After ten months travelling we arrived in Buenos Aires and it felt like the first big city on our world trip were would live for a longer time. The big parks, the network of cycling paths and the southern culture feels European. We stayed almost two weeks in Buenos Aires and took the time to discover the city. These are our highlights.
The cemetery looks like a city itself. It is surrounded by big walls and inside it is full with enormous tombs in a grid structure, like the rest of Buenos Aires. Some of those are as big as a single church. It is remarkably silent which makes you forget that you are in the middle of Buenos Aires. The most famous inhabitant is Eva Peron, but just walking around and enjoy the beautiful architecture is a better option then rushing to Eva.
La Boca is one of the eldest neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires and home to one of Argentinas most popular football teams, Boca Juniors. If you have the opportunity to watch a football game, it will be an amazing experience, with the clash against their rivals River Plate as the biggest game. Besides the stadium of Boca Juniors there is a pleasant atmosphere in the neighbourhood with the most popular street El Caminata where the colourful houses, the tango dansers and the sparkling atmosphere are a must see.
El Ateneo is an old theater which is turned into a modern book store. From the different levels you have a beautiful view on the book store. Some of the old loges are transformed into a reading room where different people enjoy reading some culture.
Another old neighbourhood in Buenos Aires is San Telmo. Especially on Sundays it is a top attraction because of the weekly vintage market in the main street. It gets very crowded, but the ambient atmosphere is pleasant on a Sunday when it can feel a little dead in the other parts of Buenos Aires. On different places there are tango shows and vendors who try to sell handicrafts and home made specialties.
About 30 kilometers on the west side of Buenos Aires is the Tigre Delta, a special wetland which can only be reached by boat. The delta is an enormous area with little islands where people are living. All the transport is going over water, with public transport or private boats. There are big mansions, but also old tiny houses. Every house has its own jetty to get on land, and some of them are remarkably beautiful.
With the train it is 45 minutes from the main station in Retiro. There you can book a paseo through the wetlands which we take about two hours. There are many touring offices which offer this tour, all for the same price of 100 pesos, about €5.
After all the Brazilian cities it was a relief to cycle in Buenos Aires. Since a couple of years the city has an extensive network of cycling paths. Almost all the streets become one directions which provides space for a cycling path at the other side. The cycling paths are separated by the road with yellow barriers which makes it feel safe to cycle. The cars are getting used to those new mode of transport, so cycling is an easy and safe way to navigate in Buenos Aires.
The distances in Buenos Aires are quiet big to walk so cycling is a perfect alternative to explore the city. Several travel agencies have discovered this and offer cycling tours around the city, but going on your own is easy and fun as well.
Argentina is football, meat and tango. On the touristic places there is always a tango show, often free to watch on a square. In La Boca you will find some tango shows every day and on Sundays the vintage market in San Telmo is the place to be. Besides the free shows there are a lot of tango shows in the evening, often combined with a full diner experience.
Buenos Aires is a very green city with a lot of parks. The biggest parks and a Japanese garden are north of Palermo. In the weekends the streets are closed for cars and which makes room for the children to cycle, skate and play on the streets. And like almost everywhere in Argentina all the parks are very well maintained. One downside are all the paseadores, the dog services, who are walking with ten dogs at a time and don’t feel like cleaning the everything that those pets leave behind.
Argentinians love sports and Buenos Aires is an ideal place to see some topsport. There are some big football teams, with Boca Juniors and River Plate as the most famous ones. Attending a football game is a must do in Argentina, even if you don’t like football. The atmosphere before and during the game is something you don’t see often in Europe.
Besides football, polo is a very popular sport. The season starts in oktober and is only for the high class, but it is an unique experience to attend a game. A more rough variant of polo is pato, a type of rugby on the horse. There are some ropes attached to the ball and the players have to throw the ball in a small goal.
Another top sport in Argentina is meat. Almost nowhere in the world the meat consumption is as high as in Argentina, with an asado every Sunday. Every year there is a enormous fair in Buenos Aires where all the best cows, horses and sheep are battling for the prizes. The winners are sold later for astonishing prizes in an auction. This feria rural usually is in July.