Sadly, it’s time to say adios to Buenos Aires. We’ve had two glorious fulfilling months here, a longed-for dream, now incredibly realised. We will be back though, sooner than later actually. After our time in the UK our adventures continue in Chilean Patagonia – yes, that’s yet to come folks. Then we’re back in BA for one last week in late January to soak up the summer sunshine over in Palermo Soho.
It’s off to the UK on Thursday, via Santiago (backwards I know… fare structure). We overnight in a Lastarria hotel for one more snow-capped Andes vista (with pool), then it’s British Airways to London on Friday evening.
We’ve been so fortunate to have found this wonderfully shabby-chic but light-filled, breezy Casa Chorizo to rent here on the very fringes of San Telmo. It’s so conveniently located, especially with elegant Avenida Caseros right on the door step and the buzz of old-world San Telmo a block further on, with its cobbled streets, the green oasis of palm-filled Parque Lezama, the packed weekend antiques market and the many bars and restaurants that seem to stay open all night playing scratchy Tango music and/or showing endless hours of local Fútbol on TV – or not, as the case may be…
A fresh update on the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate and the shameful scenes outside the River Plate’s Monumental stadium on Sunday. The game has been deemed too dangerous to be played in Argentina. If it’s played at all, it’ll be in another country on either the 8thor 9thDecember, most likely Paraguay. Or, as may well be the case, River will be disqualified, and Boca awarded the Copa. Not a good look Argentina…but they need a team to represent South America in just two weeks in the FIFA Club World Cup. Only of course to get seen off by Real Madrid in the Semi Final. Just saying.
Should you find yourself dreaming of a break in this vibrant and yes, rather passionate of cities then I can highly recommend these two accommodation options: San Telmo Apartments (we stayed in The Guesthouse), whilst the second is an old San Telmo favourite of ours and where we stayed some 8 years ago now, still going strong and fronted by the imperious but fabulous Mercedes, note the gorgeous pool in the courtyard! (It’s one of many many properties Mercedes offers – Ant).
Ask for Grisel, she’s wonderful.
Definitely ask for Mercedes and mention our names…
By reading this you would have hopefully read some of my other posts and seen the many photos I’ve taken in an attempt at capturing the vibrancy, both in colour and atmosphere, of this river-side city. I hope I’ve achieved that! It continues to be loads of fun writing this blog and I’ll continue to do so whilst in the UK and of course when we’re back in South America in January.
For me, it’s the faded elegance of this city, its grand, often OTT architectural opulence, its breezy and expansive green spaces, all overlaid with its ‘take-me-as-you-find-me’ Latin character that makes this city so intoxicating. I recently read someone’s description of Buenos Aires that tickled my fancy ‘a mischievous lovechild of Paris and New Orleans, slathered in ‘buena onda’ with just a dash of political turmoil’ – I love that! Of course I can add a large dollop of Madrid with a generous side-serving of Upper East Side NYC.
The Porteños we’ve encountered along the way have been wonderful and chatty – friendly, welcoming, loads of fun (and long-sufferingly pragmatic about what’s going on in their country – Ant) such as the boys that run MASH, the British Indian Restaurant over on Defensa (excellent curries, even graced by Princess Anne when she was in town as Patron of the Youth Olympics), the magnificent Mercedes of course, the lovely Fatima at Antigua Casona (see you in Sydney in Feb perhaps?), the charming family that runs Almacen de Ramos Generales in San Antonio de Areco, the irrepressible Eduardo over in Uruguay, the ever patient and helpful Grisel, the ever-ready Raquel who’s cleaned this huge apartment every Thursday from top to bottom, and the hard-working waiters (everywhere) but particularly at our local favourite, Caracol, where we’ve had many a juicy steak (such as this evening) and a bottle of fine Malbec, all for a song.
I couldn’t quite cut the mostaza when it came to Tango lessons (that’s one lesson BTW), but it was fun all the same, despite my clumsy ‘Claude-Hopper’ attempts. However, Claudia was a natural, gliding as she did over our made-to-tango hardwood floors in the apartment.
My Manglish has incrementally improved, so I can sort of Spangle my way through a basic conversation and kinda get out alive of the local supermarket when challenged with a special offer or a wad of coupons thrust in my hand. Argentine Spanish is, as previously mentioned, a tad tricky as it’s both rapid-fire and sounds like (and I quote here from something I’ve just read) “some kind of pretend language, as if an Italian speaker was trying to imitate Spanish but was really just making up half the words”.
When we’re in the apartment late at night you often hear aforesaid rapid-fire conversations emanating from the light-well that, as the night wears on, seem to get louder, shouting almost. Impossible to fathom what on earth they’re talking about or why they need to shout at each other all of the time, but I now realise it’s common practice here, loud-talking that is. Until, on one particularly sleepless occasion, I opened a window and shouted out something unmentionable in English into the void, the voices died down for three puzzled moments then immediately resumed, at a higher pitch. Silly gringos…
It’s hard to leave but leave we must. No need to cry for me Argentina. We will be back.