Argentina. The home of the most passionate dance in the world, delicious cuisine and vino to die for!
I never thought I’d get a chance to visit this beautiful city but there I was, this weekend, indulging in gorgeous meals and red wine and walking through the streets that hold so much history to the Argentinian people.
Travelling to Argentina in the middle of July you would think that I’d have the pleasure of enjoying the South American heat and topping up on my tan that London has so surprisingly been attending too, but no. Our summer months are their winters and with their temperatures reaching -10 sometimes, we were lucky to be receiving sunshine and 17 degrees during the day. So if you’re ever travelling to Argentina make sure you check what the weather will be because you will need a coat and scarf especially during the evenings.
We chose to use the hop on hop off tour bus so that we could get our bearings for the city. Staying Retiro, a tourist information store was a walk away and she explained all that we needed to know. Tickets are £20.00 and can be used over 2days which was perfect for us and has 3 different coloured routes so you could plan your route. A lot of Argentina will usually only accept cash so make sure you change up enough for your trip.
We saw and heard the history from an automated system on monuments such as the Floralis Genèrica, and found out information about the Monumento a los Espańoles while the sun was shining.
We decided to get off in Plaza Francia and grab a coffee from La Panera Rosa which do a gorgeous breakfast of fresh fruit and omelettes as well as lunch for when you’ve built up an appetite from morning sightseeing.
In Argentina, breakfasts are mainly pastries and coffee, or a toasted cheese and ham sandwich, so don’t go looking for a big breakfast, the main aim is to enjoy a bigger lunch and dinner.
We walked through a small authentic market which you will usually find around the city during the weekend with hand paintings and trinkets for you to buy as well as hearing the sound of beautiful Argentinian music before making our way into La Recoleta Cemetery.
Around the area also stands natural artwork such as the Gomero where a strong man holds up this beautiful tree that’s made it’s way through the town despite man made structures.
We also enjoyed the area with a little light hearted photography HAHA.
I’ve been to Cuba and seen the beauty of their cemetery there so I was expecting the same from Buenos Aires. Like most South American countries, they respect the dead as much as they do the living and you can see this within all their cemeteries.
With some tombs being the size of houses and laced with artwork, it’s definitely a sight to see! Some people may not understand the point of visiting a cemetery when you don’t have a loved one buried there but it’s small fascination of mine, they’re not just tomb stones, they’re art. They tell a story about each family and each family member within. You gain a new found respect for the dead in that the way their tomb is kept and looked after is how you can imagine they were loved and how they lived.
With miles and miles of family tombs later next to each other, little walk ways for you to find another interesting story, strangely it’s a very peaceful place to walk in silence and reflect.
A lot of people go to Recoleta Cemetery to visit Eva Peron’s grave (Evita) Who the locals have a huge respect for and take a moment in silence to remember her. She’s buried with her family in a smaller yet still memorable tomb.
If you’re a fan of the legacy of Evita or just enjoy the peacefulness of somewhere so respected then definitely go and visit Recoleta Cemetery.
After spending a couple of hours around the Recoleta area, we jumped back on the bus and saw some more of the sights. The bus is great way as I said before to see a lot of the city when you don’t have a great amount of time too like we did.
As it started to get dark decided to head for dinner. As I said before the evenings can get extremely cold so if you don’t bring a jacket out for the day then make sure you go back to get one.
We booked a table at the New Brighton and with there being a few of us we were slightly worried about the availability. But the South American culture is to eat and drink late, for when the summers are especially warm, going out later means it’s cooler. We had no worry of it being too warm HAHA so when we arrived at the restaurant at 7pm it was empty and the waiting staff were completely attentive to us.
This authentic Argentinian styled restaurant was just stunning. Reminding me of an old 1920’s styled steam train, we enjoyed complimentary champagne while sitting and admiring where we were going to enjoy dinner.
Now everyone is told to try the steak in Argentina but I was recommended to enjoy the seafood instead which is what I want to advise to you lovely people.
If you like you’re steak in a very specific way then I’d suggest choosing lamb or fish instead. And I wasn’t wrong in this choice! I chose the Hake with mash potato, shrimps and cream sauce which was superb! To top it off with a red melòt. DELICIOUS.
The New Brighton was slightly on the pricier side of Argentinian cuisine but it was well worth it.
We continued with a few more glasses and enjoyed our night.
The next full day that we had we made sure that we were fit and up early for a full day of exploring.
As we were there during the weekend, we decided to head straight to San Telmo which is a pretty square in the centre of town that holds a huge market that is open every Sunday and is full of all the Argentinian wonders you could think of! I knew this market gets busy but never did I realise how many stalls there would be running from the centre of San Telmo, all the way down through 4 blocks.
We could have kept walking for hours and hours but wanted to head off towards the afternoon before it got Choca block, so try and get down there early so you’ve got a head start on what’s there to buy!
Before leaving the square we got the chance to watch a live street tango show with a family of four professionals wowing us with their moves.
If you don’t get to see a tango show in the evening with dinner which is around £50 including dinner, you will certainly get to see one on the streets of Argentina.. I almost felt more privileged to be able to one in the streets as they were real people making a living on a hobby that they love. And with the crowd oooooing and aaaahing it’s a great atmosphere and they ask for a small tip in exchange for a great few moments.
Being able to use our sightseeing bus tour ticket for a second day, we decided to use this to take us to La Boca.
This area is well known for its beautiful coloured buildings, it’s football team and a great atmosphere, although it is also known to be a little sketchy however I didn’t see any behaviour as such so all I can advise like in any other busy local area is to watch your bag and personals.
The streets and buildings are old and rustic but it’s what makes this town. The hand painted murals on every wall represent the heritage and history as well as stories of love and dancing. Even the odd plane bright wall that I love to stand up against and take a picture on. It’s great to just walk and see what you can find something new. A stairway that leads to more paintings, shop after shop hand painted to fit their beautiful styles of music, dance and food, and an array of stalls down a brightly coloured alley selling every tourist trinket you can find.
Through the middle of the area stands an old railway track that seems to have not been used for many years used to be the General Arica railway which stemmed the push of the town being painted in bright colours by an artist called Quinquela Martín Who saw a downfall in the town, creating theatre shows and plays around the town using the streets are a backdrop. This space definitely made great for amazing photographs too HAHA.
As we walked alongside the rail track, this is when we came across this restaurant that I’m sure will start to become a well known stop off for food! Paraiso!
Located in an outside eatery with the entrance attracting customers from the smoke of the cooking meat, a little like Asia, Paraiso bring a selection of different meats to your table on a heated stove so that it stays warm as you enjoy. And guess what, it was only 80 pesos for the whole thing for 2 or more people to enjoy!
The hustle and bustle of the streets give off a great atmosphere and with the World Cup being on at the same time as lunch, we were half watching the game and the other half a passionate tango while we ate.
As it became closer to the evening we jumped back on the bus and headed towards home. After being up from the early morning until evening really took it out on us so we decided to have a few drinks at the hotel instead of going out.
I really did want to experience the nightlife of Buenos Aires but I will have another chance too at some point and one advise I stand by is to know your pace and not push yourself too much when travelling. Yes you want to see as much as you can in the time that you have but it’s not always physically possible and you won’t enjoy it if you’re knackered.
Do what you can and really enjoy it.