2010 SOUTH AMERICA TRIP REPORT
Buenos Aires combines the charm of a big city with the warmth of small town. During my three days in the city I found people to be exceedingly friendly and unabashedly proud of the city they lived in. Being in mid-July, the weather was cool, with a light rain falling when I arrived. Though it was early on a Sunday morning, the streets were crowded around the train station, with dozens of vendors setting up shop on sidewalks (hawking the usual crap you find South American street vendors selling like magazines, household goods, cigarettes, and cheap souvenirs).
I stopped by a café (who’s name happened to start with Mc) for a breakfast of gourmet, delectable, scrumptious, mouth-watering processed eggs. Yeah, the food tastes the same in South America. After breakfast I walked across town to the Park Hyatt, my hotel for the next two days. I had some trouble finding it, but was sitting in my room by 9:15a.
The hotel, which merits a post of its own, was so comfortable I did not feel like going out, but by noon I was back outside, ready to explore the city. As is usually the case when I travel, I had no set agenda: I just meandered around.
A few highlights: Outside the national congress building (above) sits a famous statute carved by Auguste Rodin, The Thinker. As I was snapping a picture of it, a woman and her daughter came up to me and asked me if I wanted my picture taken in front of the statute. I responded affirmatively and thanked them. After taking my picture, they explained to me (with mother talking in Spanish and daughter translating) all that there was to see in Buenos Aires and how I might want to budget my remaining time. They were both genuinely kind and I loved how proud they were of the city they lived in.
After parting ways, I encountered my next highlight—vintage public transportation. I’ve used public transportation around the world, including some antiquated street cars in the Czech Republic and Portugal as well as classic subway trains in Russia, but one of the subway lines in Buenos Aires features cars that date back to the mid 1930’s. Not only are they in immaculate condition, they feature beautiful wooden seats and paneling and manual doors. For some reason, I love comparing metro systems in each city I visit (probably because I hate driving) and I enjoyed taking a step back in time in Buenos Aires. The other subway lines, by the way, are modern and feature larger, air-conditioned cars.
My final highlight was the food in Buenos Aires. Known for its beef, I enjoyed every meal in Buenos Aires, including my lunch and dinner the day I arrived—a chorizo sandwich for lunch and margarita pizza for dinner. Yum.
As you can see from the photos above, the weather was gray for most of the day on Sunday and I even ran into a few downpours that forced me to duck for cover. Monday (my day trip to Uruguay) and Tuesday were markedly different: the temperature was at least 15F warmer and the sun was out the entire day.
As you’ll read about in the next section of the report, I enjoyed the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires so much that I spent much of my three days in BA inside the hotel.
If you’re a museum fan or enjoy multi-hour leisurely meals and sleeping in, plan on at least three full days to fully examine the myriad of attractions that Buenos Aires offers. If you’re someone like me, who appreciates museums but is content to explore by foot and public transportation, I think you can see the city in a day. Then again, I get restless faster than most people.