Buenos Aires, Argentina: An IntroductionJanuary 26th, 2014 | Posted by in Argentina | The Places We've Been
I’m fairly positive any “introduction” to Buenos Aires is destined to fall woefully short. Argentina’s buzzing capital of 13 million (making it the second largest metro area in South America after São Paulo and, by most measures, one of the twenty largest cities in the world) is one of the most culturally rich and complex places I have personally ever seen. As such, it is also South America’s most visited city, ahead of even Rio de Janeiro. Residents of the city proper, called porteños after BA’s important position at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, live in forty eight different barrios (neighborhoods). Often called “The Paris of South America,” the nickname does seem deserving; the city’s rich European style architecture is a varied mix of many different styles.
Below are some expected highlights. We’ll report more thoroughly later on the things we actually encountered.
- Wine. Western Argentina’s abundance of wine production means you can get a decent bottle here for less than the equivalent of $2. Malbec is one of the most popular grapes.
- Tango. This undeniably sexy dance was born in Buenos Aires.
- Beef. Argentina is famous for its beef production and for its beef consumption. Per person, they eat more beef per year than any other country on earth.
- Distinctive neighborhoods. Palermo is hip, Recoleta is posh and polished, San Telmo is like living history, La Boca is colorful, Puerto Madero is undergoing a renaissance…the list goes on and on.
- Walking. There is a great and reliable subway (called the “Subte” for subterráneo), and taxis are plentiful and cheap, but if you’re going less than a mile walking is probably going to be the fastest mode of transport. Not complaining.
- Mate. The national hot drink of Argentina (and Uruguay and Paraguay and parts of southern Brazil).
- Hot hot heat. Yeah, we are in BA in the hottest month of the year. A lot of porteños take vacations upriver to the town of Tigre or in cooler parts of the country in January.
- Pope stuff. Alright, I don’t really expect to see THAT much pope stuff, but Francis is from here, and I had to work that in somehow.
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Hey!!! You got to the BIG ONE!!!!!!!! Enjoy!!
And we are loving it too. We don’t want to leave BA.
I was really hoping for a song intro looks beautiful as always! Hope you’re having fun!
I was tempted to throw that in, but it didn’t make the cut. Maybe next time…
Great post. I love Buenos Aires and you really gave a good description of the neighbourhoods hit the nail on the head.
Unfortunately I had to experience the reliable subte being unreliable last year. had to catch a bus from palermo to the centre, it took forever but luckily I made it
Thanks for ready and commenting, Stef. We also had to take a bus once when a subte line was down. We just guessed which one to take and went for it. Somehow it worked out fine.
Oh, you went to Cafe Tortoni! Yay! Buenos Aires! I’m not at all jealous…
They make a killer milkshake at Tortoni. We love BA so much we are coming back in a few weeks.
I could not agree more… BA got under my skin as well…
We think it would be a very livable city to spend a longer amount of time in.
Hands down, my favorite city and I have spent months at a time there on several occasions. I miss it! Have fun!
It really is a great place. We are leaving in three short days and don’t want to go…though we have decided to come back in a few weeks, so it won’t be a long parting.
When you get back to BsAs, check out the art fair in Plaza Serrano in Palermo on Sundays and look for my good friend Sebastien Chellemi. he paints a lot of paintings of dogs you will really like and he is an interesting guy. Say hi for me if you see him!