Why I Love Buenos Aires, By Isabel Albiston, Writer
When I first arrived in Buenos Aires in 2010, Argentina was celebrating 200 years of independence and the city was a carnival. I fell hard and fast for this crazy place with its dogs in soccer shirts and passionately held opinions on everything from politics to how to prepare mate (the yerba tea infusion). For the next four years, my days were spent cycling between parks and timeless neighborhood cafes; nights began with asados (barbecues) and ended at sunrise. In spring, when the blossom of the jacaranda trees turns the city purple, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
BA’s famous dance is possibly the city’s greatest contribution to the outside world, a steamy strut that’s been described as ‘making love in the vertical position’. Folklore says it began in the bordellos of long-ago Buenos Aires, when men waiting for their ‘ladies’ passed time by dancing among themselves. Today, glamorized tango shows are supremely entertaining with their grand feats of athleticism. You’ll also find endless venues for perfecting your moves, from milongas (dance salons) to dance schools. Be aware that some people become addicted – and can spend a lifetime perfecting this sensual dance.
Art & Architecture
Look closely: this city is beautiful. Sure, it might look like a concrete jungle from certain angles, but stroll through the streets, paying attention to the magnificent architecture around you, and you’ll soon be won over. Grand French- and Italian-style palaces grab the limelight, but you’ll see interesting architectural details in the buildings of even low-key, local barrios. These days the beauty of these traditional neighborhoods is further enhanced by colorful murals painted by artists involved in the city’s vibrant street-art scene. For these talented individuals, the city is their canvas. Discover more during Grand Biken’ Wander
Steak, Wine & Ice Cream
BA’s food scene is increasingly dynamic, but for many travelers, it’s the city’s carnivorous pleasures that shine. Satisfying a craving for juicy steaks isn’t hard to do in the land that has perfected grilling wonderfully flavorful sides of beef, washed down with a generous glass of malbec or bonarda. Parrillas (steakhouses) sit on practically every corner and will offer up myriad cuts, from bife de chorizo (sirloin) to vacio (flank steak) to ojo de bife (rib eye). But leave room for ice cream, if you can – a late-night cone of dulce de leche (caramel) helado (ice cream) can’t be topped.
Take a disco nap, down some coffee and be prepared to stay up all night – this city doesn’t sleep. Restaurants get going at 9 pm, bars at midnight and clubs at 2 am at the earliest; serious clubbers don’t show up until 4 am. And it’s not just the young folk who head out on the town in this city; BA’s diverse range of bars, clubs and live-music venues offers something for everyone, from DJs spinning electronica to live jazz sets. Just remember you’ll be doing it all very late.