In essence I’ve been to Buenos Aires three times. But in reality I only stayed there once (for 3 days). I passed through its monstrosity on two other occasions (once I spent a full night in the airport, another time I walked from the harbour to my connecting bus, having sailed in from Colonia in Uruguay), so I feel I got an overall and varied opinion of this totally cocky, arrogant, smelly, dirty and over hyped Argentine capital city. Yes, that’s my lasting opinion on Buenos.
I didn’t totally enjoy it I have to say, perhaps because I’ve been to a lot of other South American capitals and this really is an uncultured, unfriendly and arrogant poor relation to the likes of Montevideo and Asuncion. It’s probably the people and their arrogance that let the city down, as architecturely it ain’t so bad, and for a night out it’s party heaven (as I found out!). I don’t expect I’ll return for a fourth time despite loving the party atmosphere of the nights out (Buenos Aires did give me one of my best ever pub crawls in honesty) and my trip to La Bombonera (home of football club Boca Juniors) where Maradona became famous.
OK so if you go to Argentina, those are two decent reasons to visit Buenos Aires, along with the Tango experience. It’s a mega city, Argentina’s boast to the world and should not be missed. But equally, it’s nothing special. Bland, lacking character, and its inhabitants think they’re something special. Sorry, Buenos Aireans, you’re nothing special. You need to get out more instead of being wrapped up in your own superficial world…
All that aside, and I make no apology to Buenos Aires, or its’ residents, here are my edited highlights…
The widest street in the world, from a few different angles and times of day. The 28 lane and pedestrian street, Avenida 9 de Julio. Funny enough my hostel was well located, easy to find on this main street (though its address read Lima).
Local bus. An extensive bus network in BA.
Subte – the underground system. Bland and dirty.
Tango dancing in Florida Street. I watched it around 9pm for free there. I didn’t see the point in paying in to expensive venues, when you can see it for free on a lot of the city centre streets. This part of the BA experience is unique and enjoyable.
My friend Lena, from Germany stayed in Hostel Florida, which included wall pictures of famous Argentinians, including Che Guevara and Diego Maradona.
A central government building by night.
La Leyenda restaurant which wasn’t too dear and was very nice. Had my first glass of Argentinian red wine in there, as well as my first Quilmes beer (yuk!) and my first Argentinian steak.
Starter and main. The beef was excellent, the red wine average and the beer totally shit. Yes, Quilmes (also known as “Kill me”) is easily the worst beer I have ever tried in my history. But that steak was top notch.
Dinner with Lena, a fellow traveller from Germany.
My hostel bedroom, and drinks with Maria and Felipe in the hostel bar late on.
The horrible Quilmes (“Kill me”). Seriously how can people drink this stuff.
Some of my Argentine Pesos. When I was there (late 2010) coins were scarce, so naturally I kept quite a few of them. I collect coins and stamps when I travel, and I collect notes when I know I can afford to (on this trip I didn’t collect many notes).
Beside the Diego Maradona “hand of God” mural in La Boca.
Outside La Bombonera, La Boca, home of Boca Juniors! My full trip to La Bombonera is here: Diego Maradona!!
Statues are commonplace around BA, almost to the point where they go un-noticed…
A Buenos Aires Bank.
Rush hour near the Obelisk, in and around Avenida 9 de Julio.
An Argentina flag flies in the calm wind, by the Obelisk.
I did a hop on hop off bus tour for a day, which was decent value and saved having to hop around and change my own buses. It covered all the places I wanted to see. And also had headphones with commentary.
More squares and statues, it wasn’t actually that busy, but these were taken on a Tuesday. Plaza Francia is randomly on Facebook…
An art museum which I didn’t go into.
I just liked this random photo of hanging traffic likes and motorbikes. Traffic can be a problem in BA, as can crossing wide roads for the traveller and worker.
Yet more statues, a park and a mosque I believe.
Catholic church and crosses of Christ are common in a lot of these parts of South America. In terms of churches in BA, there are simply thousands…
The colourful pretty streets by La Boca.
More BA statues. And a nice sky on a hot day.
A bridge with a spike over the water down near the harbour. I ended up back near this area about 5 weeks later, having done Antarctica and Uruguay in the intervening time.
A cyclist by the harbour.
A street protest. There were many of these during my time in Argentina. Fires in Ushuaia and random protests in BA. Nothing on the scale of Northern Irish riots in days before, but interesting to see. You really stand out as a foreigner, as no locals would take photos of this. The protests were government related, but I never found out the reason for them.
“Enjoying” the sights of Buenos Aires from the bus tour. And yes, of course I did most of the sights normally by walking, almost all of these photos were taken from walking around. The bus was just an excuse to be lazy for a day. I may even have drifted into a 20 minute sleep on that bus, such was the arrogant buzz surrounding Buenos.
A local armoured security van. Like a peeler van or securicor van from back home.
In terms of archictecture and general appeal looking round, Buenos Aires is a pretty city.
The Casa Rosada, and the square in front of it, Plaza de Mayo. It’s a nice area, with plenty of tramps about as well! The building behind is a national monument and has a museum. It’s supposed to be like a King’s palace, but they don’t have a King, so Presidential Palace is probably a better definition.
Some more protest banners in and around Plaza de Mayo.
Someone’s bed, hidden near the main square in the day time. Walking around Buenos Aires at night was an interesting experience. Lots of tramps around, and worst of all, LOTS of rubbish, rats and horrible smells on every street corner.
BA is a dirty smelly city. Probably the dirtiest I have seen. The locals sit in amongst the rats and rubbish. For a city which is the capital of Argentina, and boasting all this grandeur, the truth hurts you, doesn’t it BA? Your capital city is not a world beater. For a country that could and should be rich, you have tramps, dirt and diseases that poor parts of Africa and Asia would be ashamed of. And they have less resources…
If you care (which I didn’t) you can buy some Argentina flags and souvenirs. The kid brother’s postcard was my sole contribution to their souvenir economy.
I’ve tried to mix negatives with positives here on this post and have tried to be as far as I could. My report on the EPIC Buenos Aires pub crawl is still to come, but there’s 6 photos of it above! From the many BA bars and clubs I drank in – at night this city is amazing, but it was soon time to move on…
I finally left Buenos Aires for the third and final time in early December 2010. I left by Crucero Norte bus from the main bus station, as I headed north wards towards the Paraguay and Brazil border. I was heading for the spectacular Iguazu waterfalls.
The bus station I left from was the Retiro Bus Station.
My bus. It was a 20 hour bus journey up next. It would be (and deliberately mis-spelt) Buenos Noches Buenos Aires!
As I left behind the arrogance of Buenos Aires, I was fairly sure it was a city I had enjoyed but would not return to. The city itself was nice, Argentinian people are a bit over the top and arrogant for my liking.
I caught a glimpse of River Plate’s stadium (they were relegated to the second division that season) on the way out of the city. A nice closing door for me, on a city I didn’t fully enjoy but have given a very long report and post on, such is the impact and monstrosity of the beast of BA.
It was another Buenos Aires sunset and this old world still looked the same…
What – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Population – 2.9 million
Languages – Spanish
Passions – Football, Drugs, Alcohol, Tango, Partying, Architecture
Strange Currencies – Argentine Pesos
Nationalities Met (in BA alone) – English, Irish, Ecuadorian, Paraguayan, Venezuelan, Brazilian, US, Polish, Australian, Argentinian, Uruguayan, Colombian, German
Where I Stayed – Limehouse Hostel, Lima 11 (EXCELLENT)
Bars Visited – So many (pub crawl report to come) including Hat Trick and Ki Ki
Beers – Quilmes (disgusting – avoid it)
Other Drinks – Red wine, gin and tonics, mango shots, European beer, Brazilian beer
Food – Beef steak
Arrived From –
(1) Santiago, CHILE (aeroplane)
(2) Ushuaia, ARGENTINA (aeroplane)
(3) Colonia, URUGUAY (ferry boat)
Left By – Bus (Crucero del Norte bus to Puerto Iguazu)
Transport Used – Bus (3 different types), Airport Mini-bus, Ferry Boat, Taxi, Aeroplane
Key Song –
YOLANDA BE COOL – WE SPEAK NO AMERICANO:
(amazing song will always remind me of partying in Buenos Aires)
BUENOS AIRES PUB CRAWL:
TANGO DANCING IN FLORIDA STREET:
HOSTEL ROOFTOP BALCONY:
OUTSIDE BOCA JUNIORS STADIUM, LA BOCA:
A WEE PARK ON THE EDGE OF BUENOS AIRES:
THE WORLD’S WIDEST ROAD, AVENIDA 9 DE JULIO:
BUS TOUR PART 1:
BUS TOUR PART 2:
BOAT FROM COLONIA (URUGUAY) TO BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA):
AT BUENOS AIRES BUS STATION LEAVING FOR IGUAZU:
SUNSET ON LEAVING BUENOS AIRES FOR THE LAST TIME FROM MY BUS WINDOW: