2 Weeks in Buenos Aires: A “Vacation” From Traveling

April 2014

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.

Outside our apartment, fernet and coke in hand! Fernet and coke is an Argentinian favorite.

Outside our apartment, fernet and coke in hand! Fernet and coke is an Argentinian favorite.



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 🙂



It felt a bit inappropriate to photograph the dancers at the milongs when it was in full swing so I snapped a quick photo at the end when it had died down.

It felt a bit inappropriate to photograph the dancers at the milongs when it was in full swing so I snapped a quick photo at the end when it had died down.

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.


Argentinian BBQ Party: The Patagonian Asado in El Chalten

In a country famous for it’s meat, you’d better believe there’s a proper way to throw down a good BBQ. Lucky for you, I’ve created this easy to follow guide for having a traditional Asado in your own backyard.

  1. Go see your buddy at the market and if you are cooking for ten people, buy enough dead animal for 20.
  2. Hike down to the nearby river, gather tree trunk sized pieces of driftwood and start an enormous fire.
  3. Open magnum sized bottles of red wine from Mendoza (your relative’s vineyard of course) and debate over which cassette tapes of Gaucho (country) music to play.
  4. If you’ve bought a whole lamb, season it with salt only and hang it on a cruz (metal crucifix looking thing). Angle the whole animal upright leaning towards the roaring flames and a couple feet back. Cook the inside first before turning it around and making the skin all brown and crispy. Continue to pound red wine from Mendoza. Did I mention you’re opening wine with steak knives?
  5. Shovel hot coals, some under lamb, but most under cast iron grates/tables (aka the parilla) near the fire.
  6. Thinly slice potatoes and slap them down on the flat cast iron table w/plenty of oil. Season w/salt/pepper/aji. Maybe switch to drinking Fernet Branca in Coke and/or pound more red wine. Turn Gaucho tape to side B.
  7. Slowly roast all other red meat and offal on the grate, season w/only salt!
  8. When the meat is ready to go (nice med-rare), slice it up, put it in a fresh baked whitebread bun w/ nothing else! Everyone gets a sandwich. Everyone drinks. There’s no dancing, but lots of laughter.
  9. Once you’re all fed, bust out the classical guitar and sing old Gaucho songs until 4am.

If you disagree with any of the steps above, please take up your complaints with Domingo, the gaucho who owns El Refugio Campsite in El Chalten, preferably before the fire/meat-eating/wine drinking commences each evening.