Here we are at last, with a 13-hour flight behind us. We were very pleased to find that our hotel, The Intercontinental, was an excellent choice; spacious and very comfortable. Could not speak highly enough of the staff and we would stay here again.
Buenos Aires cast its’ spell on us straight away. No time for jet lag, we were keen to explore and when I mentioned that I was keen to try “real” tapas, the hotel provided a minivan to take us to a nearby restaurant. We had no Spanish, the waiter had no English, but in no time, he was cooking various delicious dishes with very fresh ingredients and bringing them over for us to try.
Buenos Aires is such a city of contrasts. Wide boulevards, old world architecture, luxury apartments and dog walkers, walking up to a dozen dogs at a time. Tango cafes, cobblestone lanes and the widest street in the world, the Ave. 9 De Julio. I counted 10 lanes which we walked across, but I was later told that there are 18-22 lanes! Impossible to take a photo; groups of lanes are separated by grass strips and places for motorcycles to park.
So pleased we gave ourselves two days before boarding our cruise ship, we had time to explore a few areas if the city, including coffees at Café Tortoni. This café is so well known and popular, they have a doorman there all the time and there is a tango show each night.
It might sound a bit weird to be sightseeing in a cemetery, but the Recoleta cemetery, located in an exclusive neighbourhood is a virtual city containing 6,400 architecturally diverse mausoleums including the black marble crypt of legendary Eva Peron.
Another interesting place to visit was La Boca. This historic district has a strong European flavor, multi-coloured houses, a vibrant street art scene and several tango cafes.
We loved our introduction to South America and found the people welcoming and friendly despite the language differences. We tried the local beef and found it tender and delicious. Interestingly, after reading online about large portions of meat being served and not given the option of how we would like the meat cooked, we found the opposite to be the case. We also enjoyed dulce de leche, a caramel spread that is used inside sweet pastries, frosted onto cakes and was even tucked inside my churros – delicious!