The concept of a ‘vacation’ during our big backpacking trip might sound odd, but after 3 months of sleeping in our tent and moving around a lot we were ready to slow down a bit and treat ourselves to some creature comforts. The best part was that our good friend and roommate from Boston was going to come down for a much deserved vacation and explore BA with us! We found an incredible apartment through Airbnb in the Palermo neighborhood on Avenida Cnel. Diaz between Las Heras and Libertador.
We arrived in BA and promptly went to our apartment, groceries in hand and lived the hermit life for the first two days…enjoying having a real kitchen, hot shower and luxuriously comfortable bed! Soon however, our friend arrived and we were ready to start exploring! Buenos Aires had a definite European feel with architecture and cafe culture that made us think of France. There was also some incredible grafitti all around the city. I was excited that our apartment was near a huge park, el Bosque de Palermo. It was filled with paved and earthen running paths, the beautiful Paseo el Rosedal, and tons of Porteños walking their dogs and enjoying the outdoors. I took advantage by going on some jogs in the morning and taking some photo walks.
We sampled famous Argentine steak in a traditional Parilla restaurant but also were amazed at the quality of the steaks we bought and cooked ourselves at the apartment. truly delicious. In addition to steak and wine, I personally enjoyed diving into the Porteño obsession with dulce de leche – as the stuffing of a cake-like cookie called an alfajore or just straight out of a jar on a spoon!
We visited the zoo, saw the horse track, took a bike tour, visited the art museums, and walked the city from end to end. Jordan and our friend spent an afternoon in an old fashioned billiards club filled with cigar smoke, green lampshades, and gray haired old men in slacks and suits (when i went to pick them up I got a distinct ‘no girls allowed’ vibe). We wandered through the elegant and peaceful cemetery, enjoyed live jazz and cocktails, and sat mesmerized at the evening milongas by the skill, grace and beautiful tension of the tango. We were all impressed to see 80+ year old Porteño gentlemen mastering their way around the dance floor with any number of young women. Perhaps that is the inspiration I needed to get Jordan to a dance class with me! We took a few lessons during our vacation and realized just how much dedication is needed to learn the tango! Our friend, already a skilled dancer, took to the tango very well and impressed our instructor Candela 🙂
We had a great time in Buenos Aires but were left with one lingering question…even with an afternoon siesta, how do the Porteños stay out till 4 or 5 am, go to work and enjoy all the amazing things BA has to offer? Though the lifestyle didn’t seem sustainable for us visitors, we sure had a good time trying it on during our stay.