This past weekend, I visited Buenos Aires for our final weekend trip during my time in South America. We left Thursday morning and arrived in the early evening with a little bit of daylight left, so we went to grab dinner at an advised Italian restaurant. There we learned that in Buenos Aires, you get charged a “service fee” for bread and silverware for each person. After dinner we decided to visit Puerto Madero to see it light up at night. Then we walked over to the Casa Rosada (it’s like Argentina’s version of the White House, only the president does not live in the Casa Rosada) and the national Bank. We headed back to our hotel for a good night’s rest after a long day of traveling.
The following morning, I exchanged my US dollars for Argentinean pesos. Since the Argentinean economy is in such terrible shape, the banks and ATMS will give you 9.5 pesos for each dollar, but the “casa de cambios” or exchange houses will give you 15 pesos for each dollar! Some restaurants will even accept USD in place of paying with Argentinean pesos! Luckily I still had some USD that I brought with me so I got a great exchange rate in Argentina. After exchanging our money, we decided to explore the Casa Rosada and Plaza de Mayo area, but this time during the day! In the Plaza de Mayo, we entered the cathedral where Pope Francis used to work! It was a gorgeous cathedral with paintings, statues, gold shrines, and so much more. Since Pope Francis became pope, the cathedral had a special mosaic dedicated to him.
Next, we visited the world renowned coffee shop, Café Tortoni. This Coffee shop is the oldest in the city, being open since 1858! Since I am not a coffee fan (believe it or not college didn’t get me addicted!), I ordered hot chocolate and churros. The hot chocolate was one of the richest, creamiest, and most delicious hot chocolates I have ever tasted! YUM!
We continued our walking adventure down Avenido de Mayo towards “El Congresso” or the congress building. Along the way we noticed the beautifully European influenced architecture and crossed “el 9 de Julio Avenida” or in gringa terms 12 lanes of heavy traffic!! I have never seen a street so wide that it required waiting for two crosswalk symbols in order to safely cross the street! After visiting El Congresso, we walked along “Avenida Corrientes” a famous street in Buenos Aires for its shopping and lots of theaters. We then walked over to Teatro Colon, the most famous opera house in Buenos Aires, but sadly all the tours had been sold out for the day. Instead, we stopped for pictures at the Oblesico and then we decided to go shopping. I bought some souvenirs and gifts for me and my family.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for the Tango Show! We ate a 3 course meal with endless bottles of wine and bread and then a two hour tango began. The show presented the progression of Argentinean tango from when it first became popular to present day. In the beginning, the tango was cutesy and included some kicking, but as time passed, we saw how the tango became more and more of a sensual, sexy dance with much more emotion and connection between the partners. The tango show was definitely my favorite part of the entire weekend. Unfortunately they did not let us take pictures or video during the performance…
The second day in Buenos Aires, we visited the Recoleta neighborhood, or the nicer, richer barrio. We visited the Recoleta cemetery, which is considered one of the most well-known cemeteries in the world! This cemetery was more like a mini city of the dead within the city because it was filled with mausoleums. We had a tour guide that showed us the very first mausoleum built, the most expensive mausoleum (that cost ½ a million US dollars to build!), the mausoleum of Evita, the graves of multiple Argentinean presidents (there are 22 buried in the cemetery!), and of Rvfina Cambaceres (a girl that was buried alive!). While we were in the cemetery a funeral procession began for a young 17 year old girl that was hit by a car. The funeral procession was very similar to those in the States and every one still wears all black.
After visiting the cemetery, we walked to La Flor, or a basically a giant metal flower that opens its petals when the sun is out and closes them when it is cloudy or night time. We also walked past the most prestigious law school in Argentina. We continued our walk to the Japanese gardens. It was a kind of strange sight to see such a tranquil garden placed in the middle of the city surrounded by skyscrapers. To me, it seems very out of place, and in all honesty it was a bit expensive for what we saw.
Finally, we walked over to “El Paseo Rosado”, or “the Rose Passage”. This was a MASSIVE rose garden, and luckily for us it is the middle of spring time in South America, so all the roses were in full bloom! Just walking through the pathways, you could smell the roses because of how many there were. It reminded me of the Dallas Botanical Gardens (which are gorgeous in the Spring time!), but the best part about the Paseo Rosado is that it was FREE! The gardens were very well kept and were absolutely beautiful!
After walking all day, we took a taxi back to the hotel and freshened up a bit so we could go out to dinner at an Argentinean steakhouse. We went back to Puerto Madero to eat a tasty dinner with the Port as the backdrop. Argentina is known for eating VERY late dinners. This dinner was no exception. We arrived at the restaurant at 9:30 pm, a typical time to arrive for dinner, but we didn’t finish until 1:30am! Talk about a late night dinner! We hurried back to our hotel and packed our bags because we had to get up bright and early (6:00 am) for our flight back to Chile.
Surprisingly, our trip to Argentina went pretty smoothly, but as the usual here in S. America, we always have one problem! The only major issue we came across was my friend got pickpocketed! While we were walking a BLOCK AND A HALF (not that far!!!) from the hotel to our taxi to go to the Tango Show, my friend lost her phone and her wallet. She had both items in the hotel lobby, but by the time she hopped in the taxi they were gone! Luckily her wallet did not have any cash in it, only credit cards and her license, but it is still quite the pain to cancel all the cards. What is strange is she didn’t even feel it! Note to all future travelers: hold on to your zipper on your purse when you walk busy streets!
Well that’s all of my adventures so far! Hasta mañana chicos! Ciao!