A travelogue of our first trip to Buenos Aires


January 7 - Sunburnt in Puerto Madero

Picture of the Day

Port revitalization projects generally don't get me going, but I'd read enough about Puerto Madero that made me think it was someplace I should see. In retrospect, I don't know why I thought that. I've been to London dozens of times since Docklands was developed and I've never been, and still don't feel the need to go see it.

But anyway, we went. BsAs can be a claustrophic place (especially in the heat), and the thought of an open horizon was pretty attractive. Plus it wasn't quite so hot today (right at 90 F), and I figured it would be a nice place to go to lunch and take some photos.

We took the opportunity to ride the subte, BsAs' subway. We're right around the corner from the Agüero station on the D line, and that line (like all of them) originates/terminates at Plaza de Mayo, the main central plaza of BsAs. Mostly we've been walking because our apartment is so centrally located, and sometimes taking a taxi in the evening. But from the west side of Barrio Norte to Puerto Madero is a haul, so the subte it was.

It's dirt cheap (at 90 centavos, less than USD.30 per ride), an absolute deal when compared to Boston or Atlanta or London or just about anywhere else. The trains were clean, they ran often, and the system uses the refillable magnetic cards you swipe to enter. We rode both the D line and the original subte line, the A that still has its wooden cars. Craig surreptitiously (just in case the policia didn't like it) took some photos.

The D line (Agüero station)

The A line with the old wooden cars (quaint but hot!) at the Peru station

After an uneventful ride into town, we exited onto the Plaza de Mayo, a big open plaza ringed by important buildings - the glowing red sandstone Casa Rosado (the presidential palace but no longer the presidential residence), the Catedral Metropolitana, the sixth cathedral on this site since BsAs was founded, the Cabildo, the headquarters of the city council for several hundred years - all anchored by the Pirámade de Mayo, more an obelisk than a pyramid, in the center of the Plaza (for you Evita fans out there, this is where the shirtless ones massed and demanded her husband - oh right, she had one - be released from prison).

We skirted the Plaza and headed east for the port, no small task given the several very wide roads that run between Plaza de Mayo and Puerto Madero. We made it, and strolled down the broad walk the runs alongside the canal between the mainland and portside. It was nice - sunny but breezy without much humidity. There's not much greenery out there, but lots of open space. Lots of cranes too, rising out of big holes in the ground or attached to half-built skyscrapers. I understand after the peso was devalued in 2003 that buying property in BsAs was a deal for Euro- and dollar-holders, so lots of money was sunk into Puerto Madero to meet the condo/apartment demand. I also understand that Puerto Madero is for people who like to sit on couches on restaurant terraces until the sun comes up, live in brand new high-rises and shop at upscale stores, but I wonder what's going to happen now that the worldwide economy is suffering? The peso is still cheap but not like it used to be and credit is hard to get everywhere.

Some images of Puerto Madero (along with the picture of the day, above):

Anyway, we strolled until we got to DF, a Mexican place that had been recommended. If La Biela was our first average meal, this was our first below-average meal. I was prepared for non-US Mexican (after all, we're not in the US) but I was not prepared for a chicken mole casserole that tasted like it had a shortbread crust - I've eaten chocolate cookies that were less sweet. But we got through it, and will console ourselves by revisiting El Sanjuanino tonight for dinner (see January 2 post).

Our adventure of the day - a taxi driver who heard Callao when we said Gallo. His advice to us, after going about 10 blocks in the wrong direction then looking at the map we gave him, was to write our destination down and hand it to the driver. Probably worth doing, next time!

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Eight Days in Buenos Aires by Valyn Perini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.