March 2014 • Canon 60D camera
City dial code
Ministro Pistarini International Airport
Time Zone (UTC)
Buenos Aries is often referred to as the Paris of the South. It's hard to argue with that as you walk through the center of the city. With it's impressive building facades, cobble streets, boutiques and cafes, there is a certain European charm and character in the air as you walk through the neighborhoods. Spanish, Italian and German culture springs to mind.
On a Sunday morning I stepped out of my hotel to an empty city just waking up as I strolled around for a couple of hours to see as much as I could before this afternoon. Starting off at the famous 9 de Julio Avenue, the widest avenue in the world, I passed by the national historic monument Obelisco de Buenos Aires as I made my way to the Plaza de Mayo.
An important square in Buenos Aires, it was the scene of the 25 May 1810 revolution that led to independence. It is now a hub for a lot of political life. The white obelisk–like Pirámide de Mayo stands proudly in the Plaza, along with the office of the president of Argentina the Casa Rosada (the pink house).
In front of the Casa Rosda is a monument to General Manuel Belgrano, who is holding up the national flag. When I was there in March 2014, dotted around the area were political graffiti which as a visitor makes you feel that there is some tension in the air.
The city is internationally known for Tango dancers, steak and red wine. But what is not mentioned is the obsession people have for the drink called Mate. First timers here will wonder why people walk around sucking out of a metal pipe from a strange shaped container..? Mate is similar to tea and has dried leaves of yerba mate served in hot water and drank with a metal straw (bombilla) in a hollow gourd. Mate is the choice of drink in social settings.
A short walk south from Palza de Mayo is the neighborhood of San Telmo. Cobbled streets lined with cafes, restaurants and boutiques you feels like you have stepped back in time. Live street music performers entertaining the crowds along with couples doing the Tango beautifully frames the bohemian feeling you get as you wander by.
Every Sunday is the Feria de San Telmo, an antique fair offering everything from furniture, clothing, records and more. And since it was Sunday, more people the usual where out and about. The sun had finally decided to come out as I strolled this area. This is a good place to spend a lot of time as everywhere you can notice these small details that captures the charm and character of this neighborhood.
Because I had only a couple of hours to walk around Buenos Aires, I had only just started to scratch the surface of this city. I was meeting up with the rest of the tour group that evening and after the long flight from London, I needed a quick nap in the afternoon. Which was a shame as not only did I miss out on other things to see, but the weather was nice and sunny! A sad fact but Buenos Aires is known for robbery and pick pocketing against tourists.
A note for photographers: Don't go walking out on your own with you DSLR camera in areas where there are few people. I was warned by a few locals not to be showing my camera so openly as I walked by. Luckily nothing happened to me, but it is always best to be safe, so keep your camera in your bag until you need to take a picture.
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