Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hola Buenos Aires!

Happy new year! I’m sitting in a dark tango themed hotel room writing this and it’s 6am Buenos Aires time (or 8:15pm Melbourne time), which means yay we made it across to the other side of the world in a tin can machine in one piece!

It was definitely a trippy feeling, experiencing my 36 hour long first day of the new year with 25 hours of daylight as the plane chased the sun. Here are some views from of dubai and brazil we saw from above on our way here…

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

My poor body felt super confused, is it midnight or  the middle of the day? Luckily we rested our weary feet and I managed to crash into this super comfy king sized hotel bed and enjoyed a blissful respite. I am loving this mansion-converted hotel already! Such a beautiful and ornate building with character, and appropriately themed too, as tango pulsates through the veins of this city of Buenos Aires.

Check out the tango themes throughout this hotel Mansion Dandi Royal and gorgeous large murals inspired by the golden tango era below:

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Below left: Me at the hotel entrance. Below right: Our bedroomBuenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Funky San Telmo

Buenos Aires struck me as a beautiful city, much like Paris. Strolling along their cobble stone streets of San Telmo surrounding our hotel, admiring elegant balconies and facades felt like being transported to Europe. We also passed many shops with interesting graffiti art in San Telmo like the ones below:

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

 

Check out the cute traffic light crossing man below! Oh and the painting to my left me is a portrait of First Lady Eva Perón, also known as Evita, who’s super famous in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Our very first meal was a beef Empanada (apparently very popular here and abundantly available here in Argentina) larger than the size of our face! Having just arrived from Malaysia, we thought it looked like to a giant curry puff! One thing we learnt after spending a week in Buenos Aires is that the portion size here is super generous and it’s better to under order! Our eyes were frequently larger than our stomachs time and time again.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

San Telmo Market

San Telmo Market is a flea market at Plaza Dorrego on Sundays that sold everything, ranging from antiques to contemporary art, from flute to didgeridoos (seriously!) to Tibetan buddist treasures. We were on a hunt for the unique Argentinian ‘mate’ straw (top left corner of the picture below) and ended up with several cool looking designs.  For those who are unfamiliar, Mate drinking is similar to coffee drinking in Australia.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.auThe street was vibrant full of people, here’s a random band we passed along the way near the market:Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

The lunch we enjoyed near the market called El Desnivel had the juiciest steak and the best value for money we ever had in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Initially we thought they mixed up our order (since we communicated through hand gestures and broken Spanish) and thought they gave us 2 portions instead of 1 because of how huge the steak portion was. Apparently not, it’s the way the Portenos eat, and needless to say, Dan was in foodie heaven.Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Aristocratic Buenos Aires

During our Recolletta city walking tour (gotta love free walking tours! check them out at: Buenos Aires Free Walks) we saw palace like estates with their regal gates and gigantic statues fit for royalties, and were amazed to learn that they were simply home to the extremely wealthy aristocrats of Buenos Aires, built during the city’s golden era of the early 19th century.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

We explored the city mainly on foot, and used the metro for the rest of the times to save on transport cost. Here I am at Independencia Metro Station.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

The only exception was when we joined a tour to visit an Estancia (ranch) in the countryside. I got to admire the insides of a richly decorated and furnished castle and explored its lofty large grounds on horseback. Mind you, this all belonged to one family.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.auHorse Riding on the grounds of the Estancia

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Joining the locals in their traditional dance at the Estancia (above). Gaucho horse race (below)

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires has long been a city of artists, dreamers and thinkers who all have a love of coffee in common. From longstanding cafés dating back to the mid-20th century to hip new artisanal spots, café culture is a major facet of life in this metropolis. Opened in 1858 by French immigrants, Café Tortoni is supposedly known as one of the most beautiful, influential cafés in the world, Hence we decided to pay a visit too (below). There were hordes of tourists lining up outside, and once we were seated, we were able to admire all the intricate details and designs. To be honest we were not overly impressed by their food.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

In my opinion a visit to Teatro colon (opera house) is a must! It’s grandeur rivaled that of Versaille in Paris, with its gigantic chandeliers, spectacular halls decorated with velvet tapestry, statues, paintings and carvings of walls and ceilings. As I took all these in, I can only imagine the prestigious and privileged lifestyles these upper class wealthy people lived.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.auBuenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Here I stand, imagining what it would be like to be rich beyond my wildest dreams and living among such opulence, ahhhh (above). Another testament to this opulent yesteryear was seen in Buenos Aires’s famous Recoleta cemetery, where deceased aristocrats were remembered and worshiped by their descendants like pharaohs and kings. I’ve never seen such artistic and interesting looking grave sites. It was literally like a mini town, with streets upon streets of buildings ranging from mini Greek Colosseum to Egyptian pyramids adorned with gigantic stone carvings and angel statues. A place where the deceased come to rest, tombs that can be opened any timeby their family members, who have the luxury of praying and visiting them anytime.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.auBuenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Recoleta Cemetery

For a city such as as this, where every corner echoes its glorious yesteryear, its a pity to see its eventual decline due to generations of bad government, overspending, national debt and its subsequent hyperinflation that brought its economy to its knees. I still see traces of its aristocratic and European past from the mix of locals we encountered, they possessed a similar air of self assured arrogance and casual unhurried demeanor to the French.

Leather goods

At the top of our shopping lists was leather goods. As one the world’s biggest producers of meat, Argentina has also got its fair share of top-notch leather and the city is a leather shopping mecca. They generally charge you less if you bring USD, so load up on the USD cash people! We got better rates exchanging our AUD on the streets with some random woman at the flower shop compared to the banks, it was quite an experience, lucky we didn’t get scammed haha! At the end we bought several leather jackets including these ones below:

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Tango

Argentinians are a passionate bunch, and it’s evident in their favorite national dance. For a city that lives and breaths tango, it seemed appropriate that we stayed at a tango themed hotel mansion, took tango lessons, and watched how the professionals do it at a Tango show. Esquina Carlos Gardel was the place my old Tango teacher recommended and their performance was nothing short of sensual sexy and inspiring. It made me want to pick up Tango again! 

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Here are photos of us practicing tango at the hotel ballroom, they offer free lesson to all the guests at The Dandi Royal Mansion Hotel! The teacher at our tango hotel was very good and patient, though the basic steps were not as easy as they seem, the professional dancers made it look effortless.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

 

Beef

So Argentinians got super rich at the turn of the 19th century due to their lush grassy lands and beef production and export. Which explains why they’re one of the biggest beef consumers of the world, and why in almost every street corner you’ll find a ‘parilla’ (BBQ) and why it’s almost a sin to not include steak in every menu, including cafes and Chinese restaurants! 

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Here’s excited Daniel about to dig in to his steak dinner. Given the massive portions of steak that they served each time, and the awesome price tags attached (seriously cheap compared to Australia), it goes without saying that it became the mainstay of almost every meal we enjoyed at Argentina.

Below was a popular steakhouse called La Brigada that Dan was super keen to check out. It boasts steaks that are so soft that you can cut it up with a spoon! To prove this theory, the waiter even did this right in front of us.

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

For a Pescatorian like me, even I found the taste and juiciness to be fairly superior compared to what I had in Australia. Although, I did start craving veggies and seafood big time after a few days of marathon carnivorism. Did I mention Argentinians also love their sweets, bread, pasta and pizza? Literally with the portion size DOUBLE that of Australia. Despite serving SO much white bread, butter and 80% sweet dessert for breakfast, it’s a wonder the Argentinians are not gigantic in size!

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

Above is your typical hotel breakfast, where are the proteins and the the veggies?? O_O

You can tell the Argentinian’s obsession with sweets by the evolution of plane food we got served as we flew from middle east to Argentina…

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

 

Dolce De Leche

I forgot to mention the heavenly caramel like flavor made from condensed milk that can be eaten with waffles, crepes, biscuits, icecreams or with any dessert imaginable that it is literally a national (and lately also my) obsession. My fave is the dolce de leche helados (icecream)..omg..the icecream…literally foodgasm everytime ^_^ Here are more dolce de leche goodies in the photos below:

Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

 

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina photographer travel blogger http://travel.yingphotography.com.au

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