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Recoleta Cemetery

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Other great cemeteries we have visited: Bonaventure and Laurel Grove

One of Buenos Aires’ most beautiful neighborhoods is also one of its most exclusive. They won’t let just anyone move in, so if you’re looking for a new home here, there are a couple of inflexible prerequisites: you must be rich, and you must be dead. Being famous helps.

Recoleta

One of the world’s most gorgeous cemeteries, Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place of the city’s richest and most powerful citizens, and a wonderful spot for us plebes to do some gawking. They’re serious about that admittance policy. Not many are “good enough” for Recoleta. My politics are strongly populist, and the notion of a cemetery which exclusively houses the wealthy would normally disgust me, but in this case, I’m willing to disregard my inner socialist. Even in death, rich people are eager to show each other up, and the results of the rampant egotism are astonishing: every crypt is more beautiful, more ostentatious than the next.

The cemetery occupies an enormous amount of space and truly is a little city unto itself. It’s even organized into blocks. Strolling aimlessly about its streets is an overwhelming visual experience. Cypress trees sprouting up around mausoleums, feral cats slinking noiselessly across cracked tombs, sunlight filtered through stained glass throwing colorful shadows upon the ground. Make sure to have your camera with you.

Irigoyen

Established in 1822, Recoleta was the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires, without any kind of preferential policies. In fact, one of its first inhabitants was a young freed slave by the name of Juan Benito. But in the 1870s, a yellow fever epidemic drove the city’s elite out of the city center and into the neighborhood of Recoleta. They wasted no time in claiming the cemetery as their own.

Many of Argentina’s presidents are buried within its walls, but the cemetery’s most famous resident is undoubtedly Eva Peron. Surprisingly, her tomb is difficult to find and not nearly as impressive as those which surround it. Members of the oligarchy had fought for years against her being buried here, since she worked so hard to destroy their grip on power, but they eventually relented. Juan Perón, though, was a different story. He’s buried in the Chacarita Cemetery, west of Palermo.

Entrance is free, and it’s one of the absolutely must-see attractions for any visit to Buenos Aires. Recoleta is easily the most amazing cemetery I’ve ever been to.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Cheap Accommodation in Buenos Aires

Cemetery City
Buenos Aires Blog
Angle Feet
Angles Watching
Buenos Aires Cypress
Buenos Aires Tour
Candle Angle
Cemetery
Cemetery Tour
Coffing Argentina
Dead Eye
Dog Lady
Pharao Buenos Aires
Egypt Grave Argentina
Flowers Buenos Aires
Family Grave
Glass Seat
Glass Dome
Friedhof Buenos Aires
Jesus Buenos Aires
Lady Look
mausoleum-buenos-Aires
Old Flowers
Recoleta Cemetery
Recoleta Cemetery Buenos Aires
Ricardo Alfonsin
RIP
Sleeping Woman
Spider Lock
Spooky Grave
Statue Buenos Aires
STatue Row
Stone Temple
Evita Grave
Eva Peron Grave
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February 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm Comments (9)

San Telmo Loft – Central, Stylish and Easy

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Finding an extended-stay accommodation in a city you’ve never visited can be frustrating, scary and dangerous. Without first-hand knowledge of the city, and unable to physically meet landlords or view apartments, putting money down for a security deposit is little more than a leap of faith. So finding people like Angela and John, who run San Telmo Loft, is a relief.

Short Term Rental Buenos Aires

They’re Americans from Louisiana who have been living in Buenos Aires for the past few years. Angela’s spent most of her adult life traveling the world, from Italy to Egypt and now Argentina. They’ve settled down, and begun renting apartments for short or medium-term leases in the burgeoning neighborhood of San Telmo.

Their apartments are stylish, and completely decked out — cozy furniture, high-speed internet, everything you’d need in a kitchen, and pet friendly. For English-speakers looking to rent, the lack of a language barrier is a breath of fresh air, and the minute you speak with them or visit their excellent blog dedicated to the neighborhood, you understand that you can trust them.

If you’re planning on a long stay in Buenos Aires, and are looking for a cool apartment in an awesome area of the city, check out these pictures of one of their places, The Loft, and get in touch with Angela and John. They’re legit.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Loft Rental San Telmo
Rental Buenos Aires
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February 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm Comments (8)

Taking the Bus Home at Night

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91 Days in Savannah, USA

Bus Call

Our favorite mode of transportation in Buenos Aires is the bus. But we already mentioned that. This weekend, we took a late ride home on the #64, after an evening exploring Palermo Soho. I started taking pictures out the window, to make the time pass faster… and man, did that work! BsAs is interesting enough by day, but at night the city gets even stranger and more wonderful. The following pictures were all taken during that one bus ride home.

Buenos Aires Rough Guide

Bus Curtain
Bizarre Buenos Aire
Biking Buenos Aires
Bachelorette Party
Dude
Face of Buenos Aires
Bus
Ice Cream Buenos Aires
Kiosk
Nail Work Buenos Aires
NIght Life Buenos Aires
Taxi Buenos Aires
Pedistrians Buenos Aires
Walking Home
Waiting For The Bus
Trash Picker
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February 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm Comments (2)

Once: Shopping, Synagogues and Naked Presidents

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Fun Gift Ideas

The neighborhood of Balvanera is so large that, when talking about it, residents usually split it up into a number of unofficial sub-barrios. There’s Congreso and Abasto, but we spent a sunny Saturday exploring Once (OWN-say).

Billboard Argentina

Once takes its name from the September 11th Train Station. No not that 9/11, but that of a 1852 revolution which resulted in a short period of independence for the State of Buenos Aires. Though the train station itself is rather dull, the adjacent Plaza Miserere makes up for it. This buzzing plaza is the heart of Once, ringed by vendors selling everything from postcards to panties. We bought a Super Pancho (hot dog) for a buck and sat down in the Plaza to take in the flavor of the neighborhood. Once has a hot-doggy flavor.

At the center of the Plaza Miserere is the massive stone mausoleum of Argentina’s first President, Bernardino Rivadavia. Inaugurated in 1932, the mausoleum is flanked by two statues of Rivadavia, one of which presents him in the nude, nether regions precariously covered by a flag. I doubt George Washington was ever portrayed this way. Clinton, perhaps.

From Plaza Miserere, we walked north on Avenida Pueyrredon, where shopping is the name of the game. The sidewalks were packed, and every shop was advertising special deals. Considering that they weren’t exactly boutiques of the highest quality, such as those of Retiro and Recoleta, I was surprised to still find prices more expensive than in the States. No bother: with the stress of the crowds, we had quickly lost our shopping fever and made an escape into the side streets.

We found a bar in a quiet section of Once, and sat outside with a large bottle of Quilmes to indulge in a little people-watching. Huh, look at that, an Orthodox Jewish family. And another one. Odd. And there goes a couple young guys with payots and yarmulkes. Turns out that Once is the section of Buenos Aires where European Jews, mostly Russian, settled in the early 1900s to escape persecution. Kosher shops and synagogues abound here and, since it was a Saturday, the Jewish families were all on their way to worship. It was a unexpected vision of the city, underlining how diverse Buenos Aires truly is.

Once on our Buenos Aires Map
Bar Notable Books

Plaza Misere
Pancho Buenos Aires
Super Pancho
Hotel Buenos Aires
Ads Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Bus Stop
Bus Stop Buenos Aires
Naked President
Metal Shoes
Evil Dwarf
Statues Buenos Aires
Sexy Panties
Via Once Center
Once Buenos Aires
Jewish Neighborhood
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February 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm Comments (3)

Buenos Aires Vice

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Learn To Tango

Buenos Aires Vice

I can see why so many movies and advertisements are produced in Buenos Aires. Set up the camera in a certain angle and location and you can shoot scenes representing spots from all around the world. I would have never guessed that this ad supposedly shot during the La Tomatina in Buñol was actually filmed in San Telmo!

Another set of random Buenos Aires pictures:

Architecture Buenos Aires
Messy
Walking Tours Buenos Aires
Santiago-de-Liniers
Main Street Buenos Aires
Theater Corrientes
Buenos Aires Paintings
The Dude
Musical Bird
Music Park
One Happy Dog
Awesome House Buenos Aires
Art Photography
Thinking about Granny
Selling Friuits
Tree Hugger
Waiting Alone
Love Handle
Filete San Telmo
Green Icicle
Baby Pigeon
Dog Walker
Awesome San Telmo
Buenos Aires 1945
San Telmo
Mafalda
Mafalda Friend

Buenos Aires Hotels

Mafalda Comics
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February 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm Comments (0)

The Museum of Modern Art

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Learn about Modern Art

Occupying an old tobacco factory on Avendia San Juan, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA) is an awesome museum with a bright future ahead of it.

Modern Art Museum Buenos Aires

The museum moved to the Piccardo Cigarette Factory in 1986, but has spent the last five years closed for renovations. In late 2010, it partially re-opened to the public, with a couple rooms full of exhibitions. When fully completed, the MAMBA will have over 7000 works and be the largest modern art museum in Latin America. But if you get there early, no bother: even in its reduced state, the MAMBA is worth seeing, especially considering the entry price of $1.

We’re always skeptical of modern art, often finding it pretentious and boring. Upon seeing be-scarved dandies nodding thoughtfully in front of a red square on the wall, I’m known to fly into a violent rage. Thankfully, the works on display in the MAMBA aren’t like that. Though they had just a couple rooms to work with, the museums curators have done a great job of selecting works that are interesting and aesthetically appealing.

The building itself is definitely worth the one-peso entry fee. Inside, a lovely steel staircase dominates the foyer, and the red brick factory truly stands out in the otherwise quaint, historic streets of San Telmo. In the building’s facade, the number 43 is mysteriously repeated over and over again. A little googling revealed that “43” was the name of the cigarette brand produced in the factory.

MAMBA’s Official Website
350 San Juan Ave
Location on our BA Map

Great Hostels in Argentina

Mamba
43 Cigars
Rollercoaster Stairs
San Telmo Art
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February 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm Comment (1)

A Sixteen Course Feast at La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar

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Haute Cuisine Books

Make sure your mind is open and taste buds in fine working order before you sit down at La Vineria de Guaterio Bolivar, on Calle Bolivar in San Telmo. Dinner is a set menu, with sixteen highly creative dishes served over the course of three hours.

Restaurant San Telmo

And I do mean creative. How else to describe lamb tongue pate wrapped in pumpkin slices? Or frozen salmon balls? Or olive oil emulsions and meat topped with foam? We were continuously amazed; each of the sixteen courses set in front of us was a tiny marvel, some tastier than others, some more clever, but all unique. Every time our waiter (who resembled a handsome version of Borat) would approach our table with a new tray, I’d get a little fidgety. Nervously excited about what I was about to consume.

After setting down each carefully arranged plate, the waiter explained the ingredients, a bit about the preparation and concept, and how to go about eating the dish, which was not always as straightforward as put-fork-in-mouth. He also served wines; the menu allows you to sample Argentine wines appropriate to the food you’re eating. We had delicious whites with the appetizers, dry reds with the meatier dishes and sweet wines with dessert.

This wasn’t so much “dinner” as a cultural experience. Jürgen and I are in no way gourmets, closer to McDonald’s than Michelin, but we really loved our meal at La Vineria de Gualterio Bolívar. Though each of the plates was tiny, we left full and satisfied. The set menu is pricey, but definitely fair given the extraordinary amount of creativity in the food and the attention of the staff.

The restaurant is small and well-known, so make reservations if you want to go, and show up promptly at 9pm. All the guests are served at the same, so that the cooks can fully concentrate on one dish at a time.

La Vineria de Gulaterio Bolívar
Bolívar 865
Location on our BA Map
Tel: 11 4361 4709

Spoon Buenos Aires
vineria-de-gualterio-boliva
Waiter Buenos Aires
San Telmo Salad
Little Food Treasure
Delicatessen
Pulpo Buenos Aires
Pate
Haute Cuisine
Beef San Telmo
Haute Cuisine Dessert
High End Dessert

Restaurant Recommendations in Oviedo, Spain

Hotels Buenos Aires
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February 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm Comments (5)

Riding the Bus

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The Rough Guide to Argentina

After watching a few barrel at breakneck speed down San Telmo’s tiny cobblestone streets, more inclined to use their horns than breaks when approaching an intersection, we concluded that buses must be the fastest way to get around Buenos Aires. And funnest.

Argentina Bus

The BA bus system is incredible, intimidating and comprehensive. Regardless of where you are or where you’re going, there’s usually a bus that will deliver you directly at your destination. Over 300 lines weave through the city, all operated by private companies (Bus #29 is run by Pedro de Mendoza C.I.S.A, for example). You’d think a citywide bus system would require central planning, but the privatization works here. The colectivos, as buses are known here, run frequently and even if you’ve just missed the #152, chances are another is right behind it.

Before hopping on your first colectivo, it’s worth your time to get a crash course from a local: the drivers are not patient, and would rather kick you off than answer questions. The Guia “T” is indispensable. A guide that details every bus in the city, it provides charts and maps to help you figure out which number you should take. The Guia T is the Bible of Buenos Aires. Study it. Worship it.

Basically, it goes like this: you’ve done your research in the Guia T, and know that #93 will you take you to the Recoleta Cemetery. Find the bus stop, and keep an eagle eye out for a #93 racing recklessly down the street. Wave it down as early as possible. The bus should stop, but I’ve seen them simply slow down and open the doors. Either way, as soon as those doors open, jump inside. Hesitate for just a second, and the bus will be on its way without you.

Once you’re on the bus, you tell the driver exactly where you’re going (an intersection is best), then pay the indicated fare. Right now, a full fare is about $1.25 and you pay the machine with coins, which can be difficult to find in the capital. In fact, the most troublesome part of taking the bus is scrounging up enough change; vendors are reluctant to give their monedas away. I’ve had people give me a $2 bill rather than a $1 coin, more willing to lose profit than relinquish their precious metal.

Once you’re on the bus, hurtling down BA’s busy streets and watching the buildings pass by, the stress was worth it. In the short time we’ve been here, it’s been a lot of fun — getting familiar with “our” lines, learning to jealously horde our change, and consulting the Guia “T” as we stare wide-eyed and happily out the window, on our way to whatever adventure the day holds in store. I bet by the end of our three months here, we’ll have joined the ranks of weary and wise passengers, silently heaping scorn upon happy foreigners like our current selves, so ridiculously proud of themselves for a thing like riding the bus.

Well screw you, Future Us! Stop trying to ruin our fun.

Great Hotels in Buenos Aires

Sexy Bus
Night Bus Buenos Aires
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February 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm Comments (4)

Buenos Aires’ Notable Bars – El Federal

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Coffee Culture

One of the best parts of moving to a new city is deciding upon your favorite new bar, the place you plan on haunting with a disturbingly constant presence. Buenos Aires has assisted newcomers on this all-important quest by honoring 60 bars and cafés with the distinction of Bar Notable.

Bar Federal

These places have been chosen for their long years of service, architectural flair, or famous patrons, and can officially advertise themselves as “Notable”. Most of them are found near the center of the sprawling city, and we’ve yet to visit one we haven’t been impressed by. That goes particularly for El Federal, on the corner of Peru and Carlos Calvo in San Telmo, which immediately established itself as a front-runner for the glorious title of my favorite bar.

Stepping inside El Federal is like stepping into back into the early 20th century, when Buenos Aires was in its golden age. The decoration is ornate, and well-stocked shelves hold antique soda bottles. The gorgeous wooden bar is over a hundred years old, and supports a large, fluidly carved arch, in which a defunct clock and stained glass are encased.

For being such a famous establishment in prime touristic real estate like San Telmo, the prices are amazingly reasonable. El Federal has a full menu, and we enjoyed everything we’ve tried; the plate of picadas (slices of meats and cheese) is an especially good choice. There’s both a smoking room and outdoor seating, but I always choose a table close to the bar, so that I can spend my time thirstily admiring the bottles of whiskey.

El Federal is the kind of place in which you’ll want to spend hours, and they don’t mind if you do. In fact, a small shelf of reading material is available in the corner. Digging into a well-worn copy of Borges’ Ficciones, with a strong cup of coffee on the wooden table in front of you, while the bustle of city life passes by in the window… that’s about as “bonarense” as you can get.

Location on our BA Map
List of Hostels in San Telmo

Entrada Bar Notable
Bar Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Cafe
Bar Notable San Telmo
Jugendstil Bar Notable
Alcohol
Soda Buenos Aires
Soda Bar
Peanut Basket
Medialunas
Breakfast Buenos Aires
Bar Notable Mirror
Bar Notable Lamp
Bares Notables
Bar Notable
San Telmo Bar Notable
Bar Notable Moderno
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February 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm Comments (7)

The Metropolitan Cathedral

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A visit to the Cathedral in Oviedo, Spain

On one of our first days in Buenos Aires, we approached the dour neo-classical building on the northwest corner of the Plaza de Mayo without having any idea what it could be. My best guess was a courthouse, with those massive stone columns that evoke the Parthenon, and I was surprised to discover a cathedral behind the facade.

Metropolitan Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral has a history nearly as old as the city itself. The original wooden church was constructed in 1580, at the same time Juan de Garay founded Buenos Aires. Since then, it’s collapsed or been torn down seven times. The version recognizable today wasn’t finished until the late 19th century.

The artwork throughout the cathedral is beautiful, particularly the ceiling frescoes and the tiled mosaics on the floor. There are some pieces which date from colonial times, such as a 1670s wooden sculpture of the crucifixion. But most impressive is General José de San Martín’s mausoleum. Two guards stand vigilant, protecting the great general’s coffin which sits atop a large column in the center of the room. Martín is credited with the liberation of Argentina, Chile and Peru from Spain, and statues representing those three nations surround his memorial.

Signs at the cathedral’s entrance prohibit photography, but that rule is neither regarded nor enforced. Everyone and their mother was taking pictures; flashes going off all over the place. Although Argentinians identify almost exclusively as Catholic, the society is basically secular. Perhaps that’s why the Metropolitan Cathedral, where tourists greatly outnumber the faithful, feels more like an amusement park than the country’s most important place of worship.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Buenos Aires Egypt
Praying Buenos Aires
Holy Buenos Aires
Iglesia Buenos Aires
Dome Buenos Aires
Mausoleum Buenos Aires
Church Guard
Jose De San Martin
Cathedral Playa Mayo
Peru Urne
Godes
Cathedral Buenos Aires
Maria Jesus Buenos Aires
Maria Heart
Buenos Aires Tiles

Learn about Evita

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February 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm Comments (3)

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Recoleta Cemetery
For 91 Days