Buenos Aires

My original plan to fly from Bangkok to Rio De Janeiro was foiled because of a Brazil visa issue, so I decided to fly to South America via Buenos Aires, Argentina instead. Typically, before I arrive in a new country or city I'll do a little online reading ahead of time, watch a movie with the setting in the city I'm traveling to, or maybe listen to some advice from a podcast, but I'm not the type create a list of fifteen must see tourist attractions. I like for my experience of the city to unravel naturally. 

I think that one of the best ways to understand a city is to reach out to your network, people you already know. Some of the best advice I've ever received has come from people who live or have lived in the city I was traveling to. What better recommendations than that of a local or someone who gets all nostalgic about a place they use to live. Social media makes this extremely easy, and you'll be surprised by the places your third cousin, work colleague, or high school sweetheart have lived. 

I was lucky enough to tap into a connection I had from my previous job back home. Here are some of his recommendations, and if you're reading this Mark, I appreciate the pro tips! Your love for Buenos Aries made my experience there that much more enjoyable. 

A visual of the many recommendations I received, plus a few spots of my own I wanted to explore. 

A visual of the many recommendations I received, plus a few spots of my own I wanted to explore. 

Pictured above is the neighborhood of San Telmo. It's the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires. It's filled with cafes, antique markets, parrillas, tango shows, and plenty of art. To me it's the heart beat of the city and a great place for travelers to instantly understand what BA is all about. If you happen to go, a great place to stay is Hotel Bolivar. It's got character and stories for days, and is cheap with rooms around $12-20 USD a night. If you're looking for a nightcap, hit up The Gibraltar. It's got tasty food (big shout out to Tom!), stiff drinks, and you can't beat the atmosphere. And since it's a traditional British Pub, you'll find expats, locals, and bartenders who speak english or will work with you on your español.

Also in San Telmo, this little gem of a Parrilla (grilled meat house). It's said that you can cut your steak with a spoon. I'll second that. 

Also in San Telmo, this little gem of a Parrilla (grilled meat house). It's said that you can cut your steak with a spoon. I'll second that. 

Beef is incredibly delicious and incredibly cheap in this town. The cuts of steak are a little different than the traditional US cuts so do a little research before you hit the Parrilla. 

Beef is incredibly delicious and incredibly cheap in this town. The cuts of steak are a little different than the traditional US cuts so do a little research before you hit the Parrilla. 

Maté. It's slightly caffeinated, grassy-earthy tasting, herbal drink that's always sipped in a social setting among friends, family, and travelers. This was my first go at it. 

Maté. It's slightly caffeinated, grassy-earthy tasting, herbal drink that's always sipped in a social setting among friends, family, and travelers. This was my first go at it. 

Empanadas. A cheap, goto meal for locals and travelers alike. 

Empanadas. A cheap, goto meal for locals and travelers alike. 

The Thinker, situated at Congressional Plaza. It's one of twelve copies in the world. 

The Thinker, situated at Congressional Plaza. It's one of twelve copies in the world. 

Eva Perón. She came from humble beginnings and when she died it's said that she had more power and influence in Argentina than her husband who was president. 

Eva Perón. She came from humble beginnings and when she died it's said that she had more power and influence in Argentina than her husband who was president. 

The beautiful, european influenced, Av. Pres. Roque Sáenz Peña.

The beautiful, european influenced, Av. Pres. Roque Sáenz Peña.

Pope Francis' barber.

Pope Francis' barber.

Plaza de Mayo with Casa Rosada in the background. 

Plaza de Mayo with Casa Rosada in the background. 

Teatro Colón. It's one of the most beautiful man-made structures I've been in. 

Teatro Colón. It's one of the most beautiful man-made structures I've been in. 

Teatro Colón. This picture was taken during a tour that I took. We were allowed to sit and listen to the orchestra practice for an upcoming opera. It's suppose to be one of the top acoustic buildings in the world. Luciano Pavarotti said, "its acoustics are perfect! Imagine what this signifies for the singer: if one sings something bad, one notices immediately."   Ask for tickets for a show. The opera may not be in town, but they hold regular local shows. They're less formal and the tickets are super cheap. I actually got tickets for a Sunday show for free!

Teatro Colón. This picture was taken during a tour that I took. We were allowed to sit and listen to the orchestra practice for an upcoming opera. It's suppose to be one of the top acoustic buildings in the world. Luciano Pavarotti said, "its acoustics are perfect! Imagine what this signifies for the singer: if one sings something bad, one notices immediately." 

Ask for tickets for a show. The opera may not be in town, but they hold regular local shows. They're less formal and the tickets are super cheap. I actually got tickets for a Sunday show for free!

Pictured above is Cemerterio de la Recoleta. You wouldn't think a cemetery would be a must do, but the different types of mausoleums range from super expensive to neglected. It's such and interesting place to spend an afternoon. Oh, and Eva Parón is also buried here. 

Buenos Aires has a history of revolutionaries and protesters. Many people came out to Plaza de Mayo to show there displeasure for present Obama's first visit to Argentina.   The visit is controversial here because it comes on the 40th anniversary of the March 24, 1976, military coup that the U.S. initially supported, and resentment still lingers over the tens of thousands of people who disappeared or were killed under military dictatorship. (@usatoday.com)  Note: The building to the right is where Bishop Francis, now Pope Francis, held mass on Sundays.

Buenos Aires has a history of revolutionaries and protesters. Many people came out to Plaza de Mayo to show there displeasure for present Obama's first visit to Argentina. 

The visit is controversial here because it comes on the 40th anniversary of the March 24, 1976, military coup that the U.S. initially supported, and resentment still lingers over the tens of thousands of people who disappeared or were killed under military dictatorship. (@usatoday.com)

Note: The building to the right is where Bishop Francis, now Pope Francis, held mass on Sundays.

Located on the famous Av. 9 De Julio, Obelisco de Buenos Aires. It's often been used as a political prop or to gain awareness for certain issues. In 2005 it wore a giant pink condom for World Aids Day. However, on the day I took the picture you can see the sign "40 years of Justice". What you can't see is the other two sides of the obelisk, "Memory and Truth" So, all together it reads, "40 years... (asking for) Memory, Truth, and Justice"  

Located on the famous Av. 9 De Julio, Obelisco de Buenos Aires. It's often been used as a political prop or to gain awareness for certain issues. In 2005 it wore a giant pink condom for World Aids Day. However, on the day I took the picture you can see the sign "40 years of Justice". What you can't see is the other two sides of the obelisk, "Memory and Truth" So, all together it reads, "40 years... (asking for) Memory, Truth, and Justice"  

I was determined to go to a tango show, that is before I realized you could find street performers in just about every neighborhood in Buenos Aires. It's fun to sit and watch people so passionate about their craft. 

I was determined to go to a tango show, that is before I realized you could find street performers in just about every neighborhood in Buenos Aires. It's fun to sit and watch people so passionate about their craft. 

The locks along the Rio Dique. It's just a short walk east of San Telmo. 

The locks along the Rio Dique. It's just a short walk east of San Telmo. 

One of my favorite things to do while traveling in a large city is to check out their urban parks. I believe I found this charming group of trees on my way up to Palermo. Palermo is a little more roomy and much more modern than San Telmo. It's got great restaurants and a hip nightlife. 

One of my favorite things to do while traveling in a large city is to check out their urban parks. I believe I found this charming group of trees on my way up to Palermo. Palermo is a little more roomy and much more modern than San Telmo. It's got great restaurants and a hip nightlife. 

Another import from Italy, Fernet-Branca maybe the most popular alcoholic drink in BA. Picture credit: lifeandthyme.com

My new favorite type of wine. Malbec. 

My new favorite type of wine. Malbec. 

Want a fútbol game? You can find it weeknights after work or weekends every where. 

Want a fútbol game? You can find it weeknights after work or weekends every where.