success, of great wealth, the city has a very European vibe but with the chill, easy-going lifestyle I generally associate with South America. Regulated traffic, strict schedules, 7:30 dinners, these are things of their Northern neighbors. Over time maybe it would get old, but I absolutely loved how all drivers ride on the line, taking up two lanes. And how everyone eats dinner at 10 pm at the earliest. And how men cat call (que linda, mi vida, Laurrra!) And just generally how you feel like you could have 20 pesos in your pocket and still enjoy life thoroughly.
Perhaps because I only had time to peruse guidebooks on the flight down, or maybe because I was thinking on a more European level, I pictured more of a Rome or even London sizewise. Turns out, it's huge. Like Bangkok huge. We initially thought we'd likely spend some time out of BA for a couple nights- we'd rented a reasonable apartment in Soho Palermo through airbnb as home base. What Laura and I quickly realized is that not only is Buenos Aires ginormous, each neighborhood is very much it's own thing. We had more than enough to do within the city limits for seven days. We spent a lot of time in the neighborhoods of Palermo Soho, San Telmo, Puerto Madero, and Recoleta. Between tango, Maradona-worship, Quilmes, and incredible steak, the culture is so rich and interesting, with a peppered history of great financial success and strife, culminating in a fascinating, beautiful, anything goes, best of all cultures combined kind of city. People just know how to live here. And as a bonus, everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful, especially with our broken- often absent- Spanish. All in all, I would happily live in BA, buy a place there, visit often, or whatever the future allows. Also, only having a two-hour time difference makes travel from the East Coast pretty easy. Oh, and I've never seen so many handsome men in one country. I feel like I can't describe in words just how awesome it is, but the only thing I can really do is say see for yourself!
A few can't misses in Buenos Aires:
Milion http://www.milion.com.ar/ so charming, couldn't handle it, in Recoleta
Confiteria Ideal http://www.confiteriaideal.com/ um, is it wartime and did I just walk into the most romantic throwback ever? the music... the dancing... best place to see tango! absolute favorite
La Boca http://www.gringoinbuenosaires.com/neighborhood-guides/laboca/ pretty good write-up. definitely worth the trip down to see it. we enjoyed some south street seaport-type fun there
Bio http://www.biorestaurant.com.ar/ we didn't eat here, but we did walk by. everyone told us it's a must (woops!)
Teatro Colon http://www.teatrocolon.org.ar/en/ stunning, and sadly closed in January (January is to Argentina what August is to Europe)
MAMBA http://museos.buenosaires.gob.ar/mam.htm awesome! loved the artwork here
El Zanjon http://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/buenos-aires/sights/historic/el-zanjon-de-granados one of the coolest things we did, highly recommend, plus great historical framework for the city
Hotel Faena http://faena.com/ drink by the pool, felt like Miami, fun swanky
Colonia http://www.lonelyplanet.com/uruguay/western-uruguay/colonia-del-sacramento great day trip! beautiful in a historic, artistic, somewhat expensive way. to me it felt a bit like Santa Fe, but of course with it's own South American port/cobblestone street vibe
San Telmo Antiques Market (Sundays) http://www.buenostours.com/feria-de-san-telmo-sundays great finds, in particular some pretty amazing deco pieces for serious antique hunter
Palermo Soho- wander the streets and get lost, which is incredibly easy to do with scarce street signs. I got my sense of direction on day 5, very un-me
Lastly, a great exchange rate place is located at Avenue Cordoba and Malabia, north side of Cordoba
There's a million things to see, amazing food to eat, and a great cafe culture to soak up. I like my travel approach to be as if I live in a place seasoned with a dash of tourism. Walking around and finding your way is the best for soaking up daily BA life. Happy travels!