Buenos Aires one, two, ten, a hundred times: never boring
Buenos Aires is like I imagined it. Charming, captivating, sensual. A city that you never get bored of seeing: one, two, ten, a hundred times. It was the beginning and the end of my trip to Argentina and I left with the desire to come back with the aim to let me wrap in its atmosphere but mainly to repeat the following experiences.
When you think to Argentina, it is easy to think of tango, two tight bodies dancing sensually together. Looking at them almost does not get tired because it seems that the bodies talk to each other. But how to attend a milonga without running into a tourist trap? Simple, go to La Catedral a dreamlike place, surreal, out of time and for this, truly exceptional. Located in a building of the late ‘800 then declared cultural heritage of the city and located in the historic district of Almagro, this place is exceptional. The lights are dim, the spaces in the central hall are large with high ceilings and several paintings of any kind and portraits of famous people all around. The atmosphere that you breathe is bohemian thanks to the vintage tables and chairs undoubtedly recovered in flea markets. People who attend it are fully dressed, impeccable and original at the same time. Like every self-respecting milonga, you pay and can be expected in the ticket price, the tango lesson or not.
Puertas cerradas or closed door restaurants are places where foodie-lovers start up an eatery in their homes. You book a few days before, on web. The same day you receive an email with the address details. You have dinner behind closed doors that is at the chef’s house along with other people (maximum ten) that like you have booked dinner. I found myself talking about traveling around the world with a Canadian dentist, in town for a conference as well as a couple of tango dancers and a young American girl who traveled around the world. Gorgeous!
After days in South America, it became quite clear to me that empanadas are big business and this is visible nowhere else than in Buenos Aires. However I can say that those offered at La Cocina are spectacular! Served in a small restaurant with cuttings of yellowed newspapers and relics from a bygone era, this famous Recoleta empanaderia looks much older than its 30 years. Unlike other places, La Cocina has more vegetarian options besides some great meat choices. My favorite dishes were certainly the picante meat (spicy meat) and picachu (three cheeses, onion and spicy sauce) but I have to say that everything I have enjoyed was excellent.
Palermo is without a doubt one of the districts that has most impressed me. Now let’s focus on Palermo Soho. This lively area is located between the streets of Santa Fé, Coronel Diaz, Córdoba and Juan B. Justo and is one of the trendiest parts of Palermo along with Palermo Hollywood. The favorite haunt of tourists, hipsters and designers, the area exudes innovation, freshness and has an international soul.
Plaza de Mayo
This square and the avenue leading to it, Avenida de Mayo, are emblematic of Argentine literature and political history. Despite being flanked by so many important government buildings, it may surprise you that this square is a permanent political protest site. In front of Casa Rosada, the President’s official office, flags and banners are often hung to point out a problem or something else. In addition to the graphic work depicting the Falklands War, literature on animal rights and unstoppable photography, this important tourist attraction has also been home to The Mother’s of Plaza de Mayo since the late ’70s to protest on behalf of the disappeared people during the Dirty War of Argentina.
Where to stay
Home Hotel is that rare combination: the design couldn’t be cooler but the staff couldn’t be warmer, putting it in a different league from all Palermo’s other boutique hotels. The idea was conceived by Argentine-English couple Patricia and Tom, frustrated by the lack of stylish Palermo lodgings for guests flying into Buenos Aires for their wedding. The result? The home away from the home that you’ve always wished you had, created with panache and love. The 18 spacious rooms and suites, originally an old factory, are filled with natural light and decorated in bold uplifting colours, with deliciously sumptuous beds and slick bathrooms. For those who want to live like kings for longer, Home Hotel has also 2 lofts, thoroughly equipped and airy apartments with abundant wow factor. The design throughout mixes contemporary minimalism with lovely classic furniture, fresh flowers and vintage wallpaper. Step through reception and you’ll find a fragrant garden with a pool, as well as a long and sleek resto-bar where inventive cocktails are served by candlelight and the soundtrack blends Billie Holiday classics with haunting tango. There’s even a Spa in the basement offering Ayurvedic massages. It’s a very easy place to call home.