Argentina – Palermo, Buenos Aires

I broke the last six days of our trip into two pieces. One of activities in and around the neighborhood of Palermo, where we are staying in an apartment rented through AirBnB, and the other about day trips outside of the city. But first, let me give you a chance to read what we’ve been doing so far on our trip to Argentina:
Buenos Aires – San Telmo
Ushuaia
El Calafate
Buenos Aires – Day Trips

We arrived back in Buenos Aires on Tuesday night and were met at our apartment by our host, Gus. After a very animated tour of the place, he left us and we searched for food. It’s a cute neighborhood but it closes down earlier than other areas of Buenos Aires. We found a delivery place open and ordered a bunch of empanadas and got a liter of soda. Not our best meal but not bad! back at home, we were pleased to find the Internet was stable and that there was even a desktop! This allowed me to do some job searching and apartment hunting before bed.

After all of the moving around and operating on tour schedules, Jenny and I collectively decided that Wednesday would be a less planned day of wandering. And boy did we wander! First stop was groceries. Since we have an actual kitchen, it made since to plan to eat breakfast in and have snacks for lighter lunches. The grocery store wasn’t too hard to navigate but it certainly was crowded! I did a load of wash in the morning as well and hung it up to dry before we set off for the afternoon.

Gus had left a Sube card which we added money to and hopped on the bus. Our destination was Recoleta Cemetery in the neighborhood next to Palermo. I had found an app that we downloaded and used to walk through the huge city cemetery and learn about a small fraction of the crypts. The app included a map and 25 descriptions of people buried there. It was well worth the $3 download fee and shares the name of the cemetery for those that are interested! The crypts themselves were stunningly beautiful. Many were as large as confession rooms with benches inside or many compartments for various family members. Styles varied from Greco-Roman classical to ornate Celtic to Egyptian to Byzantine mosaics… It was fascinating to see and hear how and why people chose to be forever memorialized.

My favorite story was about a couple who were married but the husband had been quite wealthy from a previous marriage. He was tired of his new (25 years younger) wife spending all of his money so he posted a letter in the newspaper declaring that he would no longer pay off her debts. She was so mad that when she designed her bust years after he died, she requested that it be placed facing away from his statue in their crypt. She requested this so that she would not have to gaze upon her husband for the rest of eternity. Harsh!

After the cemetery we were quite warm (it’s been 85 degrees here) so we searched for a cafe to cool off. We stumbled upon Persicco, a helado (ice cream) shop that had been recommended to us by several locals. We sampled quite a few flavors before each settling on a small cup with two types each. I got Cheesecake de Marayana (passionfruit flavored cheesecake) and Chocolate Suizo (chocolate with swirls of dulce de leche). Oh my goodness! They were so creamy and cold and delicioso. Definitely worth the stop and a great break in our day.

Next up was a visit to the travel agency that runs boats to Uruguay. We purchased our tickets for Thursday and then enjoy a nice, LONG, leisurely walk back home. It was quite a ways but there are a number of parks in Recoleta and Palermo, so it was a pleasant trip. According to my step counting app, it was over 10,000 steps for this part of our day alone! We came across a holiday festival for children, which was free to all so we took a few pictures and enjoyed the reminder that Christmas is coming! There were a lot of statues by Argentinian artists scattered throughout the green spaces, but our favorite (and the most popular) was at the United Nations Square. It is called, “Floralis Generica”, and is a flower that opens everyone morning and closes each night. It is unique because it is the first moving structure to be controlled by a hydraulic system and photoelectric cells.

After our epic journey home, we looked up dinner options and did some research for Uruguay. Then we headed back out around 8:45pm to Na Serapia, but not before grabbing Jenny’s laundry from the roof as it was beginning to rain. The rain didn’t last and the food was well worth the trip! It was a local place and we were the only foreigners there (bonus!). We split two empanadas, one carne picante and one carne salteñas. Both beef with different styles. They were amazing! We both agreed that we would consider returning just for those. Then we also ordered the locro and humitas. Jenny’s was more of a corn stew with various vegetables in it and mine was a corn mash inside chala, similar to a corn tamale. But were really good as well! Getting back to the apartment and collapsing into bed were all we could manage after this long, fun day.

Thursday we went to Uruguay for most of the day, which you can read about in my Buenos Aires day trips post. When we returned in the evening, we went back to our favorite chaotic street, Florida, where we exchanged the US dollars from Uruguay. This time we decided to go all in at one shop and get it over with. So we exchanged $600 for the legitimate equivalent of $897. Oh and we did that in the back of a magazine stand in the center of the street. Nbd. Feeling rich, we walked through the Galleria Pacifico shopping mall to see the huge Christmas tree decorated in crystal ornaments. The most interesting part of that was that exactly one week before Christmas there was no line to see Santa. Zero.

Next on our list in the area was Guerrin’s Pizza for dinner. Another local recommendation, this restaurant has been a staple in the city center since 1932. Jenny and I split a small pizza, half chicken/hearts of palm/artichoke and half ham/olive/red pepper. We wanted a side salad but at Guerrin’s, the choice is pizza… Or empanadas 🙂 Feeling full and TIRED, we caught the bus home and scurried into bed.

Friday morning we agreed to sleep in again, which for me meant 8:30(ish). I then did some research, applied to a few jobs, looked for a new camera online, showered, etc. On the daytime agenda was “just” the Japanese gardens and the Eva Perón museum. We had seen the gardens before and they were a quick ten minute walk from the house, so we went there first. They were certainly pretty, and it was nice to wander through them, but they were not the biggest or the best Japanese gardens I’ve ever been in. The biggest issue I had was that city life was going on around us with construction, traffic, weed-whacking, etc. After enjoying the gardens for a bit we walked through the rest of the parks in Palermo’s green section. A pleasant surprise was the rose garden, whose flowers were in varying stages of blossom.

Our end goal in wandering through the gardens was to find one of the extremely rare “food truck” vendors in Buenos Aires. Specifically to try choripan, a BA specialty that was essentially chorizo on bread (pan). A few things to note at this though. One, by truck they really mean cart. Two, the information online is sketchy at best and you basically cross your fingers to find one. Three, even as recently as the last few months stands have been closing or relocating to undisclosed locations. I should mention that at this point it was 90+ degrees and today was supposed to be our rest day from too much walking. The first stand, which we had a clearer location for was gone. The workers nearby confirmed that and offered McDonald’s as an alternative since it was the only thing nearby. No, gracias.

Jenny put her faith and tired legs in my control and I said I wanted to try one other spot and then we would call it quits. We also agreed to taxi from lunch to the museum to save our legs and because it would be quite cheap. The second “truck” was rumored to be in a three block stretch on the same road, beginning just two blocks over. The blocks were huge, one having the horse racetrack on it, and shade was minimal. As we were approaching the last of the possible blocks, we saw an umbrella on the opposite side of the street by a grassy park. We found it! And it did not disappoint. An older couple took our order and gave us colored chips to represent what type of food and drink we wanted. We then walked to the grill, turned in our chips, and waited for delicious food. We both tried choripan and then later went back to split… Something that was delicious but we weren’t sure what it was 🙂 Meat on a bun, basically. And we had a soda each. We sat in tree stumps, in the shade, surrounded by scavenging birds (including green parakeets), and chatting with the local men. It was awesome!

Jenny struck up a conversation was a nice older gentleman who had lived in New York. We thought nothing of it and said our good-byes to everyone when we were done eating. We were close to the regional airport so we walked up to the next intersection to catch an available cab. Just as we arrived, a car pulled over and it was Luis, the gentleman Jenny had spoken with! He offered to drive us wherever we were going and was concerned that we didn’t know anyone in the city. We accepted the ride to the Eva Perón museum and we were off. Through a combination of English and Spanish, we enjoyed our talk along the way and thanked Luis profusely for his kindness.

The Eva Perón museum itself was quite interesting and detailed. I learned a lot about this controversial woman in human history and enjoyed the mixed media format of the museum. It wasn’t gigantic but it sure fit a lot of information into its space. I recommend it to anyone with a spare hour in BA. We were both happy to go home and rest for a few hours that afternoon, out of the heat.

Around six, we hopped on the subway into the city center. Our plan for the evening was to enjoy everything tango! Jenny had researched and settled on a newer show in town, La Ventana, that included a dance lesson and dinner prior to the show that celebrated not just tango but other traditional music of Argentina. For the first hour, we met upstairs with one of the male dancers who taught us variations of a basic tango step. It was actually fun and the instructor was really good. There were maybe 6-8 other people up there, so not too many! Next, we went down to the second level and were shown our seats. We had the choice of appetizers, entrees, dessert, and wine with our deal. I chose the capresse salad (gave the tomatoes to Jenny), the baby beef with fries “traditional” dish, and the dulce de leche crepe for dessert. Oh, and the house white for wine. All of it was good, I couldn’t eat half of the meat as the portion size was so big.

The show was really good as well! Jenny chose it because of the variety of performances involved. Not only were there eight tango dancers, but a gaucho, an incredible accordionist, a few singers, etc. It was really well done and flowed in such a way that made sense and kept me entertained. The only drawback to it being so new was that the crowd was fairly small. We didn’t get home until after midnight and were up early to catch the train to Tigre, which you can read more about in my Day Trips post linked above.

Saturday when we returned from Tigre, we showered and dried off from the rain before meeting our friend from the States for dinner. We selected Don Julio in nearby Soho Palermo and had a great parrilla (grill) for our last dinner in Argentina. Justin is traveling the world for almost a year so it was great to hear his stories so far and share ours. I had chorizo and split a butterflied steak with Jenny. We also sampled a blood sausage… Not terrible but not awesome. After dinner we sat out at a cafe in a square nearby and just enjoyed the evening.

Sunday morning we had big plans to hit the weekend markets for one last day of shopping before flying home at night. But I’ll save the rest of that story for a bonus post in a few days 🙂 Hasta luego!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Welcome to 2015! | Rays of Funshine
  2. Trackback: Big Life Decision… | Rays of Funshine

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