This is part three of my series on Buenos Aires. I’ve chosen to publish my photos here in black and white to reflect the charm of the city. Each thumbnail has been cropped, but will expand to full size with a click.
The next morning I enjoy a bit of a sleep-in. I’ve chosen to stay at the OWN Hotel Palermo location this time, where I have a large studio on the top floor of the hotel, with an ample wrap-around private balcony with commanding views of the parks and apartment buildings nearby (no views of the beautiful, historic downtown core from here). When I last stayed there in 2010, my room rate was around $160 a night. My latest check shows that this room is now $230 a night, with junior suites with no balcony running around $160. Not as cheap as it once was, but still more affordable than many big cities, and there are more than a few options from which to choose.
Upon wrapping up a quiet hour at the Recoleta, I head for the Centro District for a late lunch. Here, I might opt for a visit to Cafe Tortoni, a bit of a cliche perhaps, but it ticks a tourism box if you have never been. It’s the most famous old cafe in Buenos Aires, and it has a nice classic feel to it with high ceilings and old posters and photographs. The food is okay, but you aren’t really visiting here for a gourmet experience anyway.
After lunch, I stroll along the grand, Parisian-style avenues of Centro, including Buenos Aires’ own obelisk on Av. 9 de Julio (one of the world’s broadest avenues, incidentally), and looping in the Evita theme, I pause to snap a few pics of the Casa Rosada (Pink House), and the balcony where Perron once stood to speak to her people. The streets nearby are covered with the sky-blue-and-white flags of Argentina while many signs of protest are posted next to them. Political and economic protest is very common here. I spend a couple of hours walking around and admiring the architecture I head back to my hotel in Palermo Hollywood in the late afternoon to shower again, change, and prepare for the evening.
I have admired the melancholic charm of Buenos Aires from the first time I set foot in the magnificent cemetery at Recoleta. In stark contrast to the vibrance of its neighbor Brazil, modern day Argentina seems to yearn for days gone by—days before the collapse of the peso and before striking graffiti and broken glass marred the pot-holed streets of the grand capital they once referred to as the Paris of the Americas. The recent run to the World Cup final by the famed Albiceleste shifted a positive limelight back on to Argentina for the first time in a while on the global stage. The capital city also makes for a compelling setting for photography in the black-and-white mode.
It was the first new country that I visited on my round-the-world journey six years ago. Because it is in a similar time zone to the US and Canada and leaves the traveler from these areas less susceptible to jet lag, it is a viable location to visit on a long weekend, especially if you are able to sleep on flights and take advantage of the red-eye offerings in both directions.