by Chris Meechan Ring
Every time I start talking about Buenos Aires I find myself reminiscing about the amazing time there and daydreaming about getting back. This city has a hold on me unlike any other I have visited and it took me completely by surprise.
We arrived into the Jorge Newberry Airport and the first thing I noticed was that I was in the middle of the city, not hours away as I’ve come to expect from airports around the world. After breezing through formalities, we were met by our friendly guide Jean-Paul and whisked away to our awaiting coach. As we drove along the main road we were told about the body of water to our left which, while looking like the ocean, is actually fresh water heading out to the sea. On the other side of this lake, which is too far to see, is the city of Montevideo.
As we travelled towards our hotel the things that struck me about Buenos Aires were the similarities to the older districts of Paris. Wide tree-lined boulevards, statues, parks and low elegant buildings make up this part of the city giving it a lovely cosmopolitan feel. Dog-walkers make a living in the parks handling 10 or 15 pampered pooches at a time. There is buzz in the city of people out shopping, visiting cafés or playing football (soccer for the Australians) in any open space.
Our first stop in Buenos Aires was Recoleta Cemetery which is where the wealthy are laid to rest, an interesting introduction to this city but beautiful and fascinating never-the-less.
Our city tour took in the main square, cathedral and the Casa Rosata (pink house) which is the home of the president and was famously featured in the movie ‘Evita’ when Madonna sang ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’. References to the life of Eva Peron are everywhere in this city. She even features on a special edition of the currency!
From there we moved on to a local park featuring the Floralis Genérica sculpture gifted to the city by the architect Eduardo Catalona.
The next stop was the vibrant ‘La Boca’ district of Buenos Aires, which is colourful both in appearance and personality. The buildings are a patchwork of bright colours and the streets are lined with markets, cafés and performers who will have their photo taken with you for a small tip. This day the sun was shining, the streets were abuzz and this was a great chance to pick up souvenirs. Particular local favourites are gourd tea cups, leather goods and ‘Inca Rose’ gemstone jewellery.
No trip to Buenos Aires would be complete without a visit to La Ventana Tango Show. We visited in the evening and sat down at our table in a beautiful art deco building. The night was filled with a wonderful display of tango dancing and costumes and a tribute to whom else but Eva Peron. We were treated to local wine which is a specialty of the house and a wonderful Argentinian steak which still makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The next day we returned to La Ventana for a private tango lesson, by the end of which we all knew the basics even if we didn’t look quite like the professionals from the night before.
In high spirits and with many wonderful memories and photos we bid farewell to Buenos Aires, but I know it won’t be my last visit there.
To find out more about our small group tours to Buenos Aires click here.