Buenos Aires: Our Last Tango in the Paris of the South

Two weeks in the mountains of Patagonia had been exhilarating but tiring, and we were ready for a restful week. Romantic images formed in our mind of Buenos Aires; nicknamed the “Paris of the South”, we envisioned hanging out at outdoor cafes, sightseeing various museums and cultural sites, partaking in the bustling nightlife, or strolling the parks with fountains in Eva Perón fashion.

“Sexy, alive and supremely confident, this beautiful city gets under your skin” – Lonely Planet

The heritage city of art and culture was ours to explore.dsc_0545Our apartment was elegant and stylish, a two bedroom located on 9 the Julio; one of the widest avenues in the world, in a central neighbourhood and on all accounts, a good place to settle for a few nights.

Maybe our expectations were too high or the weather was too warm because we were underwhelmed by B.A.

We found charming pockets in the central core area, but in general, the density of population and lack of green space made the city claustrophobic. Surrounded by never ending canyons of apartment blocks even in the upscale neighbourhoods, we found refuge from the heat in the few city parks such as the Jardín Botánico.dsc_0470We realise that we only scratched the surface of this immense and diversified metropolis, and our judgement may be too hasty. We did find some interesting and unique places to see and visit, here are a few of them.

Palermo, the trendy residential neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.

 

We read on the internet that “Argentina’s music dominates the city streets.” so we were excited to be in town for Día Nacional del Tango. Touring the city, we expected dancers in the streets wearing sexy tango shoes, moving to the sultry music. After a full day of exploring, we never saw or heard any tango other than a small stage set up in front of the Kirchner Cultural Center.dsc_0493At the Recoleta Cemetary, we went to pay our respects at Evita Perón’s tomb, where she is resting in her family’s mausoleum. We arrived at the peak of the day, under the high noon sun and 34 degrees. Walking through the narrow alleys of grey stone and black marble was like walking into an oven. The heat was overwhelming, we gave up and retreated to the comfort of our air-conditioned apartment. — Evita will have to wait for another visit.p1050378Central B.A. is a blend of modern and historical architecture, ornate government buildings and endless apartment blocks.

 

Dominating the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas the massive steel sculpture, Floralis Genérica blooms from the centre pond. It’s petals open during the day and closes at sunset. Floralis GenéricaA must visit on the tourist trail is the converted El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a 100-year-old theatre converted into a bookstore.dsc_0553The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is one of the many museums in the city and has an excellent collection of art and other exhibits including The Kiss, by Rodin.dsc_0578dsc_0582

Our lesson learned here is a classic one, preconceived notions often do not live up to expectations. Like a first romantic date, Argentina’s capital had the ingredients of a good time, but the chemistry was not there for us. Maybe next time.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Buenos Aires: Our Last Tango in the Paris of the South

  1. Well every place is different for different people. I’ve heard people rave about Rome. We enjoyed it but didn’t fall in love with it. One of the guide books raves about Quito, and a close friend fell in love with it. We, on the other hand, felt about Quito much the same way you felt about BA. We spent 3 weeks in BA and loved it. Different strokes . . . . . .
    Alison

    • So true Alison. We wouldn’t want to discourage anyone for visiting B.A. Each big city has it’s uniqueness to be discovered…we just didn’t find it:) A happy and healthy new year to you and Don. -Ginette

  2. Back in 2008 we stayed in Buenos Aires for four days, based in Recoleta. Enjoyed the food. Amongst other places we did visit Recoleta market and the cemetary to see Evita’s tomb and also the bookstore you mentioned but like you felt BA was just another overpopulated city. Our favourite was when we flew up to Iguassu Falls – just wonderful. Cheers, Mark

We love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s