The capital city of Argentina sprawls back from the south side of the River Plate, and is where the
porteños dance the tango, chomp on steak and party 'til dawn. The city is the second largest in South
America, with something over twelve million inhabitants. It is centred around the 9 de Julio avenue,
umpteen lanes wide with a landmark obelisk standing in honour of Argentine independence in 1816.
We visited Buenos Aires as part of our 2005 South America tour, arriving on the fast boat "Buquebus"
and staying three nights before flying back home via
Highlights included dancing
the tango, chomping on steak and partying 'til dawn. It wasn't particularly warm as it was the middle
of June, but the atmosphere and architecture of the city made me feel much closer to home than whilst
in Brazil - I almost could have imagined I was walking around
Don't cry for me Argentina! It was here at the president's mansion, the Casa Rosada, that Eva Peron
spoke to the people from the balcony, and Madonna sang in the mid-90s film.
Avenida 9 de Julio is one of the widest avenues in the world, with up to twenty-two lanes of traffic
flowing (or not). An entire axis of city blocks was demolished for its construction from the 1930s
to the 1960s. In the centre stands this white obelisk, creating a handy landmark to navigate by.
A close up of the obelisk shows the text describing how the Argentine national flag was first flown
on this site back in 1812, as the country gained independence from
The monument also appears
in the billboard to the right, having been hit by a typical porteño driver.
The tango originated here in Caminito, and you will see many postcards around the city showing dancers
in front of this particular wedge-shaped building. The district of Caminito is in La Boca, a fairly
rough area with the exception of these streets which sport brightly coloured houses and cafes.
A stylish porteño's house and matching car in the Caminito area.
Cute cafes in Caminito, perfect to sit in and watch the tango dancers during summer - alas we were there
during the height of the winter season.
We went to see professional tango on stage in San Telmo, near our hostel, to soak up a bit of the traditional
culture and alcohol. The emblematic Caminito wedge building forms the backdrop. The tango
dancing couple put on a good show, after which members of the audience were invited to have a shot -
but I'm not showing the pictures of that!
Buenos Aires Cathedral looks a bit more like a bank than a place of worship to me, with these austere
columns and portico. It sits on the Plaza de Mayo along with the Casa Rosada.
Argentina's economy struggled in the early part of the 21st century, however commerce did appear to
be picking up again during our 2005 visit. Prices in general were still very cheap, it was like being
in a first-world country but with third-world prices. The skyline continues to spring up.
From the air, the scale of the city is most readily apparent. This was us coming in to land at Jorge
Newberry airport on a flight from
with the cityscape spreading out as far as the eye can see.
Palacio Barolo is a 1920s skyscraper which very closely resembles Palacio Salvo in
having been designed by the same architect as it was. It was once the tallest building on the continent.
The Palace of the Argentine National Congress is built in a similar style to the Capitol building of the
United States or indeed,
It was constructed around the turn of the 20th century, and I was
pleased to find during my re-write research in 2015, that the stonework has been nicely cleaned up
since my visit.
I was surprised at the amount of grafitti in the city, which even adorned the statues and monuments
outside the seat of government. Either the porteños like writing on walls, or they are somewhat discontent.
Again though, before 2015 everything had been nicely cleaned up.
Another shot of the obelisk in the sun, looking along Avenida Roque Saenz Pena.
River Plate, along with Boca Juniors, are one of the most successful football teams in Argentina. We
went to see them play at their home ground, where the opposition fans were kept behind a barbed wire
fence and had fun setting off fireworks and smoke bombs.
Shopping in Buenos Aires was excellent, mostly due to the low, low prices following the economic collapse
in 2001. This is a view up Calle Florida, if I remember rightly.
Recoleta cemetery is the dead centre of Buenos Aires, a little tomb town. The tomb of Eva Peron lies
amongst these monuments to influential and well-known porteños.
The memorial to the Argentine soldiers lost to the
during the Falklands war, or Islas Malvinas
as they are known down here. When entering Argentina by bus from
one of the first things
we saw was a sign announcing the ownership of the Falklands by Argentina - this was repeated outside
military bases and other important sites we passed. I admit to feeling a pang of guilt whilst standing