More Buenisimo Buenos Aires
It’s been really nice to relax back in Buenos Aires after all the fun and games down in Patagonia. I’ve been taking more Spanish classes since I’ve been back, but with just four hours a day of classes in the morning I’ve been using the afternoons to explore some more of the city.
Christmas was pretty much a non-event as, together with a small group of friends from the school who were still kicking around the city, we struggled to find any restaurant or even a bar open to celebrate with a big dinner. The only places open were the high-end places around Puerto Madero which were asking USD100+ for a set menu – ouch. But after quite some searching we found a run-of-the-mill local parrilla down in San Telmo and got a reasonable feed there.
Christmas Eve was an experience, and come midnight every porteño seemed intent on blowing up the city with all the fireworts on this earth. Let’s just say that it wasn’t the best time to go for a walk down the street – I’ve never had fire crackers come raining down upon me! I did take the chance to go to Mass too, which was a really interesting (and new) experience for me. On Christmas Day the city was completely empty as everyone recovered from a big night beforehand so we took to one of the parks near Puerto Madero to chill, read, listen to music and people watch.
Here’s a few bits and pieces around the city…
Puerto Madero: The old port area was recently renovated and overhauled and is one of my favourite places in the city. The original red brick warehouses which line one side of the port are full of charm and have been converted into high-end shops, restaurants and classy apartments, and the old cranes add a touch of authenticity to it as well.
The Subte: The Subterraneo subway system in Buenos Aires is one of the oldest in the world, and is definitely an experience! It’s horrendously packed around rush hour and should be avoided at all costs, but apart from that it’s a decent and fun (and cheap at $0.70 pesos) way to get around the city.
Plaza Congreso: The Argentinian congress is near where I live and also near the language school, and I walk around the plaza every day. The building is like a baby version of the US Congress but a bit more dishevelled and run-down. There’s always some group protesting something-or-other across the street in the pleasant little park that makes up the plaza, and there are usually barricades ready and handfuls of cops waiting around for the next flare-up – you’ve gotta love a good fiery democracy, and the Argentines have a lot to complain about after decades of bad government!
Avenida de Mayo: One of my favourite streets in the city and as its lined with plane trees it feels a little like Collins Street (for any Melbournians out there). It connects the Presidential Palace with the Congress and so there’s always some protest or another going on along its length.
Avenida 9. de Julio: This is purportedly the “widest street in the world” with something like 16 lanes at its widest point. It’s a major thoroughfare of the city and the tall, white Obelisco (which celebrates Argentine independence) is a distinct, central reference point.
Some shots from going out…