How to Fall in Love with Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is truly one of the great cities of the world. If you were to ask outsiders of their impressions of Argentina, they might only know of the frenzied footwork and seductive closeness of the tango. But this city has much more to offer than this amorous dance. In fact, if you take the time to explore some of this city’s treasures, you might just be seduced yourself, and lose your way home. So with me as your matchmaker and her as your destination, here are 10 great moments to be had in the Argentine capital sure to make you swoon with affection.
1. The food. I’m sorry – call me a glutton if you will – but I had to begin somewhere. Besides, what better activity to begin your courtship? The steak in this city is to die for and at a cost akin to grabbing a sandwich back home. But there are far too many great steak houses to limit you with my opinion. So just pick any of them sometime during you stay. Tonight, I want to steer you to some of the best fresh pasta you’ll ever have in you life. Bold claim, I know. But unless you are from Italy, I am not too worried. Order the fresh-made tagliatelle pasta at Gomez in San Telmo with a glass of Malbec. I still dream about this place. And if you can somehow manage eating there on a Thursday evening, you will get to hear a great jam session performed by local jazz musicians. Pasta, wine, and jazz – what more could you ask for? (Pje. San Lorenzo 365, San Telmo)
|Puppeteer in San Telmo|
3. Boca Juniors. Argentines love one thing in this world more than Argentina: Argentine soccer, which is actually just another means of expressing that love. Purchase a pair of tickets to one of these local games, preferably the Boca Juniors, and feel the rush of energy and passion wash over you. Seeing a game here is going to be an intoxicating experience, especially if you find the guy selling Quilmes (the national beer). Just don’t root for the opposing team, or your love affair with Argentina may come to an abrupt end. You can buy tickets for the game at the Boca Juniors stadium, Brandsen 805, Capital Federal.
4. Threads. B.A. ought to be nicknamed the shopping capital of the world. With tons of independent designers and display windows lining every neighborhood, you are bound to find something to help you look your best. Abasto and Alto Palermo are two great centers to shop in, but nothing can compare to scouring the streets of Palermo, which is filled with boutiques, cafés and delicious eateries. Pick up a guide from any of the stores that lists, describes, and maps out all the great places to check out in the area and make a day of it – she’ll love you for it.
|Relaxing in a Cafe|
6. Antique market. Even if your not the antiquarian collecting type, just checking out the market in San Telmo on a Sunday is a site worth seeing. There is a lot of other action like puppeteers and musicians performing on these cobbled streets that make for a colorful and nostalgic stroll. After a while, if you want to get off your feet, step into the classy old Bar Plaza Dorrego (Defensa 1098) for a pint and some nuts, where you can watch the market goers from a distance and see the bar’s walled adoration for the champion of tango, Carlos Gardel.
7. Mate y facturas. One of the most common pastimes of porteños is to grab a thermos of hot water, mate, and some pastries and lounge in one of the cities parks on the weekends. Before you go, buy a bunch of pastries from one of the cities many bakeries and have a picnic of sorts. I am recommending Parque del 3 Febrero simply because it is spacious and beautiful, with a nice rose garden and lake. If you do this, Argentina will be seriously impressed. But that’s not why you should do it. You should do it because there is no better combination than bitter máte and sweet dulce de leche at the park, on a sunny afternoon, in Buenos Aires.
8. Java. It must be said that porteños appreciate café culture as much as any European city. Whether it be a mid-day work break or a pre-gallery exhibition, they have a café for every occasion. Sit down at one of these swell spots for a steamy shot of espresso anytime of the day. Café Tortoni on Avenida de Mayo claims to be the oldest (and consequently is the most touristy), but is worth a visit anyway. My suggestion for you and Querido Buenos Aires though, since she loves her books so, is a literary affair at Ateneo on Santa Fe. This old movie house turned bookstore has a coffee shop where the old stage used to be.
10. Tango. Just in case the city hasn’t seduced you yet (or even if it has), check out one of the many tango shows. If you must see a traditional show, Señor Tango does a good performance. But if you really want to experience the thralls of passion go to La Catedral at Sarmiento 4006 and try your own hand at it. This informal venue is a good mix of locals coming to get a few drinks, snack and dance the tango to a live band. The dance floor is filled with novices and the attitude is quite encouraging. This is the best place to see non-professional Argentines do the tango in an environment where you too can feel the passion – and if you don’t feel her passion here, I guess we’ll have to allow you to return home.