I was supposed to only spend one day in Buenos Aires, but I had to sort out my visa for Brazil, so while the rest of my group left to go to Colonia, I stayed behind in Buenos Aires for a few extra days. And I was thankful for it too, because one day in Buenos Aires is definitely not enough.
La Boca was great! I knew about the neighbourhood before I got to Argentina, and I thought it was pretty, but that was about it. Actually being there was a totally different story. It was actually quite inspiring, especially after I learned of the history of the place. The La Boca neighbourhood was the historic home for immigrants from Italy, Spain, and other European countries. They were poor, and their houses were ugly, made only from tin. So they got whatever paint they could, and painted the houses in bright colours. Normally, the colour clashes would give me headaches, but surprisingly, it worked well here. La Boca is full of European flavour, particularly at Caminito, the main pedestrian road, where tango artists performed for you.
My absolute favourite spot in Buenos Aires was Recoleta Cemetery. It contains the graves of notable people, but unfortunately, no one I know. It didn’t really matter to me though, because unlike cemeteries in general, which I find quite creepy, but like Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, Recoleta, Recoleta Cemetery was truly beautiful. The site contains over 4600 vaults, and almost 100 of those are apparently declared by the Argentine government as National Historical Monuments, and are in fact protected by the state. There are many marble mausoleums, decorated with stunning statues in a variety of architectural styles. The cemetery was like a small city, divided up into blocks, with wide tree-lined walkways branching into sidewalks. Recoleta Cemetery was visibly rich in history, and I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the entire site, gazing at each tomb, each statue, each mausoleum, and imagining the lives of the people who rested there.
And I couldn’t leave Buenos Aires without going to a dinner and tango show, in El Querandi, a historic tango venue located in the San Telmo district. I just had to take part in a Buenos Aires tradition, and the experience combined a three course dinner, with exciting performances, showcasing the evolution of the tango. I certainly got lost in the passion of the tango, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, everyone was treated to a tango lesson (as it was actually included in the ticket)! The teachers were patient, going nice and easy and slow in the beginning. But then the pace quickened and the music was turned up, and the next thing I knew, we all became tango experts! …Not quite, but we did get certificates stating that we graduated from the beginner’s tango class.