A month in Buenos Aires
What to say about the home of the Portenos/as (the people of the port i.e. Buenos Aires born and bred)… It is a vibrant, bustling, beautiful city with a busy day and even busier nightime!
It has been a roller coaster of a ride (see my next blog for personal views/opinions/feelings about the city) but all in all it really has been amazing!
As we all know, Argentina is renowned for its quality of beef! Being a vegetarian this is something I did not look forward to but to see such pride in the eyes of the Porteños, whether it be at a Parilla or an Asado, it changed my mind completely.
Being invited to an Asado is a very special thing… it is a social gathering of people (friends/family) with tonnes of food (meat predominantly, but also salad vegetables, bread) and lots of beer, wine and music. Usually beginning around 11pm, it goes on for hours and really emphasised how sociable the Argentine people are. One thing to note though.. this is not a BBQ and if you refer to this as one to an Argentinean they will be offended!
The difference is the use of a Parilla as opposed to a gas/charcoal BBQ we so commonly know.
This is what a typical Parilla looks like.. a non commercial one that is..
It is the type you will find in many apartment blocks in Buenos Aires and the centre of where the Asados are held!
Apart from beef (Bife) being so popular here, leather is also vastly sold throughout Buenos Aires. Of course it is sold in the shops but it’s at the markets you find the real deals and treasures! If you have no space in your bag.. wear an extra belt going home! They are such good quality and so cheap. Two leather belts for $380 ARS which works out at around €20! The market vendors will customise and fit belts to your desire. How can you go wrong?!
As many of you will know Argentines are very passionate about football.. The legends that are Diego Maradona, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi… can be seen at almost every turn. I won’t pretend to know much about football but the passion of the game is intoxicating!
It is hard not to get swept up in the atmosphere when Boca Juniors or River Plate (the two major teams in Buenos Aires) are playing.. whether you are in a restaurant and the chefs are roaring with delight over a last minute goal or simply on the street where locals are jumping with glee, it is an amazing atmosphere. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go to a game whilst here but I did get to visit Caminito where the world famous Boca “La Bombonera” stadium is, and it is something spectacular for sure!
Before arriving here I had great plans to take classes and master the art of Tango but unfortunately this didn’t go to plan. Yes I took classes but it turns out I am not so good with letting a man lead 😊 who would have thought?! Despite this, I enjoyed the classes and recommend attending one if you have time!
As well as a class, I would highly advise going to a Tango show. They are just hypnotising! Mesmerised by the moves, the passion and the artistry of the dancers and musicians it truly is a party of the senses! I went to Piazzolla and was not one bit disappointed. Despite the price being quite high in comparison to other events in Buenos Aires (on estimate €70 per person to have a class, dinner and show) the place itself is simply stunning – ornate balconies, exquisite food and wine, attentive waiting staff and beautiful music. Simply wonderful.
If you are not lucky enough to have time or can’t spare the cash to attend a show, there are many ways to view the native dance very cheaply or even free of charge in Milongas… cafes… or from time to time you will stumble across dancers on the street!
Pronounced ‘Ma-tay’ this is the drink which all Argentinians are obsessed with! To me it is a herbal tea, pure & simple but to them it is so much more. Mate is the name of the cup it is being drunk from and depending on the origin of the cup or what it is made from, I have been assured it can change the flavour hugely.
It is very much a social drink and is often passed around friends – the key apparently is not to move the leaves or stir it using the straw; supposedly it ruins the taste. For girls here it is like the cool accessory to have coming in a wide range of colours but for most it is just an alternative to coffee/water.
Upon trying Mate I didn’t like it much at first but I have been told it is an acquired taste much like Guinness. For now though, I have decided, I will pass!
Some say it’s great for study and concentration, others just like to share with others. A friend told me, once you leave Argentina you can no longer buy it so when travelling around they are sure to bring enough with them. Much like sharing a beer or a vodka for me I think 😊
All in all, Buenos Aires is a must for anyone coming to South America and it is definite… I will be returning here one day for sure!!
Next stop Merlo, San Luis!!