It was a day long drive from Reta to Argentina’s capital. To our surprise, accessing the city was completely hassle free without any traffic jams: The paid highway (ca. 100 ARS/50km) led us easily to our hotel in Balvanera. Also it is worthwhile mentioning that the Porteños (citizens of Buenos Aires) are also quite normal drivers compared to other capitals in Latin America 🙂
It’s been a while that we stayed in a hotel and the rates were very comparable to apartments (50EUR/night including parking and breakfast for the four of us) so we decided at Hotel Lyon which was conveniently located a few blocks away from the blue and the red metro line.
Day one we dedicated to the Microcentro, Puerto Madryn, La Boca and San Telmo. We’ve used the super-cheap (government subsidized) metro to move around: One ride was 14ARS per adult, kids under four are free. The first sight was the Obelisco, a huge column (67m) on Avenida 9 de Julio which was built in 1936 for the 400th anniversary of Spanish settlement at Rio de la Plata.
A great view over the skyline (and by the way totally free) offers the balcony on the 23rd floor of Hotel Panamerica, a block away from the Obelisco. We were first denied the access when we kindly ask for it but if you just walk to straight to the elevators and press button number 23 no one will bother you. You just have to quickly cross through the indoor pool room 🙂
A couple of blocks away from the Obelisco is the famous Plaza de Mayo, one of the most important squares in BA as in 1810 the Argentinian independence of Spain was announced here. A couple of well-known buildings are scattered around Plaza de Mayo: Casa Rosada (president’s office) where Eva Peron held her famous speech, the museum Cabildo and the Catedral Metropolitana. In the latter one, we were lucky enough to catch the change of guards who protect the mausoleum of General St Martin, one of the prime leaders for South American independence.
In Puerto Madryn the warehouses and the waterway with its boats reminded us a lot of Hamburg’s Hafencity. Skyscrapers and office space also dominate the picture of the area and hence we could observe a lot of porteños enjoying lunch in the ample restaurants along the waterway. Of particular interest were the ancient harbor cranes:
Then we escaped a little bit the noise and hectic of the city and wandered through the huge green park Costanera Sur.
Unfortunately, there were huge colonies of mosquitos such that we could not fully enjoy the beauty of the park as cyclists and joggers did.
In Parque de Lezama in La Boca we tried to view a tango show (recommended by a German columnist who has been living in BA for 20y) but there was unfortunately none. At least the kids got a playing break at a playground there.
In San Telmo on the Plaza Dorrego we got more lucky and got to see a short (and quite touristy) but still entertaining tango show:
San Telmo is beautiful quarter with cobblestone streets and a lot of bars, restaurants, cafes and local shops – and market where they still stuff the sausages in front of you 🙂 Great first day!
On day two we started off with a tour of the Congress. From outside it resembles quite well its idol in Washington DC. It’s interior is super-posh as a lot of marble was shipped from Italy, France and Spain during the last two centuries. The tour was held in Spanish and bit too technical for us to understand major details (and the kids crying did not help either 😉 ). It was still worthwhile seeing the architecture of the two houses.
Afterwards, we intended to spend a couple of hours at Proyecto EcoParque Interactivo but unfortunately the park was still undergoing major constructions (or as the officials claim “improvements”) – we were told at least for another year. A small section was still open such that we could see huge rabbits, gooses and peacocks.
Fortunately, the botanical gardens were just around the corner. They offered a good break from the hotness of that day (which we were of course thankful for).
The remainder of the day we spent strolling through Palermo Viejo and Palermo Hollywood. These neighborhoods are quite trendy and covered by cool craft beer bars, ice cream shops and again cobblestones. Would be a great area to live for a couple of years!
Our personal highlight however was dinner at Don Julian, one of the best parrilla restaurants of BA.
We were already prepared for a wait when we arrived at 6:55pm to get a table but the line was already huge. Reservations were taken just taken for the period after January 20 and hence we put our name on the waiting list. Most people waited but a couple left (particularly Germans – well I guess we’re not well-known for our patience, are we 😉 after being told that the wait is at least two hours. The first hour we bridged with Champagne on the house 🙂 We’ve never seen a restaurant doing this (though with this occupancy it’s just peanuts for them!). We got our table (even outside as desired) after 1:30h and it was definitely worthwhile the long wait. Irina had a juicy piece of Lomo (Tenderloin) and Lothar enjoyed with Leo a yummy Entrecote – of course accompanied with a nice bottle of Malbec!
That was the best beef we had in Argentina!
Day 3 Lothar got together with Diego, the brother of Lothar’s soccer buddy Beto from Texas. Diego used to live in Los Angelos for many years but decided to move back to Argentina for family reasons. He runs a nice Pizzeria in Villa Crespo (The Cousin’s restaurant) completely decorated with great futbol pictures. It was great meeting him and having a beer on the house 🙂 Muchas gracias, Diego!
In the afternoon, we visited the famous cemetery of Ricoleta. We’ve never seen such huge graveyards / grave temples some even greater than one room apartments in Hong Kong 😉 In fact, the size of most of the graves dwarfed easily the ones we had seen in Punta Arenas (Chile) before. The most famous grave belongs to Eva Peron and her family but also famous politicians, war heroes and business men come short here.
A good break for the kids was the interactive children museum which was just around the corner from the cemetery. They host a lot of games and experiments about nature and physics and kept Leo entertained for nearly two hours.
That concluded our stay in BA and we really fell in love with the city. It’s definitely our favorite capital so far in Latin America and we could see us living there one day for while.
Apart from Iguazu (will visit via Brazil) this basically concluded our journey through Argentina and we truly enjoyed this beautiful country! The only thing we missed out upon was a futbol game but the league was already over by the time we visited.
We wish all of our readers, friends and family a happy, prosperous, entertaining and joyful start into 2019! For us personally, 2018 was awesome and thrilling and we’ll be excited to see how the next year’s gonna go! Feliz año nuevo!