Ah, the delightful, not-at-all-nauseating sounds of young couples in love! Along with honking horns and buses rumbling down cobblestone streets, the wet, sploshy sound of tongues exploring throats adds another note to the grand Buenos Aires symphony. Public make-out sessions are as much an Argentine pastime as drinking mate (and there's an eerie acoustical resemblance between the last sip of mate and the slurping of kissing kids).
The biggest park in San Telmo is Lezama, a giant green hill which fills up on weekends with sun-bathers, mate drinkers and chess players, along with some market stands. The park also is home to the Museo Histórico Nacional.
Occupying a good chunk of the block sketched out by Estados Unidos, Defensa, Carlos Calvo and Bolivar, the Mercado de San Telmo is a place which locals and tourists visit in almost equal numbers. The latter to buy antiques and souvenirs, the former for their day-to-day groceries.
There's no reason to leave Buenos Aires to experience the different cultures of the world. So many people and cultures from all around the globe have established a strong presence here... the Bolivian neighborhoods of Liniers, Chinatown in Belgrano, the Italian heritage in La Boca, and Once with its Jewish population are just some of them. There's even a Valencian community which celebrates Fallas in Buenos Aires!
We've already written about El Cuartito, one of the very first pizza joints we discovered in Buenos Aires. Las Cuartetas is similar in food, name and decor. But it's larger and, especially on a weekend night as the theaters of Calle Corrientes are emptying, much more boisterous.
Around the corner from the ostentatious Palacio Paz is the much more refined Palacio Noël, home to the Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco. The palace would be worth seeing in its own right, but together with the museum, it's one of Buenos Aires' cultural highlights.
Take a jar of sweetened milk and add sugar. Then slowly heat it over the course of a couple hours, stirring almost constantly. Your hard work will be rewarded with a portion of dulce de leche, a thick caramel-colored substance wildly popular in Argentina.
When I discovered that The National, one of my favorite bands, was playing in Buenos Aires, I immediately went to their website and bought tickets. Only after the transaction was complete, did I look up the club, and my already dangerously-high levels of giddiness went off the charts. Not only was the Trastienda Club a small venue that guaranteed a great view, it was also just around the block from our San Telmo apartment.
Unless Rolex or Aston Martin commission us to launch a high roller travel blog, we'll be staying away places like the Four Seasons in Buenos Aires, apparently the most expensive hotel in the city. Is it worth $850 a night to feel like royalty? It must be for some people!
A green oasis on the eastern end of the big city, the ecological reserve of the Costanera Sur offers an escape from the humdrum of daily life. Walking along of the reserve's paths, through wild growing pampas grass, it's difficult to believe that this is still Buenos Aires.