Monday, 19 November 2012

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Last weekend Greg was in Buenos Aires for a conference at the university there, and given that it's only a 2 hour flight away from Santiago, I decided to hop on a plane and go and see him. It was a great opportunity to see the Argentine capital, optimistically dubbed "the Paris of South America", and also to see Greg! I stayed with him for three days in a flat in Palermo, and over the course of my stay we did some serious mileage walking around BA, visiting a lot of the major sights and neighbourhoods.

Los Andes
Buenos Aires is a very different city to Santiago, and is a lot dirtier and noisier compared to the almost European feel of over here. BA also has a lot more museums and culture associated with it, as well as being generally older and more run down; the streets were regularly filled with rubbish, the pavement almost constantly in disrepair, and dog poo is a constant hazard.

Getting to BA is very easy from Santiago, and it's possible to go by bus (24 hours) or fly (2 hours). Given that I was taking time off work, I decided to fly, and LAN (the Chilean national airline) broke all stereotypes with an amazing flight that was cheaper and better than any European flag carrier. Also, the views as we flew over the Andes were pretty stunning.

El Ateneo
I arrived Sunday morning, and Greg joined me the next morning, bright and fresh from a terrible 13 hour flight with Iberia, and the bizarre Argentinian customs/immigration procedure. That day we made our first inroads into looking around the Federal Capital. We spend the morning in Recoleta, looking around the large and famous cemetery there (resting place of the likes of Eva Peron) and then headed to the Museum of Latin American Art, where I was lucky enough to find some works by Frida Kahlo, potentially my least favourite artist ever.

The next day we met with Lucas, Greg's contact at the University, who took us out for lunch at a very edgy vegetarian restaurant in Palermo SoHo, after which we headed into town again. We went to el Ateneo, one of the best bookshops in the world, and housed in an old theatre, then got the metro into the Microcentro. We saw Casa Rosada, the seat of the Argentine executive branch, several churches, Puerto Madero, the "hip" docklands area, and then headed down into San Telmo, a very bohemian barrio of Buenos Aires.

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