Buenos Aires, Last Chapter: La Recoleta

I left the last, my favorite, piece of Buenos Aires for last. The most attentive of you have noticed that missing from my sight’s list from the last post is La Recoleta, the famous cemetery of the Argentinian capital. I am not a big fan of cemeteries, to put it mildly. I was always accelerating to pass the one close to my house in St Petersburg, changed route to avoid the green spaces of Munich cemeteries and even in Paris, made it to the famous Père Lachaise only when my history-obsessed friend Ele came to visit (which was a great experience: our quest for the tomb is Sextoy was epic). I could never get how people find peace walking in the cemeteries, or jogging there, or doing yoga (seen in Munich), or walking their dogs. For me, so many things are wrong about it.

Yet there is something about La Recoleta that makes you feel very fine with the concept. It does not feel like a cemetery, in fact. Located in a middle of a well off Recoleta neighborhood, it looks more like an endless gallery of the most fine European art, exposed along symmetrically perfect alleys under the gorgeous blue summer sky. And given that most of the monuments and tomb construction materials were brought here from Paris and Milan in the 1880 -1930s, it is no wonder that the place is comforting: everything familiar is. But most of all, it really does not look like a cemetery. Well, not exactly, not how you would picture one.

See it for yourself.

 

So what’s the story of this place?

Continue reading

Buenos Aires: The Real Deal

As I was saying in my post on Caminito, Buenos Aires is not the most beautiful city on Earth. In fact, when, inspired by the stunning views of Rio, we asked the hotel concierge what the best place to get a panoramic view of the city would be, he was truly puzzled. Unable to get a meaningful answer, we have soon discovered that the best place to see the city is, in fact, our hotel room at the Park Tower Hotel. That’s why I am sort of overusing different versions of this picture in my posts on the Argentinian capital.

For instance, that’s what you get during the day time.

IMG_4467.jpg

View on Torre Monumental from the Park Power Hotel, Buenos Aires

So Buenos Aires is almost the opposite of Rio. The comparison, however, runs in the opposite sense as well: the Argentinian capital is everything Rio is not, too. For starters, it is not dangerous: an 8 year-old with a gun asking you to hand him over your money and your passport (true story) stays in Brazil. You see people wearing jewellery, expensive watches, branded sunglasses and they are fine. That’s refreshing after Rio. What you also feel right away is a different level of life sophistication. Buenos Aires has it all for a good life: truly great restaurants, art markets, Miami-like neighbourhoods with hipster cafes, endless parks and classic and contemporary museums with the world’s finest collections. It opens up a totally new perspective on a daily life in Latin America, making you feel at home, but with a twist of tropical set up.

Nothing illustrates Buenos Aires better than this modern-slash-art-deco building, tucked between the classic European style baroque houses and a splurge of posh green.

img_4475

A twist of arc deco and modern in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Unlike Rio, with key monuments far from each other and unreachable by foot (well, unless you have a lot of time and have been practising for this trip), the best way to discover Buenos Aires is by foot. Like a European city. You take a map and wander through the neighbourhoods of Palermo (for trendy places and posh meals),  Puerto Madero (for modern skyscrapers), San Telmo (for a whisper of history and an artisan market), Microcentro (for the business vibe) and Belgrano (for a taste of upper-middle class Argentinian life). The only place that might require a taxi ride is La Boca, where the Caminito is: theoretically, you can get there by foot but the way is not that spectacular and you would be better off spending this time over some delicious lunch at Palermo or an art hunt at San Telmo.

Here is a hand pick of famous spots of the Argentinian capital. Make sure you stop by Floralis Genérica, The Steel Flower of Buenos Aires, which is designed to open and close its petals in rhythm with the Sun. You too, try to catch the rhyme of the Argentinian capital and move in the unison with it. 

Continue reading