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In Love with Buenos Aires #1

12/02/2017

It is so easy to fall in love with Buenos Aires. The organised one way streets, french-influenced architecture and scent of blossomed linden trees are everywhere, as well as the Parrilla's (typical argentine beef-restaurants) and of course the great wine.

The city is all flat which makes it is very convenient for tourists like us who just love city hiking. We were getting around mostly walking (the second day we walked 23km!) and when the distance was quite big - we were using Uber. It works great in Buenos Aires and is much cheaper than taxi. Anyways, 2 days were enough for us to check off the list all the places we've pointed to visit. But as we've planned 3 days for Argentina's capital we dedicated our last day to a small town nearby called Tigre.

We chose to stay in Palermo Soho, part of Palermo Viejo neighbourhood. Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood are full of small boutique hotels and restaurants open until late.

Tip: Don't worry if, when arriving at your hotel, the door is locked. It is a common practice for the smaller hotels even at daytime in Buenos Aires. If this is the case, just look for a bell to ring ;-)

At our first day we started our walk from Palermo to Recoleta neighbourhood, having as a destination there the Recoleta cemetery. In general, I'm not a fan of visiting cemeteries but this one is so famous we just couldn't miss it. On our way we passed on Avenida Libertador and we strayed at the Japanese Garden (Jardín Japonés). For a brief moment it really felt as we were nowhere near South America. 

Our next stop in the beautiful, sunny day was Floralis Genérica - a giant silver flower, designed by argentine architect Eduardo Catalano. This city landmark opened in 2002 and supposedly has petals that close every night to gorgeously blossom again in the morning. Unfortunately, today this high-tech functionality is not working and its petals are always open. But it is so beautiful! The 18t weight flower reflects the city and the nearby National Museum of Fine Arts. Each of the aluminium petals is 13m long.

On your way to Floralis Genérica don't miss this wooden wall with street art by the local artist Kelsey Montague. It's a great background for some cool pics.

After leaving the park with the lovely aluminium flower and taking a short stroll, we arrived at Recoleta cemetery. Past presidents, military heroes, influential politicians as well as the most rich and famous are resting inside the gates. Evita's grave (Eva Perón) is also here and it's not difficult to find it. When entering the gates go straight and then turn left at the statue in front of you. A bit further a mausoleum will block your way - go around it to the right and turn right at the "wide" street. After three blocks turn left and there for sure will be a crowd.

As I wrote earlier, I'm not a cemetery appreciator, so soon we left Recoleta and easily found the main Avenida 9 de Julio going to Microcentro (Buenos Aires' downtown).

Heading South on this same avenue we reached the famous theatre Colón - according to National Geographic one of the best five opera houses in the world for acoustics. It actually comes in at number three, after La Scala in Milan and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. Since it opened in 1908, Colón is celebrated for its countless world-class operas, ballets and classical music acts. Among the luminaries who have performed there are María Callas, Astor Piazzola, Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. This magnificent 7-story building reportedly has almost 2500 seats and standing room for another 500 more. There are backstage tours available. Unfortunately, we were not able to participate in one, so if you have a chance to do so - please, share your experience with me. 

Very close to Teatro Colón, where Av. 9 de Julio crosses Av. Corrientes is the Obelisk of Buenos Aires - built in 1936 and 67m high.

If you want to go straight to Plaza de Mayo turn left on Diagonal Roque Saénz Peña, but I recommend you to get lost in the streets of Microcentro first. 

Plaza de Mayo is the main square in Argentina's capital. There is a white obelisk in its centre - Pirámide de Mayo, which is the oldest national monument in the city of Buenos Aires, built in May 1811 to celebrate the first anniversary of country's independence from Spain.

Casa Rosada (the Pink House) is the President's Palace and is taking the whole East side of Plaza de Mayo. Actually, here is just the office premisses, as the presidential residence is in the calm suburb neighbourhood of Olivos, North of the centre. What we see from the square is actually the back side of the building. The salmon-pink colour of Casa Rosada could have come from President Sarmiento's attempt of making peace during his presidency - 1868-1874, by blending the red of the Federalists with the white of the Unitarists. There is another theory that says the colour comes from painting the palace with bovine blood, which was a common practice in late 19th century. 

Where to eat:   La Hormiga in Palermo - great atmosphere and food

                          Dinner at La Cabrera in Palermo - great steak and wine options; make sure you book a table.

                      Have a lunch or snack at Pani - close to Recoleta cemetery, but be careful ordering the dessert - cake slices are humongous! And check out the restrooms - the coolest I've ever seen!

 

 

 

 

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