Monday, May 20, 2013

Take Me Back To: Buenos Aires


This past October when I traveled through South America, I fell madly in love with Buenos Aires. They say that Buenos Aires is the "Paris of South America", so you can just imagine how head over heels I am for the Latin version of my favorite city in the world. The people are beautiful and the city is just as stunning. The architecture is a unique mix of Parisian, eclectic, classic and colonial. It's half Paris, half Barcelona, and all in all purely awe-inspiring. The city is filled with many different neighborhoods with their own remarkable flavor, each contributing to the city's eccentric charm. There's the vibrant La Boca neighborhood with brightly colored buildings, mesmerizing art walks and tango dancing in the streets, along with the quaint, vintage-inspired barrio of San Telmo. On the opposite side of town lies the gorgeous and upscale neighborhoods of Recoleta and Palermo, filled with sophisticated museums and trendy shopping areas. The city is so vast and intriguing, at times it's hard not to experience sensory overload.
We spent our first day in Buenos Aires driving around the city and venturing through all of the diverse neighborhoods. We stopped at the Recoleta cemetery, where we admired all of the breathtaking mausoleums and visited Eva Perón's grave. After an extensive day of exploring, we indulged on a grand feast at Estilo Campo in Puerto Madero - where I had my first ever Argentinian steak. I have no words. Perhaps it was how perfectly our bife de chorizo was paired with our savory Malbec or the delicious, complimentary champagne at the end of our meal - but I was in culinary heaven the entire night.


We spent our next afternoon in Buenos Aires exploring the chic Palermo SOHO neighborhood, where we stopped for a decadent tortilla española at La Cabrera and shopped at the many trendy boutiques. Between the adorable shops, the too-handsome-for-words Argentine men and the elaborately designed buildings, my eyes struggled to take it all in.

 

The next morning was spent wandering around Palermo Chico, Buenos Aires' most exclusive and glamorous neighborhood. Large, ivy covered houses comprised of stunning French-inspired architecture line the streets, and the sweet aroma of jasmine and fresh flowers drifts through the breeze. Many of these upscale homes were converted into embassy houses when the economy crashed in the 1930s, but the neighborhood still exudes its chic and elite charm.

After getting a taste of Palermo Chico, we ventured to the MALBA, which was filled with a wonderful collection of modern art. Sometimes I forget how much I adore discovering new art until I go to a museum and am reminded of how much I truly thrive off it. I always leave museums refreshed and inspired, and our trip to the MALBA was no exception. Unfortunately, my "art high" didn't last long since we were soon ripped off by a cab driver and subsequently got lost in a rather sketchy part of town. After diverting a what-could-be-crisis and getting over the fact that we were given fake money by our taxi driver, we went back to the safe and elegant Palermo SOHO where we comforted ourselves with a savory lunch at Cluny and generous portions of wine.



Refueled and recharged, we explored bits of the Recoleta area - including the botanical gardens (which really just consisted of a deserted park with a plethora of cats) and a delicious ice cream shop that is known for its artisan Patagonian flavors. One of the many profound, self-actualizing moments I experienced in Argentina is that I love anything dulce de leche flavored. I mean, way more than chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or even mint chocolate chip. If I were an ice cream, I would undoubtedly be a scoop of dulce de leche. It's a good thing that dulce de leche is one of Buenos Aires' most famed flavors in a city that is well known for incredible helado, because I fit right in.


Although I could never envision myself living in Buenos Aires, I adored the city immensely. Many familiar aspects were reminiscent of Spain and Paris, yet the unique flavor and culture made the city unlike anything I've ever experienced.

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