“He sido un paria en París
México me atormenta, Buenos Aires me mata,
Pero siempre hay un tren
Que desemboca en Madrid …” from Joaquín Sabina
We arrived twice to Buenos Aires, first from Puerto Iguazú, we landed in the afternoon on Aeroparque Internacional, and after a short walk in Puerto Madero and a nice lunch there at Il Gatto, we took a ferry (Buquebus) and left for Colonia del Sacramento. Meaning that we spent maximum 5-6 hours in the city for the first visit. But, already then, for the first time, it looked like a place that I’m going to like. But after such a short time, of course it was hard to judge. Anyhow the first impression, that sunny afternoon, the places that we crossed (Plaza Roma, Paseo del Bajo, Puerto Madero) looked very friendly and welcoming to me.
Then after spending a week in a Uruguay we took a ferry from Montevideo to get back to Buenos Aires again, where we spent 4 days, finally dedicating some time only for this amazing city. Then we arrived in the late evening, it was already dark, and we needed to walk from the port to our Airbnb, that was located very close to the famous Plaza de Mayo.
The Plaza de Mayo is located in the heart of the city center, and we couldn’t have chosen a better location to spend this couple of days. Almost everything was in a walking distance, on vibrant streets, within the Paris & Madrid looking like beautiful buildings. Plaza de Mayo has been the scene of the most momentous events in Argentine history, as well as the largest popular demonstrations in the country. We have also seen there 2 different demonstrations during these 4 days.
Plaza de Mayo, besides being a tourist attraction, is an important historical place too. Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Spanish: Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo) is a movement of Argentine mothers who campaigned for their children who had been “disappeared” during the military dictatorship, pursuing the government for answers between 1977 and 2006. Women had organized to gather, holding a vigil, while also trying to learn what had happened to their adult children during 1970s and 1980s. They began to gather for this every Thursday, from 1977 at the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace, in public defiance of the government’s law against mass assembly. Wearing white head scarves to symbolize the diapers (nappies) of their lost children, embroidered with the names and dates of birth of their offspring, now young adults, the mothers marched in two’s in solidarity to protest the denials of their children’s existence or their mistreatment by the military regime. Despite personal risks, they wanted to hold the government accountable for the human rights violations which were committed.
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo took advantage of the symbolic importance of the Plaza to open the public’s eyes to what the military regime was doing. Protests have continued on taking place, with the major last one being in December, 2001, when five protesters were killed and several others injured by police as they rioted around the Plaza de Mayo. Today, the Mothers are engaged with other social matters, in the struggle for human, political, and civil rights in Latin America and elsewhere.
Several of the city’s major landmarks are located around the Plaza: the Cabildo (the city council during the colonial era), the Casa Rosada (home of the executive branch of the federal government), the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, the May Pyramid, the Equestrian monument to General Manuel Belgrano, the current city hall or municipalidad, and the headquarters of the Nación Bank.
After visiting Plaza de Mayo, we decided to have a nice brunch at Adorado Distrito Histórico, a cute and cozy place, on Bolívar street with many coffee and breakfast options. They have more places around Buenos Aires, in different districts, we have also visited the one in San Telmo.
I have already wrote about the San Telmo market and the neighborhood too in an other post, and this is the district that I loved the most in Buenos Aires. We spent the whole afternoon here, just wondering around on its streets, admiring the cool cafes and bars, the architecture, the vivid tiny streets, the art galleries, the vintage boutiques and of course the market itself.
The next day we have decided to visit the Palacio Barolo. It is located on Avenida de Mayo. The steel-structured skyscraper measures 100 meters and has 18 floors. The Italian architect Mario Palanti was commissioned to design the building by the empresario Luis Barolo, an Italian immigrant who had arrived in Argentina in 1890 and had made a fortune in knitted fabrics. The basic design, in eclectic style, was conceived simultaneously with one for the Palacio Salvo in Montevideo. The lighthouse on the top of the building along with the Palacio Salvo in Montevideo, were designed to serve as a welcome to visitors arriving from the Atlantic Ocean.
Currently, the building has several travel agencies, a Spanish school for foreigners, a store that sells clothes for tango, offices and studios of architects, accountants, and lawyers.
Also there is a bar on the 16th floor, Salón 1923, and if you buy the entrance ticket to the Palacio, you can exchange your ticket for drinks or food at this bar. They have an amazing rooftop, lounge music, beautiful views on the city.
Funny enough, when we left the bar, we discovered a tiny staircase besides the elevators, I assumed that was not meant for tourists, but by a random thought we decided to check where it goes. There was no one there at that very moment, from whom we could have asked if it’s allowed or not… Well, we were able to climb up to the 18th floor on it, where we found another super tiny staircase and a secret elevator both leading upper to the Lighthouse. Well, the view was even better from there and there were no tourist, no one up there. It was amazing!! When we went down, we then just read, that it’s actually forbidden to go up there without special permission or guidance… 🤭
Very close to the Palacio, there is Plaza Lorea, where you can find a replica of El Pensador De Rodin.
Next to El Pensador there is the Monolith Kilometer Zero and on the other side of the Plaza, which is actually called the Congressional Plaza, you can find the Congreso De La Nacio.
The next day we spent in La Boca and visited the famous Caminito. A colorful and lively street museum, a traditional alley, with lot of colorful houses, brightly painted walls, local art shops and vivid bars. It means little walk, little path in Spanish. It’s located in La Boca, a famous neighborhood of Buenos Aires. The place acquired cultural significance because it inspired the music for the famous tango “Caminito“. You can find step instructions painted on the street, kind of quick guide how to dance tango! I’m not saying I’m a pro after that, but it’s definitely funny at least to try to follow the drawn steps.
Buenos Aires has so much to offer, so many things to see, visit and admire, that even if we spent 4 full days there, each day with walking 15-20 kms in and around the city, and tried to bring the most out of it, we were simply not able to do it all.
Our story with Buenos Aires finished here (at least for now, as I would be more than happy to return one day), and we left to the airport, this time to the Ezeiza International Airport, which is approx. 40 minutes by taxi, and from where our LATAM flight departed to São Paulo… to be continued… 😉