I really loved Buenos Aires. Not as much as São Paulo – but I don’t know if much will be able to be as wonderful as São Paulo. But Buenos Aires was spectacular, in a similar way – it was full of culture, of activity, of food – everything I like about cities.
Although the rain (and my terrible cold) followed me from Iguazu, I tried to make the most of my time in Buenos Aires. I originally stayed in Recoleta, a beautiful, leafy, Parisian inner city suburb. Here, I walked to the brilliant Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and the famous Recoleta cemetery – where, rather crassly, I spent hours trying to locate tombstones of those who died on the day I was there (couldn’t find a single one, although many died on my birthday) – and appreciating the ostentatiousness of some of the graves.
A friend and I went to a tango club one rainy evening, expecting to find some brilliant dancers but instead happened upon a group of embarrassed tourists learning the dance. However, after a bottle of wine and a little time, the professionals stepped out – and we watched in awe as these people performed the most incredible act of what can only be described as romance – their bodies following each other in perfect harmony. I can’t say it made me want to try, though – it seemed all the more ethereal.
The next day, we moved to the incredibly hip but upsettingly tourist-orientated suburb of Palermo, where we walked the streets, in awe of the restaurants and street art. We had a spectacular meal of steak and chips, red wine and an assortment of vegetable sides, at La Cabrera – a famed steak restaurant. The atmosphere was spectacular, all the more aided by our wait in droplets of rain for the possibility of a table (which is one of my favourite things) before finally getting a table at about 9pm (still early for dinner here!).
A highlight was a performance show called Fuerza Bruta. We had been told that it was the strangest, but best, thing to do in Buenos Aires – and that it couldn’t be described, just to go. And after the experience, that description is very accurate – I would have no idea how to describe it. We were all crammed into a room, where a stage was moved into the centre with a man, running through water on a treadmill and the thunder of drums swirled around us. Then, people on the top of the walls jumped around on sheets that cascaded into the crowd; women slid directly overhead on a plastic sheet filled with water suspended only about 30cm above us, and we were sprayed by water as the ultimate celebration. Reading that sentence makes it all seem a little odd – and it most definitely was – actions without any rhyme or reason, but just brilliant. You’ll have to go to experience it for yourself!