Lately, I feel like Buenos Aires is everywhere I go. I have been reading Andi’s posts about her latest visit to the city (read at My Beautiful Adventures). Then, I met Ana, a Buenos Aires native thru Twitter. The other day I found some beautiful pictures showcasing the magic of Argentina’s capital. Conclusion: I had to write about Buenos Aires today in order to perpetuate the trend.
Four years ago, I arrived at Buenos Aires after a long flight from Los Angeles. This was the first time I ventured to travel by myself. Without a doubt, it was the perfect city to see in my own terms, without anybody telling me what to do or where to go. It was pure delight.
Once I got installed at my hotel, I headed straight to Plaza Dorrego’s antique fair (only on Sundays). Don’t think this was a boring and uninteresting (or purely shopping) activity. After all, this is an Argentinean style antique fair. What I mean is that the place is filled with opportunities to watch and mingle with locals. Furthermore, Plaza Dorrego is located in San Telmo, the city’s oldest barrio (neighborhood). Consequently, you can combine a visit to the fair with the charms of the barrio cobblestone streets, colonial buildings and old churches.
Now if you want to buy something unique, I would recommend buying something from the antique sellers. There is a lot of variety and you can browse until you find something you like at an approved price. For example, because I like to buy items I can wear, I bought a gold, Spanish-style-fan pin. The pin is carved with flowers and birds and it resembles the damasquinado art from Toledo, Spain. I asked the seller where she got it. She told me somebody from Argentina’s rural provinces sold it to her. It was probably an old family jewel. Imagine having the opportunity to have something made at the end of the 19th century (the seller knew when the piece was made because of the pin’s closing mechanism) . In addition to antiques, you can find traditional crafts at good prices. I was able to buy a plaque painted by a fileteado artist and a rodocrosita (native pink stone) pendant. Fileteado is a type of artistic drawing, with stylized lines and flower used to adorn all kinds of objects in Buenos Aires.
As in many places, food is everywhere. Street vendors offer yummy empanadas and scrumptious churros filled with dulce de leche. If you want to seat down for a proper feast, there is no shortage of fantastic restaurants offering juicy cuts of beef. Remembering all these treats makes me hungry.
Last but not least, the streets surrounding the plaza are filled with tango music and dancing. From dancing groups showcasing their best moves to impromptu sparks of genius from normal folks waiting for lunch, this is a place to fill your eyes with the gift of this inspiring music. San Telmo claims to be the barrio where tango was invented. Therefore, I was not surprised when I saw the great ability some performers demonstrated. You can go to a sophisticated show in one of the dinner and show venues but this is something else. You can see why the city is identified with this music. It is because people really have a place in their hearts for tango and they love to show its passionate rhythm to others. They really feel the music. So sit down and enjoy one of the many street shows that surround the area.
If you go to Buenos Aires, stop by the Plaza Dorrego to absorb the vibe. Don’t forget to bring me some churros filled with dulce the leche. I will greatly appreciate it!!
See you next time.
Extra tip: The Recoleta barrio has a crafts fair on weekends (not sure if it is only on Sundays or Saturday and Sundays). It would be nice to head to the San Telmo area and then to the Recoleta park to enjoy the other fair. The Recoleta fair is quite different. It is oriented towards crafts (not antiques) and talented residents expose beautiful pieces. Also, there are a lot of family oriented activities. Or people just chill out in the park.