Dream trip becomes reality
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to South America, in particular Argentina, so when my husband and I finally made this trip happen, I loved every minute of planning it. A few days before our journey began, I spontaneously bought tickets for us to see the Buenos Aires Philharmonic perform at the Teatro Colon the evening of our arrival. So after the long flight from Vegas to BA, via Mexico City, we met our Airbnb host, got settled into the apartment, changed into our theater clothes and ran through the streets of our new city to the beautiful theater. What an amazing way to kick off our vacation!
Exploring the city
We spent our first day wandering around, getting a feel for the city. As many people have said, it has the feel of a major European city and I loved the vibe. We walked to the Casa Rosada and the Plaza de Mayo, enjoyed a nice lunch, then did a free walking tour where we got to meet some amazing people from all over the world. Our guide, Vicky, shared a lot about life in Argentina’s capital city, and we saw some different neighborhoods as we talked with our new friends. We also got to see the guards at the Malvinas/Falklands War Monument to the Fallen who raise the flag each and every morning. After the walking tour, the group hung out afterwards at a cool bar/restaurant, Milion, and we’re all still Facebook friends to this day!
We had the perfect weather for our cycle tour of the city. We cycled along busy roads, through neighborhoods, and also into the ecological reserve, where our guide had us try Argentina’s popular drink mate. There were four of us in the group, including the guide and we had a great time. We rode through the San Telmo neighborhood to the Caminito, rich with color (and tourists). As soccer (football, to me!) lovers, we enjoyed seeing the stadium of the Boca Juniors soccer team.
Feria de San Telmo
Sunday morning, we took the subway to the Feria de San Telmo, a big craft/antiques market through the cobbled streets of the neighborhood. We enjoyed freshly-squeezed orange juice, choripan directly from the griddle, and flavorful empanadas. There were tango dancers to watch while we ate our choripan, and a great band playing on one of the corners (we bought their CD!) A fun experience.
We couldn’t be in Argentina, home of Lionel Messi, without seeing a football/futból/soccer game. We’d read it was best to go with a group so we booked through LandingPadBA and ended up hanging out with people from all over the world beforehand. We then took a bus ride to the River Plate Stadium, El Monumental, where they would be playing Lanús. The authorities were only allowing the home team’s fans to attend because of issues with violence. At the entrance, the men were separated from the women and we were all searched for weapons. Speaking Spanish helped me feel less intimidated as the guards were asking us which team we wanted to win (I answered wisely!). It was a fantastic atmosphere and as avid soccer fans, we loved it!
Día de la Memoria por la Verdad y la Justicia
March 24 is Argentina’s Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice and we stumbled upon huge (and peaceful) demonstrations. There were lots of signs and posters showing photos of those who disappeared – and were never found – while the country was under military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.
What’s new, Buenos Aires?!!
Having spent my late teens watching Madonna’s Evita over and over and reading many books on Eva Peron, we just had to go to the Evita museum. In fact, it was sitting in the theater, singing along to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita musical, that prompted our Argentina trip; literally a week later we had it all planned and booked! We did the audio tour, where we could wander at our own pace. I loved seeing artifacts from her life and learning more. There’s a cute little café where we enjoyed lunch after the museum.
After the museum, we enjoyed meandering through the Tres de Febrero park – a beautiful space in the city – we headed to the Recoleta Cemetery, the home of Eva Perón’s tomb. It truly is a maze, full of mausoleums, and a peaceful place to be.
Our final day in BA
We spent a few days in Puerto Iguazu, experiencing the incredible Iguazu Falls, and then flew back to Buenos Aires for a day before flying home. It was great to be back in the city after a few days in the rustic bungalow and jungle. We stayed at Casa Calma – a treat after our great but basic accommodations in Iguazu. We ordered breakfast in bed, then stored our luggage with the hotel as we went out for one last day around the fantastic city. It was a rainy day so we borrowed an umbrella from the hotel (highly recommend this hotel) and set off! The night before, we’d gone back to our favorite restaurant, Parrilla Peña, and met a fellow traveler who recommended a few places so the next morning, with a 10:30pm flight back home, off we went to explore.
El Ateneo is a beautiful theater, turned bookstore. We got there a few minutes before it opened and there was a line outside – in the rain! We bought a children’s book in Spanish, then my husband (a Spanish novice) read it at an amazing coffee shop, Full City Coffee House, in the Palermo neighborhood. The best Colombian coffee I’ve ever had!
We had a fantastic time in Buenos Aires – and the time at Iguazu Falls was indescribable. A dream trip for sure!