As part of my Visa renewal week, I decided to spend about 5 more days in Buenos Aires. At this point, I have decided that this would be the last days I spend in town during my trip. Turns out my soul is asking for more outdoors at the moment, and after spending 3 months in cities and far from easy accessible outdoor opportunities, I want to focus the rest of my adventure here enjoying what Mother Nature has in store for me. So here I arrived back from Iguazu at AEP airport ready for 5 nights in the big capital of Argentine tango.
I stayed at the Reina Madre Hostel in Recoleta. It is a very quiet hostel where a lot of people stay for long term when they come to study Spanish or just moved in town and are looking for a permanant place to stay. It was good for me, as I wasn’t really on a party vibe at that point. I met some nice people and spent some time during the days hanging out with some French Canadians I met back in Puerto Madryn in April. This time I did the walking tour (Freewalks) from Recoleta. It was a long one again, almost 4hrs. It was good and filled with very interesting information, but I didn’t like it as much as the Micro Centro tour. I guess it just really depends on the type of attractions you are interested in. We ended the tour in the Recoleta Cemetery and I made sure to go have a quick look at the memorium of Eva Peron.
My second evening in town I went out to an open mic Blues evening with a friend from my teaching program. We went to El Universal Espacio Cultural in Palermo. This place was really amazing – they have an outdoor terasse and a small indoor dinner room with a small stage where you can have a drink and dinner while watching the shows. It sits about 50 people maximum which gives it a very intimate feel. I was amazed by the quality of the talents that presented that night. My friend knew some of the artists opening the show, so it was really interesting to get their opinions about artist living in Buenos Aires and to get to know the scene a little bit more. If you ask me, I think this is what Buenos Aires is all about. Get to know these little bars and venues where you can live the culture of the place, whether it is local or international.
If you are a museum fan, you will be served in Buenos Aires. I personally am not so much of a museum person, but I do have a specific interest in some artists. I did not know much of the Argentine art or exhibitions that were happening, but I still took some time to drop by the MALBA museum on Wednesday (50% off on admission fee, total 45 pesos) and also the Museum of Fine Arts on Sunday (free admission).
I couldn’t spend a few nights in Buenos Aires without going for at least one more milonga! Some of my tango friends suggested that I try la Milonga Lunatica on Thursdays, as there is a younger crowd and has a great reputation. The last milongas I went to here were a bit too touristy for me and I was looking to meet some people from the actual local community, which was great. We had an intermediate class which last almost 2hrs (and by that time my broken foot was almost done for the night!). I had some really beautiful tandas and it was great to be back on the dancefloor once more.
I also went for dinner at la Parilla El Gran Mosquito with some guys from my teaching program and my director. Basically for 200 pesos you get all you can eat Asado meat and cheese. That was a lot of food but definitely worth it. I would suggest booking a table or getting there very early as it was completely packed by 9:30 or 10PM. I also took some time to go shopping and visit the Abasto shopping center, which is worth it only for its architecture (I don’t really like shopping except if it is for gear…). I also walked around and visited the Carlos Gardel museum, which is basically the original house of Gardel transformed into a small museum with important facts about his life. I realized coming to Argentina that I actually know all the tango music, but I really knew nothing about the artists themselves. It’s been a pleasure to learn more about to socio-political context of the country and the times when these songs were written. So long story short, before Gardel’s time, dancing tango was considered very ghetto and something done only by low class and prostitutes. Until Gardel wrote his music and started travelling to Europe, where the high class society loved the music and the dance. Suddently people in Argentina started to respect the tango and it slowly became a dance enjoyed by everyone. Gardel died in a plane crash at the peak of his career of singer and actor.
One thing I absolutely loved was to spend a few hours hanging out in the Ateneo Bookstore on Sante Fe Avenue. It is an old theater that was converted in a bookstore and it is just amazing in itself. For me who loves theaters and loves libraries, it felt slightly like heaven. There is also a music area downstairs where you can listen to CDs and discover some music before buying.
On Saturday we went to the Hipprodrome where a French Food Festival was taking place. Convinient that I went there with 3 other French Canadians. We had the best time eating French onion soup, drinking wine and trying some of the best pate de foie we ever had. Best of it was that entrance was free and you could also watch the races and say hi to the horses!
I think overall Buenos Aires is a city that needs to be discovered over time. The best part of it is the culture, the music, the art and all the little festivals happening here and there. That, and of course, sitting all afternoon sipping a nice latte and chatting with some new friends. One would probably need over a month in town to really get to know the city, but as I mentioned before, I am not currently in that city vibe and said goodbye to Buenos Aires when I caught the bus back to Viedma on May 15th.
Until next time!