Sunday, 1 January 2012

IATTOUR Dec 26-Jan 1

Buenos Aires Week IV "Fin de Ano"

Monday 26:  In keeping with the Lowe family Boxing Day tradition, we were off to the horse races at the "Hippodrome"  with Carmel and Richard today.  This oasis in Palermo takes up more than a section of land filled with a number of horse tracks, lakes, exercise rings, exclusive "Jockey Club", betting stands, restaurants, and a sweep of white steps overlooking the race-way.  Even though we couldn't follow the commentator, we had no problem understanding the excitement as we followed our horses down the home stretch. 

 Richard "won" our betting competition by picking 3/5 winners and had to buy the wine for dinner.  For this, we dropped by one of the extensive wine shops in Palermo (wow what choices!) and stocked up for the week.  We also came across one of the many fireworks vendors that had some interestingly names packages of explosives;
The night was still young after dinner (~2230hrs), we headed off to Benita Milonga and listen to El Afronte while more talented and practiced Portenos and some tourists entertained us with their Tango steps. We were very surprised to find that we weren't in bed until about 2 pm.  Are we becoming Portenos?  

Tuesday 27: Out for a stroll along Puerto Madero...getting pretty warm today.  In fact too hot for the dogs; conveniently they seem to have this figured out in having the dog walkers well trained.
Picked up  the ferry tickets for R/C to go to Colonia tomorrow, then off to the Arms Museum today.  Ah.. El Museo de Armas.  Who doesn't enjoy a good gun?  How about thousands of them...and suits of armour, Samuri swords, tanks, Gattling guns/machine guns/pistols/rifles/motars/bazookas//.....and many more beloved weapons of individual and mass destruction.  This museum has something for even the most jaded collector!  We thought we would be in and out of here, but spent at least an 1 1/2 hours here.  We loved the full suit of mail and the tiny "personal protection" guns that look as if a finger would barely fit round the trigger.  

 for the horse that has everything- "a gas mask"

On the other side of this  cultural tour, Carmel and Richard were off to enjoy the Ballet at the Teatro Colon. They reported that all was amazing, but that the stage sets were beyond belief and that one of the lesser ballet dancers had stolen the show with his incredible leaps.  A "classy" day, all the way through.
off to the Ballet
Wednesday 28:  Although Carmel and Richard were on their way to Colonia del Sacramento today, we had just enough time to catch bus 130 to the MALBA- Latin American Art Museum this morning.  Before getting to the museum, we wandered through a few parks in Ricoleta/Palmero barrios.
Floralis Generis- follows the sun and closes at night.
The main exhibit space was dedicated to Carlos Cruz-Diez--he of the "optical Art" genre.  Pretty incredible movement and colour in his works--though they do get repetitive after awhile.  The most absorbing and unusual part of the exhibit was a white chamber with illuminated block sculptures and another chamber with constantly moving vertical lines (not for the faint of heart or people prone to epilepsy).  

Additionally, there were other artists represented including Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera as well as a fascinating gallery shop.   Carmel and Richard then raced to the Buquebus terminal to catch the ferry to Colonia del Sacramento while Tony and I headed back home to scout out a restaurant for tomorrow night.  The San Jaun Cafe, our favorite, is closed until late January!

Thursday 29:  Finally, the Parque Ecologica was actually open, so off we went on a very long jaunt.  This gigantic green space next to Puerto Maderos and the docks, offers glimpses of Buenos Aires skyline, acres of trees, (dry at the moment) lakes, plenty of bird songs and sweaty Portenos burning off those Christmas calories.  
 Cranky and tired, we returned home on foot for a siesta.  Carmel and Richard were back in time for an evening wander into the edge of San Telmo to a lovely restaurant called Caseros.  We photographed our delicious appies - Ceviche was the winner (a la the foodie blog sites), but missed the splendid  dessert as we were too busy gobbling it up.  My oh my.... chocolate, ganache and candied-poached orange slices!

Friday 30: We headed out this morning for our long-anticipated trip to Tigre.  This small town close to Buenos Aires has been described as the "green Venice" of South America.  

This is the confluence of many rivers forming the huge Tigre Delta and emptying into the Rio de La Plata.    It is possible to imagine that it looks much as Venice may have before the giant buildings were built..  It is a fascinating place of many, many waterways...a water community with vacation homes, water side stores, rowing clubs, yesteryear's resorts and tourist trails.  We stopped off up the Delta for a wander through the smaller canals and had a bite to eat...glorious flowers, big bees (size of hummingbirds!)


Tigre was a worthy day trip, though quite touristy and much more developed than we expected.  

And then...for something we had all been waiting for...the TANGO SHOW!  Carmel and Richard treated us all to the  dinner and show at "El Viejo Almacen".  We were blown away by the meal (many reviews aren't kind to Tango show dinners, but this was fabulous), wine/champangne and by the show.  A brilliant evening, one which lasted well into the night.

Saturday 31:  Today is the last day of the year and Richard and Carmel's last night with us.  As the occasion required we pulled out all the stops with Carmel and Richard picking up some exceptional wine.  Starting early gave us enough time to visit  Abasto barrio (home of Gardel and Tango) and peek into "Las Violetas-high tea and postres to die for" before returning to build a great 3 course dinner to accompany the wine. Tonight, we slowed down and savoured all, making the courses and wine last until midnight.  

For your enjoyment--a few recipes:
Chimichurri Sauce with Empenadas (an Argentinian staple)  (just buy the pastry--that is what they do down here!)

Richard demonstrated his prowess in two languages in free form scrabble.  We joined the revelers in Dorego Square with Champagne and accompanied by percussion blasts of fireworks which continued long into the night.  Richard suspects that the cadombe drums finally stopped in the square about 0600. Our lasting memories will include the sight of a very elderly couple propped up at a table next Square sitting from 1600 hours to after we left for bed.  Luckily, they were not there the next morning.

Sunday 1:  Oh it was a sad quiet day in San Telmo as Carmel and Richard got ready today.  We all wandered over to Puerto Madero and tried to get into the Parque--no such luck today- "Cerrado"! We did see evidence of a wild night every where with multiple giant boxes of spent fire works.  We were back to the apartment for "linner" and then Carmel and I had one last ramble around to shop in the Feria del San Telmo before they were on their way.  What a grand visit--one we will remember and recount often.   

 No sooner than we waved goodbye to Richard and Carmel, we walked around the corner on Defensa to find a huge crowd and a great jazz band.  Some great characters. The story continues!


  1. Some great shots. Glad you guys had an exciting (if not entirely free from hazard) new years. :) Those shots of the city on the canal look pretty cool. Jet-ski commute to blow off stress at the end of the day?

  2. hey.. just catching up on yr posts!1