Thursday, February 5, 2015

San Temlo, La Boca, and more food

As my time in Buenos Aires comes to an end and the South American leg of the six month journey wraps up I've been cramming in food, wine, and neighborhood sights across town. Pictures from yesterday are in the general Buenos Aires album and start here.

On Wednesday (yesterday) I ventured over to San Telmo and La Boca. Everything that you read about La Boca is like watch out for your bags, stay on the touristy streets, don't get mugged, etc. So as I planned my venture over there I was trying to figure out the best way to actually get to the one tiny area that's actually the tourist trap of it all. I decided I'd just start walking and stick to the main streets and make my way down, it was the middle of the day after all!

I started the day by taking the subway (I'm a pro at the D line here apparently!) into the central part of the city and then headed to San Telmo. San Telmo is all about antique stores, shops, cafes, restaurants, and a plaza where there's often tango going on. The area was definitely cute and lots of eating and drinking could be had. I would return for that in a few hours.

First I popped into the San Telmo market to check out what types of vendors were in there. Since it was mid-week it wasn't too hoppin' but it was an interesting mix of produce vendors, meats, cheeses, spices, and then random crap/antiques. I found a meet and cheese place that looked delicious!

Yumm, please

Back out on the street there's some interesting old massive houses that are now antique stores. I wandered into one and it was enormous with three different courtyards, beautiful tile, and now lots of 'antiques' for sale. Looked mostly like junk! But thinking back to the 1800s when this would have been a fabulous house was quite cool.

Continuing my wander I got to the end of the San Telmo area and now had to figure out how to get to La Boca. It's a sight to see but good lord it's quite far from everything! I figured I'd walk down on of the main streets to get most of the way and then cut over once I was down far enough. Eventually I made it, the walk was perfectly fine, just uninteresting and dirty - but that's fairly common around here. You can tell when you've arrived to the La Boca area for two reasons, first there are some very brightly colored houses/buildings and second are the signs for their soccer team. There's a stadium right in the heart of the area and I can only imagine what it's like when there's a home game.

The street to see is called Caminito - it's tiny, like one block. Dear lord, I'm walking all this way for one block. Jeez, yep, I did. When you hit that intersection it's like you're smack in Fisherman's Wharf - blah! The tour book called it a tourist trap and that it was indeed. There's street vendors, people doing tango, cutouts to get your photo taken looking like you're doing tango, street cafes, and shops selling every trinket imaginable. It is worth seeing and taking some pictures. There's good street art around too. But I certainly wouldn't be rushing back there.

This is the block I came to see
Once I was done with my tourist viewing I was desperate to find something to eat. I'd done some research before setting out for the day so I had two restaurants in mind - both back up in San Telmo. After walking for what felt endlessly in the heat I decided upon Mercadito Latino for my lunch and man was it good! Given that it was so hot I went directly to the ceviche. It was amazing. I regret not taking a picture of the bowl because it was massive! Not like the small portions of ceviche I've normally seen in the States. This was a massive amount of fish with an amazing liquid that I wanted to drink up, portions of corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes or yuca (not sure which), and toasted large corn kernels. Amazing! That and a glass of wine made a perfect lunch :)

Given the heat I knew that my next food stop for the day needed to be ice cream! I made my way back to the subway and back towards the direction of my apartment to check out an ice cream place recommended by my AirBnB hosts. I wasn't totally sure how to order so I ended up with a quarter kilo, I have no idea really how much that is, but I got half mango and half dulce de leche and scarfed it down. I was finished it within like 5 or 6 blocks. I'll be going back there or searching out another highly rated spot tomorrow!

Once back at the apartment I finally sat down to rest for a while - the most I'd sat down all day was at lunch. I didn't make it far for the evening because I decided I couldn't not open the Malbec my hosts had left for me. Malbec, cheese, and crackers as I planned my food eating for the next day was perfect for me. 

On the docket for Thursday (today), my last official full day and night here, was checking out the Palermo neighborhood (and sub-neighborhoods) for the Evita museum, shopping, and capping off the evening at a parilla (for a steak dinner). As I write this I realized that I have only like three pictures from today and they're from my run. It was more about the neighborhood and eating thus far. Perhaps more to come later!

First I wanted to go for a run so I thought I'd check out a different running spot from where I went earlier in the week. I headed to the dock area of the city, Puerto Madero, to check that out and see what it was all about. It looks pretty much like any reclaimed dock lands of a city, old warehouse buildings that have been converted into restaurants, condos, and offices, as well as new construction containing the same. There's also a large wetlands park here but I didn't venture there. This area has a bridge called Puenta de la Mujer that was designed by the same architect who designed the Harp Bridge in Dublin crossing the Liffey. Given that the areas that they're in are similar I thought I'd been transported to Dubs over night! 

Buenos Aires

Post run and as the sun started to come out for the day I headed back on my favorite subway line to Palermo. First stop was the Evita museum. It was a good little stop and totally cheap - I think 40 pesos to enter so basically less than $4. I went mostly to check out her clothes, shoes, and bags on display. I did read as much of the English information there as possible and watched a few videos. It was not the best museum ever but good for an hour given that the country loved and I assume still loves her. What I did learn was that after her death, at the very young age of 33, her body was moved around multiple times and even stolen by the rebel governement. For a while she was buried in Italy under a different name. I think it was the late 80s before her remains were actually returned to Buenos Aires and were put with her families in the Recoleta Cemetery that I saw a few days ago. 

Enough culture it was time for more food. I met up with one of the Aussies I met while hiking the Inca trail and we went to a middle eastern place, Sarkis, that was delicious. We ate ridiculous amounts of food for a lunch meal. The place was packed and serving up massive plates of food so I knew it would be good. He'd eaten there yesterday and wanted to go back so I wasn't going to complain! Kufta and labneh (essentially greek yogurt) to start and then lamb kebabs smothered in more yogurt. Yumm! 

Following lunch I wanted to wander around the various shops around Palermo - specifically Palermo Viejo. This neighborhood was so cute - definitely where I'd want to come back to. There were so many restaurants (lunch was just a few blocks away), bars, cafes, and shops. Felt like a fun happening place to spend an afternoon and evening. It's not super near the center of the city, but that's fine once you've seen all of that. I wandered in and out of a few shops checking out the fashion - not much I would buy thus far but perhaps something will catch my eye tomorrow. 

Dinner is going to be on the Argentine schedule - likely not til 10 or 11 PM. I'm going to meet up with some friends of a friend who happen to also be in BA. Steak dinner and good wine was on my agenda and they're game. If I can make it I've also told them I'll join for come BA clubbing which is an experience I feel like I can't leave without. I'm hoping that if I stay up really late I will wander the city tomorrow and then it will help me sleep on the flight back tomorrow night!

Until then I'm doing laundry, packing, and working through that bottle of Malbec :)

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