Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Travel Report 3: Buenos Aires

Last month, I snuck away for an 11-day trip to South America…this is part 3, the final part of my report (catch up on part 1: Rio deJaneiro and part 2: Iguazu Falls).
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Our last stop on the tour was Buenos Aires, and it was definitely a more cosmopolitan city than Rio. Once known as “the Paris of South America,” it’s got lots of familiarly European buildings, as well as a booming live theater tradition.

What Buenos Aires offers over Paris and other similar cities is a mix of the traditional city look with the more colorful and sensual. And by “sensual,” I don’t mean sexual so much as appealing to the senses. Like the tango. Like colors and textures and quality food. Like the colorful houses in La Boca (second photo), the rose color of the government house (where Evita gave her famous speech and Madonna sang the song), like the gorgeous leather goods for sale everywhere, and like the good Argentinean beef.

And about that beef… Brazilians and Argentineans both love their beef and they love enormous portions. HUGE. I’ll be honest, by Buenos Aires, it was too much of a good thing. Now, I don’t eat beef, personally, but the rest of my family group did, and they continued to pack it away at every offering.

Some was better than others—they all agreed that the best beef empanadas were found at the Santa Susana Estancia, and the best beef was had at Chiquilin restaurant in Buenos Aires. But enough beef was enough, by the end of the 11-day trip. They’ve all sworn off until at least 2016.

The interesting culinary note was the complete lack of sauces. Meal after meal, the beef was served plain, maybe with onions on the side. Not even any salt and pepper on the table, and certainly no salsa or any other sauce. We returned home and made straight for the salsa, thanking M
exico fervently for pico de gallo. Chet decided Buenos Aires was like Paris in the middle of Texas—because right outside the cosmopolitan city were open fields. And beef.

As for the typical sights: the government house (“don’t cry for me…”), La Boca neighborhood, La Recoleta cemetary (where Evita is entombed), games by the gauchos at the estancia, tango, and a city view. And at the bottom of the post, us at the waterfront on our last night.

  

Final verdict? The most amazing sights were the topography and scenery of Rio and Iguazu Falls. But we don’t feel like we need to go back there. We’d happily return to Buenos Aires and other points in Argentina (like Patagonia) for more exploration. Overall, a great trip!

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