When I first planned my sojourn around the world, I wanted a stop in South America. Had to fight tooth and nail to put one of its cities on the map due to friends' opposition and concerns of our inability to speak Spanish. But I so glad I managed to pay Buenos Aires a visit. It is a charming and colourful city. I remember leaving Sydney at 11am on a Sunday and arriving at Buenos Aires at 10am on the same day. We were jet-lagged and tired having unable to sleep on the plane and once we got out of customs, we found ourselves in the midst of the crowds. Before we could get our bearings straight, people were yelling Spanish at us and trying to get us to take one of their cars into town. We turned to look at each another and smiled. We were hyped for an adventure and boy did we get one.
Here are my top 5 things to do in Buenos Aires:
1. Visit Plaza de Mayo. Casa Rosa (red building on the pic), Metropolitan Cathedral and other historical buildings are all situated around the plaza and nearby. Also pay a visit to Avenida 9 de Julio, which is the widest street in Americas with its 22 lanes.
2. La Relecota Cemetery. Please put this on the top of your list. Magnificent, gorgeous cemetery. I bet you are thinking why would I visit a cemetery? You have to visit it to believe it (refer to the pics at the bottom). This large cemetery has around 4690 vaults which sit above the ground, containing past Argentinean presidents, prominent families, Eva Peron and others. The cemetery is laid out in blocks like a mini town with trees lining side by side the walkways. Eerily beautiful.
3. San Telmo. The oldest neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Beautiful old colonial buildings lined its streets. Cafes, small shops and grocers populate this cobble stoned area. The main attraction is its Sunday Market where locals and tourists come to visit stalls selling crafts, antiques, paintings etc. I bought most of my souvenirs here. If you are lucky, tango performances are also on show.
4. Eat meat. Yes. Eat lots of it. Argentina prides itself on its meat, specifically beef. Til this day, I still reminisce about the most delicious steak I have ever eaten in my life... so far. It is said that because their cows are raised on vast grasslands and hence grassfed - apparently uncommon elsewhere in the world, which makes their meat oh-so-good. Thinking about my meals in Buenos Aires is making me hungry.
5. Palermo. A trendy, quiet district. So if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is where I would recommend. Here you will find designer boutiques and trendy cafes/restaurants. It's also famous for its pretty parks.