MOST RECENT POSTS
As our bus climbs upwards through winding Andean roads, an unexpected stop is suddenly announced and passengers slowly begin to descend one by one. Grateful for the chance to stretch my legs after hours of traveling, I grab my water bottle and hop off the bus as quickly as possible. My feet hit the gravel road beneath me, startling a herd of timid guanacos grazing peacefully nearby who pause to assess my intrusion. Camera in hand, I quietly snap a few photographs of the herd, while taking in the fresh air and pristine wildlife that surrounds me. “¡Mirá, mirá!” whispers a fellow passenger from the bus, pointing directly behind me with her mouth agape. Slowly, I turn and lay my eyes upon three magnificent granite structures looming monstrously above me, and immediately become mesmerized in their humbling presence.
When I arrived to Buenos Aires I was warned that there was one neighborhood to avoid from dusk til’ dawn: La Boca. Out of all the Buenos Aires neighborhoods that tourists visit, Boca has and still gets a bad rap. I for one have chosen to ignore the panic filled ¡Ay que peligroso! and was happily lead by a friend from the barrio through the Boca basics: a stop through the Boca stadium and museum with blue and yellow jerseyed fans at every turn, and a stroll past the colorful houses of Caminito. So why should this time around, on a tour no less, be any different?
On a particularly colorful block of Thames in Palermo, you will find a haven for some of the most well-known street artists in Buenos Aires. You might not know it at first glance – as it happens to be perched right above a bar – but head through to the back, up the stairs, and you’ll find yourself admiring the rooms of Hollywood in Cambodia. I remember being pleasantly surprised at the size of the gallery when I walked in. It occupies only two small rooms indoors, with a larger terrace area that allows visitors to admire the art gracing the buildings on either side. It was on this terrace that I sat down with Federico, one of the gallery’s six main artists, for some behind-the-scenes insight into the vibrant world of street art.
Let me start of by admitting something about myself. I love tours. Walking, graffiti, or a historical walking tour, they are each a sensual treat on my proverbial cake. So when given the chance to attend the San Telmo Art and History Walk I was eager to see what it was about, and curious to discover what new knowledge I could learn, or confirm the tales I already knew. It turns out, I know diddly.
My tour guide Leo walked our group through a diverse history of San Telmo, sharing with us a rich history of local myths, legends, and historical events, all the while pointing out the spectacular graffiti that dots the neighborhood along the way. I felt like a wide-eyed tourists walking through San Telmo, and left with a deeper understanding of one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods.
Video created by Hunter Thain, creator and proprietor of Shot Hunters Media – an aerial photography company. Hunter studied abroad in Buenos Aires in 2011, and returned last year to capture a few favorite places with a new perspective. Enjoy these beautiful aerial photos of Buenos Aires taken from a drone, and check out Shot Hunters Media for more. (Facebook, Instagram)
Belgrano isn’t a neighborhood that pops up on most people’s radars. Tourists prefer its trendier Palermo neighbor while exploring, and locals and expats not from the area are more likely to visit it once every blue moon to stock up on imported ingredients and a good meal in Barrio Chino than enjoy its tree-lined streets and quaint cafes. Albeit not much in the way of a typical tourist attraction, Belgrano is one of our favorite neighborhoods for the sheer beauty of its historic casonas and cobble-stoned calles; the perfect destination to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
I’m a true mountain lover at heart (being a Colorado native, that isn’t too hard to believe). While everyone in Buenos Aires may be saying, “this place would be perfect if only it had a beach!”…I’m on the other side dreaming of vast mountain landscapes. Maybe it’s the fresh, high-altitude air blowing in and out of my lungs that I miss so much, or the overwhelming sensation of feeling small amongst unfathomably, grandiose mountains that have been around before dinosaurs! Who knows what it is, but my heart constantly yearns for the mountains.
In years past, what excited me most about going home for Christmas was the eating (I love you, Mom). It became a ritual. Somewhere around September or October I’d begin working out again – not because of the approaching bathing suit season but more so to drop the five pounds I knew I was going to gain at home during a month of unbridled face stuffing and beer chugging. I’d purchase my flight carefully making sure I didn’t land too early in the morning so that we didn’t have to wait in the parking lot of the In N Out before they opened at 10:30am. My mom would get a food and liquor list a week before my arrival, and instructions to have my favorite cookies ready for the car ride.
As summer hits Argentina and the idea of spending every waking moment outside becomes an exciting reality, Claire McKeever shares highlights of her time in the outdoors on a WWOOFing (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) experience, at a farm just outside of Buenos Aires. If you’re in the mood for something a bit different this summer then you might just want to follow in her footsteps.
After living in Buenos Aires for over a year, I was beginning to think that a little respite from the city wouldn’t go amiss. Plus, it was nearing the end of my time in this incredible city (and country) and I wanted to make sure I soaked up every last bit of it. Cue the opportunity to spend a few weeks in the great outdoors as a “WOOFer”. Yes, pure, unadulterated sun and soil… Ahem. Not for everyone maybe but I was definitely looking forward to some time away from the city and to experience a different way of life.
Stepping into Trystan Bates’ workspace, the first thing I noticed was its sleek simplicity – only a handful of small, colorful pieces were hung up on the walls, with a single black and white table occupying the middle of the room. Any type of art-related work can be inherently messy, but something about this place made me feel instantly calmer (a welcome change, as my bus ride had been particularly chaotic that day). Trystan greeted me with a bright, familiar accent, gesturing for me to sit down with him when I arrived. I took out my notebook while energetic music played from a speaker system in the background. Maybe it was his artistic intuition, but before I could open my mouth, he seemed to know exactly what my first few questions would be.
Club Cultural Matienzo breathes culture and spawns innovation. It’s a pulsating space; a living organism enveloped by a membrane of graffitied walls. Eighty workers –macromolecules of ideas, plans, and schedules– circulate through the building’s veins. Despite the constant movement and clash of ideas inside, this organism holds strong, constantly working towards its end goal: to produce, diffuse, and let prosper the creations of Buenos Aires’ artists and innovators.
Tuesdays through Sundays beginning at 5pm, CCM opens its doors to the public. Tourists, expats, and locals alike gather inside (entrance to the club is free) for good cheap beer and food before deciding which show or event to attend that evening. It may be the opera Orpheus you’re interested in that day, or that month’s interactive art installation you’d like to see; perhaps you want to grab a fernet and enjoy the tunes of Lulacruza; or take part in the club’s fiction writing workshop. The choice is yours, the options are endless, and Club Cultural Matienzo has much to offer.
Once upon a time, there was a city with over 734 bookshops…
Yep, Buenos Aires is officially a book lover’s paradise, with more bookshops per person than any other city in the world. You can rest assured that your literary needs will never be unsatisfied in a city where some bookshops stay open 24/7, and you can buy anything from the Twilight series to Foucalt’s Discipline and Punish…at a subway station.
But what about books about Buenos Aires itself? It’s always interesting to learn more about a city from another perspective, or gain a deeper understanding of its history. Here are my three recommended Buenos Aires reads, each with their own fascinating insight into this strange and wonderful place.