Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Buenos Aires, Argentina...In Summary

For me, Buenos Aires was truly a breath of fresh air. Some travelers do not really enjoy big cities. But for me, big cities are often a chance to unwind, clean up a bit, eat good food, visit museums, check out a show and soak up some culture. Since much of my time traveling around Argentina and specifically Patagonia was spent exploring outdoor activities and small towns, I was ready for a big city. Buenos Aires did not disappoint. (click on the links for the full story)

A little background... Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after Greater Sao Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent.

People from Buenos Aires are referred to as porteños (people of the port). Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, and is known for its European style architecture and rich cultural life, with the highest concentration of theatres in the world.

My adventure in BA started with exploration of the various neighborhoods. I visited the neighborhood of Belgrano and the Barrio Chino (Chinatown). I caught a glimpse of the street culture admiring the graffiti and checking out the market of San Telmo. A highlight was definitely visiting the neighborhood of La Boca, impersonating a local and watching a Boca Juniors football game. The nightlife scene in BA kicked off on Monday and the percussion group La Bomba attracted a lively crowd. A walking tour of the downtown area provided me a better understanding of some of the historical elements of the government of Argentina. While the museums proved to be world class. I really enjoyed the Bellas Artes and MALBA museums. The Cemetery of Recoleta had some amazingly photogenic mausoleums.  I found some little treasures in the upscale neighborhood of Palermo. And strangely enough it was in the same neighborhood of Palermo where I had my first encounter with a pickpocket. I was happy to score some free tickets to a recital at the Teatro Colon, but the real treat was simply sitting in and marveling at the wonderful architecture of the space. I soaked up some of the gaucho culture at the Feria de Mataderos. And relaxed under the frescos and between the aisles in the amazing theatre turned book store El Ateneo. Like many big cities, there is nothing subtle about Buenos Aires. Everything is in your face and turned on around the clock. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Milonga dance halls and Tango.

Ahhh... a breath of fresh air... Buenos Aires!

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