STEPHEN CHRISANTHUS DISCOVERS THE MAGIC THAT MAKES THIS CITY VIBRATE
Those that love travel often fall in love with every city they visit for a short spell. We travelers get drawn into certain aspects of a city and fall under its intoxicating characteristics or energy, whether it be the exhilaration of some crisp, snow covered peaks, the cultural electricity of a bustling metropolis or the breeze of a remote beachside town that stirs up its history and aromas. Seldom does one find themselves in a magical place that incites all of the senses at such a primal level that it changes your perspective on things, and awakens you to such a degree you want to chuck it all and move there. I didn’t relocate, but Buenos Aires, Argentina moved me. The daily flights on Latam Airlines, Argentina’s most reliable transport from Buenos Aires to the United States, seem to always fill up so grab your business class seat early. The 9-hour direct flight from Miami seems to be comprised mostly of Latin Americans and Europeans, leaving me to believe this Shangri-La, south of Uruguay, is relatively unknown to most in the North.
Upon arriving, the invigorating, herb scented air is the first thing to draw you in.
Just on the 30-minute ride into the city from the airport you sense you are somewhere special. The city itself reminds me of a Latin New York City built like Rome, Italy smothered in European influence. The history, architecture and energy create a never-ending landscape of excitement and activity. With a population of over 3 million people and a greater metropolitan area of around 14 million you get a bustling urban area with a mix of cultures.
But even with such a large population, the geography is laid out in a way in which you never feel overrun with people. The only obvious congestion, which transcends the entire area, is that of the roadways. Patience is a must, but every car seems to be an Uber so you’ll have no problem getting a ride. One you are in the borough you seek I insist you walk, as it is the best way to let the charm of the city engulf and embrace you.
With a sprawling metropolis of this magnitude you have no lack of options for
accommodations. If you can manage to secure a room at the 5 star Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt you’ll be in for a treat. The hotel and art gallery are gorgeous, and all the Palace rooms are suites with chandeliers and working fireplaces. The hotel has a delicious glamour to it that resonates through its assortment of dining options. The Duhua Restaurante & Vinoteca offers sophisticated Argentinian Cuisine and the most delectable cuts of beef. Dine in the elegant Garden Terrace, and stop in The Oak Bar for a cocktail. After dinner or lunch satisfy your sweet tooth with a famous signature macaroon from the Duhau Patisserie which locals regularly frequent.
For a more modern feel with unique accents, the Emperador Hotel is another one of Buenos Aires best hotels. Steps away from art galleries and museum district of the distinguished Recoleta neighborhood, you can take in the fresh ocean air coming in off the Puerto Madero Harbor. With every amenity one could desire, in the tranquility of an urban oasis, you will enjoy the vibe and location of this contemporary gem.
Food, ah yes food. Buenos Aires will over satisfy your palette and lust for tantalizing treats for the mouth. Just walking the streets you could bop into enough markets brimming with local meats and cheeses to transform the day into one long feeding, but there are a number of eateries you should just not miss. The historic Café Biela is a must for lunch and people watching. It’s a happening café with a rich list of famous guests and a variety of tasty selections.
Kick back and let the afternoon pass in the aromatic afternoon air, sipping on a regional wine and chatting with the locals. Owner Carlos Gutierrez will most likely be on site, snag him for a lesson on the history of the
café and the area. When you are finished walk across the street to one of the city’s most famous attractions, the beautiful La Recoleta Cemetery, and pay a visit to the resting place of Eva Peron, set to the soundtrack of live music resonating from the street.
Lunch just isn’t enough? I always thought there should be another meal before dinner. Head to Tea Time in the Alvear Palace
Hotel. Enjoy an amazing array of assorted snacks while sipping tea in an atmosphere that will surely make you feel like royalty. When the tea runs dry, I recommend a short exploration of the hotel and a stroll through the streets that surround it. If after getting ready for dinner you realize you’re early, and in Buenos Aires dinnertime is late for most of us, take the opportunity to go to
The Library in the Faena Hotel. It’s one of coolest most fun places to get your night started in the city. The hotel itself is makes you feel like your somewhere exclusive. Lit in red light and abound with stylish locals and guests, you’ll feel like the in-crowd.
The Library has an amazing drink and wine selection and the appetizers could spoil your appetite, in that there are so many you’ll want to sample. If that wasn’t enough they have great live music and an outdoor area that you could chill at all night. Definitely go, but try not to miss your dinner plans because it’s addictive!
The incredible options for dinner are countless, and can be experienced a number of ways. One of my all-time favorite dining experiences was dinner at Casa Coupage with owner Santiago Mymicopulo. Once in the coveted 4-table backroom you will be at the whim of this master chef and sommelier. Don’t interfere; he will unleash a barrage of creations and pairings that will leave you in disbelief. It is a one of a kind experience you will not soon forget. Looking for chic, upscale dining in a hip part of town, try dinner at Casa Cruz. Dark wood and elegant lighting set the mood for a special occasion or a night to feel fancy. Share a diversely decadent selection of appetizers, or split entrees, either way you are in for a dinner worth dressing up for. If you have a little pep in your step and want to try something original to Argentina there is another option. Being in the birthplace of the tango obligates you for a tango dinner show at some point. There are plenty to choose from but you can’t go wrong with the Esquina Carlos Gardel. The dancers are amazing, the wine doesn’t stop flowing and you are guaranteed a fun time.
Just running around this great city you will come across enough attractions, events and activities to keep you occupied and entertained for a lifetime. With beautiful parks, historic monuments and happening thoroughfares everywhere, you get pulled around as if led by an invisible leash held by an aimless wandering, excitement filled master, which is Buenos Aires. One place you are sure to be led is the Teatro Colon, one of the most important opera houses in the world, said by Luciano Pavarotti to be the only one to have perfect sound. Opened in 1908, it is a pride of Argentina culture and one of its most iconic structures. Go for a ballet, opera, classical music concert, or just take a tour.
And speaking of tours, the Palacio Barolo Tour is divine for anyone interested in
Italian history and Dante Alighieri. The Palacio Barolo was designed in accordance with the cosmology of Dante’s Divine Comedy. There are 22 floors, divided into three sections. The basement and ground floor represent hell, floors 1-14 are the purgatory, and 15-22 represent heaven.
The skyscraper was constructed to house Dante’s ashes by Luis Barolo who believed “that Europe had begun drifting toward collapse” and wanted to house them as far away as possible from the Continent. The tour is incredibly interesting; culminating in the roof top dome where you are welcomed by miraculous 360-degree views of the city (as it was once the tallest building in whole of South America) accompanied by a live cellist. You will truly feel as though you are looking down through heaven.
There really is just so much to do and see. Catch a legendary football match or visit their world-class planetarium, the spectrum and variety of entertainment is vast. The city lends itself to those who want to really live an exciting and fulfilling life and it opens its arms to those enlightened enough to visit. The people are amazing, the food exquisite, the landscape breathtaking and the energy in the air consuming.
Buenos Aires really is a magical place.
The Obelisco de Buenos Aires is a national historic monument and icon of Buenos Aires. Located in the Plaza de la República in the intersection of avenues Corrientes and 9 de Julio, it was erected in 1936 to commemorate the quadricentennial of the...
Congress plaza and park