Buenos Aires – Old Town

Posted on April 29, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

So, we returned to Uruguay in happy mood, and ended up in the pretty suburb of Tigre, Buenos Aires. The town had been a weekend retreat for the elite of BsAs in the late 19th and early 20th century, but gradually fell out of favour with the opening up of Mar del Plata by train in 1911. It sits on the Paraná delta, a vast network of rivers and islands that sprawls for tens of square kilmoters, and thus there are hundreds of boats, ships and houses with mooring points.

I found it fascinating, much to Rachel's amusement.

More recent times have seen the re-emergence of Tigre as a weekend destination: there's a train line directly to Retiro (Buenos Aires' main station) and it is cheap. So much so that this small town with incredible turn of the century architecture now has a small amusement park:

Ace. I wish we'd had time to explore the area fully, but it was getting late. So we got the train back to Retiro, which is actually walking distance from our previous accommodation. However, given the city's size (large) and our budget (ever shrinking), we instead jumped on the Subte/Metro and headed south to San Telmo.

San Telmo is famous for its Sunday market, its Tango and its age – it was the first barrio of Buenos Aires. Many streets are cobbled, there is an historic marketplace, streets of antique stores and plenty of art. Being thrifty travellers though, the two things that drew us there were recommendations from friends and Argentines we'd met along the way, along with the price of accommodation. We stayed in the <a href="http://www.hostelcircus.com/">Circus Hotel & Hostel</a>, which had a small outdoor pool and a nice relaxation area with a single cable TV. Highly recommended if you're looking to stay in the area. The TV allowed us to watch some Six Nations games (yes!), and the room was also the focus of attention the morning after the <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chile_earthquake&#8221; >

earthquake in Chile</a>.

There were several Chileans on holiday who were keen to find out the extent of the damage, and we were keen to ensure that my friend Heinz, who we’d stayed with in Santiago, was okay. After some text messages, we discovered that Heinz and his friends and family hadn't been hurt – which was a massive relief. Heinz reassured us that Chile was well equipped to deal with this massive earthquake (the 7th strongest ever recorded). Despite the uncomfortable political timing (a change of presidents was underway), the country never really lost its balance, and is on its way to recovery.

Anyway, back to Buenos Aires. On our second evening, we went out to dinner with Fernando (who you met on our previous BA excursion), his brother Hugo and Hugo's wife Jenny. They are all friends of my dad's, so we went to a restaurant my dad loves and had excellent parilla once again.

On Saturday, we went for a walk around the lower reaches of Av. Florida again, and took in the Obelisk (newly restored, and so stronger in colour):

as well as the famous Casa Rosada, where Evita used to speak to the crowds, on the Plaza de Mayo. When we arrived on the Casa Rosada side of the square, we were just in time for the presidential guard to retire the colours for the day. The ceremony was excellent – the motororized flagpole means the flag descends smoothly, the trumpting was crisp, and the Argentine flag folds up with the center piece (the sun) showing outwards.

Our final day in Buenos Aires was Sunday, the day of the famous San Telmo market. The night before we had been out for dinner and walked past a night time film shoot – 1930s cars, streets and shops renamed in a Slavic language, and bright, bright lights. The film shoot obviously hadn't finished, and walking down towards the market we past people having food in still-renamed restaurants. The street market itself is pretty intense – plenty of handicrafts of all kinds line streets which already boast a bewildering array of antique shops, restaurants and boutique clothing stores.  We had started pretty early, but towards the middle of the day it gets *busy*:

We wandered up and down all day, seeing many artistic things

and cute things (click on the photo to get to the translation)

With the sunshine beating down, and pleasant temperatures (25 degrees), it was an excellent day. After a final evening, we ordered a taxi for the morning and prepared ourself for our final country: Brazil.

'laters,

James

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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