“It’s hot!” Arriving at EZE, BA’s International airport, Jenny and I, coming from Scotland and Canada, were happy to peel off our layers of warm clothes.
We came in at different times so I arranged for a car to meet each of us. There’s not much better than arriving after an overnight flight to see someone holding a sign with your name on it, ready to whisk you into the city.
Our personal advisor for BA was Sandra Gutrejde, www.batravelguide.com
She was phenomenal. Sandra looked after us completely. Starting with the all important airport transfers, then a city tour and all of our restaurant reservations.
Where To Stay
It was difficult to choose which neighbourhood to stay in. Palermo was attractive with its many restaurants and shops but Recoleta was recommended on one of my favourite travel blogs, To Travel Too, so that’s where we stayed.
Suites Leonardo da Vinci Residence, Libertad 1224, Retiro (edge of Recoleta) was perfect for us. I felt like a spy when I arrived at the almost hidden doorway. My driver had to show me the bell to ring to gain admittance. This was way more fun than a big hotel. We checked in and with our old fashioned keys in hand we went up on the tiny elevator to our little flat. Charming and filled with light from sliding glass doors to our balcony overlooking city rooftops. It was quiet and secluded. Private and perfect.
Day 1 : Explore!
What treasures are right here, on your doorstep? Ask the girl at the desk where she goes for coffee. Ask the family you pass in the hallway if they found an ice cream place. Ask the locals. And try to do it in their language. You’ll get laughter, surprised looks, and great advice. You’ve been doing Duolingo, right? And you know how to say ‘Hello, please, thank you, how much is it & where’s the bathroom’, right’? Trust me. It makes a huge difference in your trip. We discovered a little wine store. ‘Donde esta la mercado?’ got us to a local grocery.
Well fortified we headed back to our patio, turning our faces to the sun until we left for our big dinner date.
Argentine Wine Cocktail & Dinner Experience
Do this on your first night for a fun & hands-on introduction to many Argentinian customs. After making & sampling of different wine cocktails at the bar we switched to tea. We put herbs into a gourd and filled it with hot water. Our first taste of the national drink – Mate. Consumed through a sieved straw this would not be our last mate experience.
We created our own empanadas, with different designs depending on the filling. Baked & served as our appetizers!
We learned the Spanish words for ordering your Argentinian beef done just the way you like it. Jenny proudly used this throughout the rest of our trip. It’s a novel idea & lots of fun. Cudos to the gals that ran the evening with such enthusiasm.
Day 2 : Be a tourist
Buenos Aries is huge and very hot in the summer. I took Sandra’s advice to book us a city tour.
Our lovely guide Anna met us at the hotel, asking about our interests – coffee, quirky things, markets, lunch, a place for Jenny to train. And a pub. She got the idea. She made suggestions and off we went with her driver in our air conditioned car. Having a private guide for the day is like seeing the highlights of the city with a good friend. Such a treat! Here are a few of the highlights of our day:
Tango was at the top of our list & Sandra chose Gala Tango for our Argentinian dance experience. We had a lesson first with a fabulous teacher. I learned ‘the man’ part. By the end of the lesson, each couple proved the skill of our teacher by dancing on the stage! An intimate dinner plus an amazing show topped off a perfect day.
Day 3 Live Your Life. Pretend You’re a Local
Jenny was training for the London marathon & needed to do a 14 mile run. The Reserve Ecologica was within walking distance of our hotel and had nice long trails through the park and along the water. Just before you get to the nature reserve you come to the ‘Puerto Madero’ area which has long wide walkways along the water plus many coffee shops. Even a Starbucks.
I strolled the ‘puerto’, the old port area that has been rejuvenated. I crossed the bridge (Puente de La Mujer), and found myself at the pub that Anna had taken us to the day before. Jenny met me there (aren’t phones wonderful?) where we had lunch. We had a nice walk home, picking up pesos at a bank machine for our next adventure in El Chalten.
Our pick-up to AEP, the ‘domestic airport’ was at 5:30 the next morning so there was packing to do. While enjoying the last of the wine in the sunshine on our patio (with our drying clothes that we had washed while we showered that morning), we decided that since our next dinner experience was Fogon Asado Experience in Palermo, we should go early and have a walk-about. After a short cab ride we strolled into the busy and happy vibe of the Capital district and of course found a patio where we enjoyed sitting outside. In February!
We were welcomed into the cozy space at Fogon Asado with table settings on a wide bar surrounding the biggest bbq you can imagine. Chefs were tending the coals, waiting to perform their magic. Once our small group was settled the fun began. Our server kept an amazing selection of wines flowing (and flowing, and flowing…) topping up any empty glass he spotted on the counter. Seemingly endless courses of different meats were presented, culminating in (of course) great Argentinian beef.
Entertaining and funny servers ensured we all had a brilliant Buenos Aires experience.
Ask the maitre d’ to get you a taxi so you get home safely for your next adventure!