Buenos Aires: A Monument-al City

While on a three-month assignment in Chile many years ago, I visited Buenos Aires, Argentina for the first time to spend the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday there.  Besides locals, my co-workers included a fellow American colleague and folks from Buenos Aires (abbreviated in Spanish “B.B.A.A.”; leave me a comment if anyone is curious why not “B.A.”).  We all had great fun in Santiago and exploring Chile together.  So when the time came to book our tickets home for Thanksgiving, the other American and I thought to ourselves:  why not go to BB.AA. and get to know it with our friends from work?  We thought for a moment about our families and about missing the turkey, and decided (smartly) that this was our chance to see monumental BB.AA., all travel expenses paid.

Seeing some of the key sights

BB.AA. is monumental.  Period.  Not only because of its size but also because of its architecture too, reminiscent of Paris and Madrid, just rolled into one.  Of course, it is not Paris but it gets as close as I have seen any other city outside of France to look like it.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, church, Cathedral, Pope Francis

The very-classical Cathedral of Buenos Aires.

No visit to BB.AA. at that time could skip seeing the Plaza de Mayo, where the mothers of the people who disappeared during military dictatorship had been protesting for years (and, at the time of my visit, maybe for other reasons, according to my local friends).  The plaza is in front of the Casa Rosada, the Argentine president’s residence and offices.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, Casa Rosada, presidential palace, Evita

The “Casa Rosada” (Pink House; any similarity or apparent relationship between it, its current resident and the Pink Panther are purely coincidental).  Evita made its rear balcony famous in her Broadway musical.

BB.AA. has evolved since those days, as all places do.  For example, Puerto Madero has become a great area to visit, dine, etc.  But in this first of my three visits to Argentina, that area was nothing like it is today; it was a blighted area.

We walked tons, visiting the cemetery where the aforementioned Evita is buried, walking down the sprawling Ave. Libertador with its many lanes that behave as one, shopping in Calle Florida, and all that good stuff.  It is, like many great cities, a city one can enjoy best by roaming aimlessly.

Food.  Oh, the food.

Food, oh, food.  The Argentine capital is a veritable source of good food.  Nothing complicated.  We had Thanksgiving dinner at an Italian restaurant near Ave. Callao.  Being that Argentina has tons of Italian blood for many immigrants, the meal was top notch.  It wasn’t turkey but it was outstanding.

One of our co-workers invited us to an “asado” – BBQ Argentina-style.  It was at his parents’ place and they grilled EVERY part of the beast.  We were teased into trying a “weird” part so I opted for the kidney which seemed the “safer” thing.  Not a fan of the texture though the flavor wasn’t bad…

My favorite meal was at the Costanera.  I don’t know if it exists in the same format as it did so many years ago but, boy, the piece of steak was OUTSTANDING and it was buried under a PILE of REAL French fries.  I ordered half a steak and it covered the entire plate – a normal size plate!  A meal to remember – if you don’t drink too much wine with it.

Finally, my absolute favorite thing was Fredo‘s ice cream – really, gelato.  There were many locations and every time we ran into one, we had to go in… My favorite flavor:  wine cream.  Out of this world or, what Argentines would say with great fervor:  ¡¡¡ES-PEC-TA-CU-LAR!!!!

Monuments ‘R Us

There are many ways to describe BB.AA. but one that sticks with me is that it is just a massive collection of monuments. Wow. Every place you turn, a statue (with or without a fountain)! Incredible. Here is a series of photos showing what I am talking about…

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, Cabildo

In front of the Cabildo (or town hall).  A great place to catch some shade.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, Palermo, statue

In the Palermo area (as I pulled this photo out of the album to scan it, I realized this square and those buildings had been in an episode of House Hunters International not long ago!)

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, Urquiza, fountain Libertador

The fountain to Urquiza, an Argentine general and politician with the Ave. Libertador in the background (that speck at the top edge of the fountain is me)

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, Christopher Columbus

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel

Monument to the Argentine nation

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, National Congress

National Congress and its own monument

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, statue

Statue and yours truly

Buenos Aires, Argentina, city, monuments, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel,

To close it up:  a double.  The Thinker (left) and Plaza de Mayo (right) with me as the common factor (with my stylishly rolled up jeans)

Do you agree that Buenos Aires is a monument-al city?? :)

Comments

  1. Disfrute Argentina a traves de las fotos, muy buenas! Algun dia podre visitar y conocerlo en persona.

  2. If BBAA doesn’t stand for, “Beautiful Buenos Aires Argentina”, it should. As you said, wandering is the best way to see it.

  3. Oh Buenos Aires!! I was really hoping to get to Argentina while in Chile, but there just wasn’t enough time. I must get back! Ok, so tell me, why B.B.A.A.??? Also, love these photos – you look the same!
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..My Montréal Foodie Experiences.My Profile

  4. Great post! I agree, the food in Buenos Aires is really good :) I was just there a few months ago.
    Jonathan recently posted..First Ascent MicroTherm Down Hoodie ReviewMy Profile

  5. Sounds like it’s time for a trip to South America soon.

  6. Food. Oh, the food is right! And the WINE.. Goodness I miss BA. One of our favorite cities, for sure. The monuments, different neighborhoods – love it all!
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Savory Eats in SucreMy Profile

  7. Buenos Aires is high on my list. You had me at ‘the food, oh the food’. I think I would be very happy there!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..My hOtel: One Aldwych, London @onealdwychMy Profile

  8. I CAN’T wait to get to BA! That will happen in 2014. The photos are beautiful and you’re a handsome young man, Raul. ;-)
    Leah recently posted..Absolutely Annoying Airport Lounge BehaviorMy Profile

  9. Does this mean that LOL in Argentina is LLOOLL? You definitely perked my interest in BB.AA. Food, architecture, monuments, interesting history, and confusing acronyms are all reasons to go right away to Buenos Aires.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..An #offthemenu test drive with @LincolnMotorCo in ChicagoMy Profile

  10. A beautiful city with a fascinating history – i’ve wanted to visit for so long – thanks for sharing!
    Fiona recently posted..Amsterdam’s Hottest Tickets this AutumnMy Profile

  11. It took me about a few hours to fall in love with that city, and it takes a very special city to do that to me. :) BsAs (as I spell it :) ) is one of the greatest urban destinations in my opinion: for the food, architecture, coffee shops (!!!), and soccer. The history is fascinating and sad, but it only adds to the appeal.

    I hope next time we meet, Rauli, we’ll have a nice conversation about Buenos!
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Krakow’s Main Square in the afternoonMy Profile

  12. That doesn’t sound like a bad Thanksgiving! ;) Love the pic of The fountain to Urquiza! Would love to get here someday!
    lola dimarco recently posted..5 Best Ways to get a Hotel Room UpgradeMy Profile

  13. Cómo buena Argentina y local les digo chicos que Bs As es lo mas! Pero toda Argentina es linda…les recomiendo el interior, no se van a arrepentir! Yo pude ver x suerte los centros de París; Italia, España y les digo que me queria volver corriendo, no por que no me gustaran estos lugares, me encantaron, sino por que se extraña la cultura Argentina, somos muy familieros los argentinos! Y aunque tenga sus cosas malas, yo no lo cambio POR NADA! JAJAJAA. .. los esperamos a todos para q conozcan lo hermoso de Bs As y De Argentina!
    Paula

  14. laura knight says:

    Would you happen to have taken some pictures of the rear side of the christopher columbus monument in front of the rosa casada? I cannot find any pictures of the side facing the rosa casada. I am reading an old book that mentions the statue in great detail and symbolism yet I cannot see it for myself.
    thanks

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