Your special Buenos Aire tour: the same and not the same

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The sites to see in Buenos Aires remain basically the same, but yet each tour I give turns out to be a unique experience for a variety of reasons: time, local special events, and new places to visit, eat, enjoy! Such was definitely the case when Kathy P visited Buenos Aries for 11 days in March. It was Kathy’s first visit to South America,

Shopping. Old San Telmo Market

Shopping. Old San Telmo Market

and to Buenos Aires in particular, so it called for the basic tourist highlights: a bus tour of the city, the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires (MALBA), the Museo Evita, touring the famous Recoleta Cemetery, a day trip to Tigre, the Delta, another to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay and yet another to a unique feria just outside the city, the Feria de Mataderos. We were fortunate, too to attend some very special events: a live Joan Baez concert at Teatro Gran Rex, a tour of Teatro Colon Opera House with time to sit in on an orchestral rehearsal session. And frequently throughout Kathy’s 11 day visit, we enjoyed music, music,

AfroCultural Center drumming workshop

AfroCultural Center drumming workshop

Feria San Telmomusic, tango in the theatre and in the neighborhood.

Tango dancers. Esquina Homero Manzí

Tango dancers. Esquina Homero Manzi

Tango. Esquina Homero Manzi

Tango. Esquina Homero Manzi

The weather: late summer, early fall, with daytime highs in the low to mid 70’s, except for one day with afternoon and overnight rain. Sunny, blue skies with low humidity, a plus for visiting Buenos Aires late summer to early fall.

Having a travel-conscious traveler like Kathy here was wonderful as she continually gave me feedback about those events she thought were “must-do’s” for all my tour guests. Visiting the Feria de Mataderos was one of those.

More dancers near the "bar notable"Bar Oviedo in Mataderos

On Sundays from March through December, there are two adjacent arts and crafts fairs, one in the park of Nueva Chicago (no kidding, that’s really the name of the place) and the other in the Feria de Mataderos itself, where the culture of Northern Argentina shapes the arts and crafts, foods, music, lots of dancing, singing, and a gaucho skill riding “sortija” competition on display. Our lunch consisted of a “choripan” (what we know as a sausage sandwich on good French bread) cooked on the parrilla (barbecue grill), accompanied by your beverage of choice and papas frítas (French fries) for less than $8 per person.

Mataderos dancers 2Another of Kathy’s “musts” was to rent a vehicle to tour Colonia in style. And so we did!

 

 

 

 

 

Our "ride" in Colonia

Our “ride” in Colonia

Though a little noisier than a golf cart, our jeep cost us about $35 for the full day, and was easy to drive around the town, stopping at the now defunct Plaza de Toros (bullfighting ring) for a few photos,

Inside the Plaza de Toros

Inside the Plaza de Toros

My kind of bull

My kind of bull

or at the swanky Sheridan Golf Resort and Hotel at the end of the river road to peek in at the lifestyles of the rich and well, rich, and naturally to use the bathrooms, check out the outrageous prices on their menus and head back to our jeep for the duration. Returning back to the center of this World Heritage town, we walked the plaza in the historic old part of town, enjoyed seeing the fun wares in some local boutique shops, climbed the lighthouse (well almost all the way to the top, I confess!) to see all of the city surrounding us, and stopped for quite a while taking in the newly created public art murals painted on the outside of the soccer stadium wall there

2013 mural series. Colonia

2013 mural series. Colonia

2013 stadium mural. Colonia

2013 stadium mural. Colonia

Political commentary abounds in Buenos Aires including here,

Protesting Monsanto. San Telmo

Protesting Monsanto. San Telmo

on the column of a newly restored historic building in San Telmo where protesters spray painted their message to Monsanto and passers-by like we were one Sunday morning. Two of the more moving political moments we shared during Kathy’s visit took place one afternoon at the Plaza de Mayo. There we witnessed the silent procession of the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared, who have met and walked here every Thursday afternoon for the past 37 years, beginning as a new form of social protest during the Dirty War (1976-83) and continuing through today. Sharing the plaza that Thursday was an exhibit created by the 9th Conference of Women Bank Workers to protest discrimination against women.

Exhibition protesting discrimination against women

Exhibition protesting discrimination against women

The contrast between the white headscarves of the Madres, chosen to represent the diapers of their babies kidnapped and disappeared by the military dictatorship during the dirty war years,

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

alongside the pairs of bright red women’s shoes standing in silent contemporary witness against violence to women was moving. These two diverse groups of Argentinian women will take the stage in my next post.
Great weather formed the background for our March touring, and except for one rainy afternoon and evening, we enjoyed sunshine and temperatures from 70-80 degrees, the usual early March fare here. In other words—an ideal time to visit for those north Americans who don’t want summer’s heat but do want to escape the brutal winters in the Midwest and beyond.

Much sightseeing, eating, drinking, listening to music, enjoying the dancers and doing it all inexpensively were definitely the highlights of Kathy’s trip. As was watching the Mothers of the Disappeared present their symbolic white headscarf to Joan Baez at her concert (she was literally moved to tears!), spending a few hours enjoying every piece of the exhibition of the Argentinian painter-mystic Xul Solar

Museo Xul Solar

Museo Xul Solar

just a few blocks away from my apartment, and the art deco and art Nuevo on the streets and in the cafés, well, it’s quite something to experience.

Tango orchestra. Feria de San Telmo

Folkloric music from northern Argentina

 

Come see for yourself. I’m accepting reservations now on a limited basis for my personalized tours of Buenos Aires and beyond in 2015 (January through June). Don’t wait too long to visit the Paris of South America! I’ll show you a good time, no doubt.

What is real is invisible to the eye said the Little Prince.

What is essential is invisible to the eye.  from The Little Prince.  2013 Mural detail. Colonia

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8 Comments

Filed under bilingual American guide, Buenos Aires, Colonia del Sacramento, Feria de Mataderos, MALBA, Museums in Buenos Aires, Street Art, Tigre, Travel in Argentina, Visiting Uruguay

8 responses to “Your special Buenos Aire tour: the same and not the same

  1. Sólo se ve bien con el corazón (“Only the heart can see clearly”)
    Saludos

  2. Kathy Perry

    My Buenos Aires vacation with Dee Dee was 4 stars and thumbs up all the way! It was so comforting to be accompanied by someone who was so fluent in Spanish and so tuned in to the Buenos Aires vibe. The music, the art museums, the food, the fairs, the people, the culture, the weather were fantastic. I could go on and on. I did not have one bad day in Buenos Aires. One the one day that it rained we were at the Xul Solar museum and enjoyed his art as well as the architecture of the museum. We had many tasty meals during my stay. I was amazed at how inexpensive the food was. Our most expensive meal where we had an appetizer, entrée, two drinks. dessert was $28 American (unheard of back in the states). Getting around BA, we walked, we hopped in cabs or took buses around town. All very convenient and inexpensive. When you come to BA check in advance to see if there will be any concerts at Teatro Colon and get a ticket. Dee Dee and I went on a guided tour of this historic opera house and we were fortunate enough to hear the BA Symphony practicing for the evening performance. Teatro Colon is known for the best acoustics in the world and we heard the proof and it was true! In addition to the Tango show that we attended at a restaurant we went to a free “Tango in the park” where people from the neighborhood met on Saturday night to dance tango. The dancers ranged in age from 20’s to 80’s and most very skilled at this intricate, sexy dance. We did so much when I was with Dee Dee but always at our own pace. We even had time for a siesta several days. Before I came, Dee Dee advised me to buy a travel book about Bueno Aires and then let her know what places I wanted to go. She then planned my trip to my identified interests. I’ve never had that level of customization on a trip.
    Muchas gracias Dee Dee,
    Kathy P

  3. Nancy Slater

    body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}Greetings Demetria – You have a very fine advert/announcement about your personalized tour for visitors to Buenos Aires. Good for you!! Hope that all is well with you – and that you are very successful with this travel adventure!!Are you back in Chicago yet?? I understand that it is still winter there. What a weather year for the midwest!! Out here it has been a milder winter and now while we are having quite the rainy time (the most rain almost ever in March).I have been participating recently in ULOC for south Puget Sound. There is a group of us who go from Vashon to Tacoma or nearby for the Lunch Bunch with quite a group, I dare say!!And, this baseball season will attend Mariner games once a month with a Seattle friend. Are you gonna go to Cubs games – like especially with you nephew??all the best!!! Nancy

    • Hi Nancy! I’m enjoying building my tiny business; such fun and I’m always learning as well as enjoying. Yes baseball season is upon us, and I definitely will go to see yhe Cubbies with my nephews, as often as I can, despite the predicted 90+ Cubs’ losses again this season. What is ULOC?

  4. gloria nardini

    So many of the sights you describe are the ones we saw, too. You must be a terrific tour guide, Demetria! I remember fondly the time we spent at our class and at San Telmo and the area–whose name I now forget–which now has the Calatrava Bridge.

  5. Pingback: Turning 25 in Buenos Aires | See Buenos Aires

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