(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)
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.
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.
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