Before we began our exploration of Once, we spent some time walking around the southern end of Balvanera, and happened upon the Basilica Santa Rosa de Lima, on Avenido Belgrano. Built in the Roman-Byzantine style in 1926, this church is most impressive for its mammoth cupola. Santa Rosa was a Peruvian catholic from the 16th century, who would become South America's first saint. She died a virgin at the age of 31, after having predicted the exact date of her death.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
We've been eating out a lot since we arrived, mainly at places which have come highly recommended by guidebooks or locals. Great parrillas, Peruvian cuisine, famous pizzerias. But that doesn't mean we're skipping the less well-known places entirely! This past week, after a long day of exploring the city, we sat down inside Pedro Telmo, on the western side of the San Telmo Market.
The US might have the White House, but Argentina has the Pink House. The Casa Rosada at the eastern extreme of the Plaza de Mayo is the seat of the country's government, where the President and her staff work. On weekends, you can tour the building for free.