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Buenos Aires


(January 2007) Here are some attractions that can be covered in a weekend jaunt to Buenos Aires, as we did in 2007.


TOUR BY BIKE.  Urban Biking  [**,$] offers bike tours with a knowledgeable guide for 5 hours.  There are four programs to chose from; we decided on the North city which includes the famous Cementerio del la Recoleta, a short visit to funky outdoor metal sculputures (see photos below), and the Palermo parks and neighborhoods.  I guide met us at the base of the Ex-English Tower, across from the railroad station (Retiro), towing our two bikes with his bike (a sight to see).  Before starting we inquired about climbing the tower, which was closed to the public.  Our tour guide knew the tower keeper and arranged an exclusive entry for us.  The elevator was broken; we reached the top by climbing five flights on very steep ladder steps.  Afterwards on the bike ride our guide offered running commentary on Buenos Aires history, art, politics, and culture, ending in a Recoleta district park with a half hour lecture on the ritual of preparing and serving the Argentinean national drink, the Mata.   Later we purchased a Mata cup and "straws," and two bags of Mata to share with friends back home. 


Outdoors sculptures seen on Urban Biking tour (Click on photos to enlarge)


TANGO. But of course we also did the Tango scene... as does every tourist.  We quickly learned that there are three types of Tango venues:  the "Broadway glitz" shows (mostly for tourists), the Tango concert and dance clubs (for the locals), and the street artists.  We tried one of each.  We did the glitzy Carlos Gardel Tango show.   But more interesting and intimate experience with the tango is the at Sunday market [***] at Plaza San Telmo .  The market starts at 10 AM, goes all day, and is a very good place to hear many Tango bands and then buy their CDs.  We purchased 4 CD at $5 US per CD.   BTW, the Bocca Sunday street market is a lot less interesting and (in our opinion) not worth the time --  better to stay longer at Plaza San Telmo. 



Tango on stage, at nightclubs,  .... and on the street



Best places for WALKING, JOGGING.  Buenos Aires is not much of a walking town.  We preferred getting around by taxis (cheap: $3-4 US for a typical point-to-point ride).  The subway is even cheaper (two tickets for less than a buck).  There are however some places for walking/jogging.  The Puerto Madero is a promenade of modest length with many good restaurants.  Near the Puerto Madero is the Reserva Ecologica loop, about 10 K, with continuous views of the city skyline.  The Reserva run, however, is not pristine, and we would rather recommend a shorter run on the outer bike/runner path around the lake in Rosedal garden [*].   Along this path are beautiful gardens, the row boat rental,  and two bridges.  The porteños have a tradition of making marriage proposals on the white painted bridge. 


January is vacation time for the porteños ("people of the port").  Hence the city was quieter and less congested than usual, or so we were told.  We couldn't do everything on our list on this weekend visit.  Reserved for another time:  Cafe Tortoni (the touristy but "must-do" Tango venue), Grucho music venues, the horse races, a soccer match, boating on the Tigre, and the opera. 


At the end of the weekend we found ourselves "stuck" in Argentina because of lack of seats on aircrafts heading stateside.  (Miami is a favorite destination for porteños in their national "vacation month.")  So we ended up spending several more days at a ranch a few hours from the city.  During the ranch stay we were rewarded with an unplanned sighting of comet McNaught .... possibly the most spectacular comet in a century.


Our Buenos Aires hotel recommendation:  Loi Suites.  There are two in the city: one pricey and one very reasonable.  We were very happy with the "reasonable" priced one near Plaza San Martin.  We asked for & got a free upgrade to a large room and a discount from the rack rate.    


On Urban Biking tour:  cooling off at the water fountain during stop at the famous Cementerio.






The Tango Scene









Comet McNaught captured with a point-and-shoot digital