Buenos Aires, Ville Autonome de Buenos Aires, Argentine
10 days - March 2019
Buenos Aires is a city of contrasts and we could feel this feeling every minute during our 10 days in this metropolis.
Economic contrasts, urban, political, between neighborhoods, in its population and its origins, sports and fans, arts and culture and so on.
After spending 7 months in this South American megalopolis in 2011, it is a pleasure to come back this year.
Often called the Petit Paris, we will find several features indeed in Recoleta, in the city center, in Palermo with buildings, avenues, cobblestones. However the horrible buildings of the 1970s just next to Haussmann-style buildings, the windows of another time and the lack of maintenance remind us that Paris is much more beautiful!
Although most South American cities are of colonial origin and still have many colonial buildings today, Buenos Aires denotes. The wealthy industrialists and successive governments destroyed in the XIX-XXth century the few colonial buildings (Buenos was not part of the priorities of development of the Spanish colonists despite of its strategic position) to precisely make it a city of European appearance. So there are many palaces in Recoleta, many parks and Haussmann-style buildings, a sumptuous library housed in an old theater (Ateneo grand splendid) or art deco. There is also the famous Recoleta cemetery where many presidents and the famous Eva Peron is buried. She has marked so much the history of Argentina with the development of socialism that many Argentinians still come to her grave regularly.
Fun Fact: President Peron remarried a few years after the death of Eva Peron but his wife (a former prostitute) had absolutely no charisma and intelligence. A wizard tried to transfer these attributes from the dead body of Eva to this new wife. It did not really work and this woman became president following the death of her husband and having been very badly advised and manipulated developed a new military state in the 70s that contributed to the disappearance of many political opponents. Most of these disappearances were never resolved and today still hundreds of mothers and grandmothers gather every Thursday in front of the parliament in order to find the truth and requests for further investigation. Sad period in Argentina history.
In Recoleta there are also many museums including the very good MALBA with an impressive collection of modern art and also a collection of photos of Buenos Aires taken over the years- photos from which we clearly see again the French influence in the construction of the city.
Near Recoleta is Palermo, the largest district of Buenos Aires. Bohemian and trendy neighborhood we stayed and loved to wander every day on its cobblestone streets, strolling the designer shops, testing some cafes and trendy restaurants (let's be honest we were especially faithful to our favorite of 8 years ago Las Cabras where steak and empanadas are always good). We also went on a street art tour and were a little disappointed. Indeed the majority of works have been commissioned and are therefore less political than in many cities of the continent.
In Palermo we can also see many dog walkers and it is not uncommon to see walkers with more than 10 dogs!
Finally we went to the other side of the city, the south , to visit San Telmo and La Boca.
San Telmo is a charming district, in process of gentrification, old district of the aristocracy but deserted when the cholera invaded the city. The rich moved to the North and created Recoleta and Palermo.
We saw so many buildings with ancient architecture inhabited by antique dealers and second-hand dealers. On Sunday, the market takes place and the cobbled streets of the neighborhood are busy and alive. Many tango dancers dance on the main square (Dorrego Square). This dance was created in some brothels by the immigrants who flocked to Argentina at the end of the 19th century and gather precisely all the influences of the different waves of Immigration (Italian, Spanish, Cuban, African, Polish and others). We are captivated and we remember our dance class taken 8 years ago - not a really conclusive experience ;)
La Boca is a strange neighborhood. It is very difficult to believe in its reputation when you walk there during the day as many tourists are in the colorful streets of El Caminito. Getting out of the main streets is absolutely not recommended as well as going for a walk after dark. It is easy to feel the Italian influence as the Genoese immigrants are still present. If we are not so convinced by this very touristic area it is with pleasure that we discover the legendary stadium - La Bombonera.
Attending a Bocas Juniors game at La Bombonera is a dream for Cédric. The club has more members than places in the stadium so for us foreigners it is very hard to get tickets - they are managed by the local mafia. We find our mafia contact on Facebook and a hundred euros later (and after a Uber accident or almost an accident...) we are in the stadium with 49,000 fans! The atmosphere is more masculine than in the legendary Maracana in Brazil, the atmosphere is crazy although it took a little time to take. Moreover we are surprised to see only supporters of the Boca in the stadium, there are no tickets sold to the opposing team as the government has banned this to fight violence in the stadiums.
At the end of the game, we take an Uber and our driver tells us the history of the Argentine football and in particular the teams of Buenos Aires. We make him sing his anthem, we laugh, football is clearly a religion, those Argentinians are so friendly.
A week later we will attend another game this time with River Plate- legendary rival team of the Boca Juniors where the atmosphere is more family-friendly this time.
To complete our initiatory journey through Argentina culture, we went to the Konex Cultural Center to attend a percussion show: the Bomba del Tiempo, great atmosphere!
To finish with the contrasts, we find in the city many parks (Costarera del Sur, Bosques de Palermo) and Botanical Gardens that contrast again with the size and modernity of Puerto Madero. In front there is Uruguay and especially the Atlantic Ocean that we are about to cross again.
We are again charmed by Buenos Aires and its contrasts! Perfect city to get back in the European atmosphere before leaving for a new continent: Africa here we are!
# prices in pesos at the rate of April 2019: 1 euro = 48 pesos. Argentina= inflation at 50% each year ... this greatly affects the price of a trip (and especially the lives of locals who year after year see their purchasing power decreasing drastically ...) .
# all ATMs charge huge fees! We found the cheapest: Banco De la Nacion with 215 pesos for a maximum of 4,000 pesos per withdrawal.
#We stayed in a beautiful studio in the Palermo neighborhood. We recommend this area for its atmosphere and its perfect location to discover the city. There is the bus and the metro to get around. San Telmo is also nice to stay. 30 euros a night.
# We stayed 10 days in the city and we are delighted with this choice as the cultural offer is important. A minimum of 3-4 days is necessary.
# We took 4 tours with Free Walking Tour Buenos Aires. One to discover the city center, another for Recoleta, one more cultural about the street art of Palermo and finally the last to discover the history of La Boca. 400 pesos per person ($ 10 USD).
# Our favorite restaurant: Las Cabras in Palermo for el Gran Bife at 10 euros and empanadas at 50cts. In San Telmo: the Central Mercado!
# It is easy to get around the city thanks to the highly developed bus system. Get a Sube card at the city kiosks to get around easily. A journey costs around 50 cents. There is a metro, very efficient and modern. Uber is illegal in Buenos Aires and many clashes between Uber and Taxis take place. However we recommend 100% Uber as cheaper and less risk of scams from taxis that do not have the best reputation.
# Football games: To attend a Boca game, hang out on facebook groups of tourists in Buenos Aires to find a contact who resells tickets. About 70 euros the ticket. He will give you an appointment a few hours before the game to give you the tickets and brief you.
# To attend a River Plate game: easy to buy on the internet on the club's website. They must then be claimed 2 days before the game at the stadium.
# The city seemed safer than 8 years ago. Be careful to follow the basic rules however and do not hang out in some neighborhoods at night.
# There are two airports in the city. One more than an hour away from the cityby Uber (about 500 pesos) and the other 3 kilometers from Palermo! More convenient and easy to access.
# Bomba del tiempo: 170 pesos
# Malba: 170 pesos
Apr 24, 2019 - 04:05 PM
Toujours aussi passionnant votre voyage, merci de nous faire partager.
Christelle & Cedric
Apr 24, 2019 - 07:35 PM
Ravis que cela vous plaise ! Quelle est votre prochaine destination?
May 6, 2019 - 09:22 AM
Merci pour ce partage et ces magnifiques photos !