It’s a toss up between historic San Telmo and Recoleta as to what our next favourite barrio is. Historic San Telmo, with its beautiful architecture, borders La Boca and was once an elite residential area until yellow fever drove the more affluent families to higher ground (Recoleta, Palermo and Belgrano).
San Telmo is the area most identified with tango with various clubs offering high-priced lessons followed by night shows. The quaint, cobblestone streets are quite sedate during the week, however every Sunday the streets are closed for pedestrian traffic only and a huge antique, craft and flea market, several blocks long, lines the street. We were again fascinated with the fancy footwork of the tango dancers entertaining tourists in Plaza Dorrego. There is certainly no shortage of entertainment and we quite enjoyed the various street performers and musicians. Of course we couldn’t pass up the street food, parrilla (barbecued beef) and chorizo (sausage).
Originally the site of a Franciscan convent, Recoleta urbanized quickly after the 1870 yellow fever outbreak. It is internationally known for “Cementerio de la Recoleta” with elaborate crypts and mausoleums, one of which is Argentina’s sweetheart, Eva Peron. Other notables have their final resting place here and it is considered Buenos Aire’s most famous address. We stayed in Palermo our first week and moved to Recoleta for our second. We enjoyed the numerous parks, or plazas as they are known here, each with huge monuments honouring heros or heroines of bygone days, the easy access to museums, shopping, cafes, restaurants, etc.
Recoleta is also home to one of the most impressive museums we visited in BA, “Museo Nacional De Bella Artes”. We marvelled at works by well-known Europeon artists and their Argentine counterparts-a wonderful collection with the added bonus of free admission everyday. Other museums offer free admission on Wednesdays, something to consider when travelling on a budget!
Another notable place of interest included the “El Ateneo Grand Splendid”, an elegant bookstore in a renovated cinema. The stage is a cafe, the curved walls of the upper story are lined with bookshelves and readers can kick-back in the opera-style boxes.
Spending a couple of weeks in Buenos Aires was a pleasure and gave us the time to leisurely explore the city and outlying areas. It is very easy to get around whether on foot or metro, it also has some of the best subway art. It truly is a beautiful, diverse city, each barrio has its own small town feel with a definite European flare. Green space is plentiful, there are great bike paths, shopping and of course superb dining and 🍷, definitely something for everyone.
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