In my side of the world, when you mention Argentina, we all think of Diego Maradona and his unforgettable goal at the 1986 World Cup. More recently, we think Pope Francis. But being the curious person that I am, I wanted to develop new memories around this country. The people, culture, food, music, dance, tourist attractions and historic sites. My trip to Buenos Aires was my maiden visit to South America, and it welcomed me with open arms. I guess choosing not to limit my expectations to what the media portrays added even more flavour to my visit. These were my highlights of Buenos Aires:
- Dancing the tango
Take classes for a few hours, days or longer at one of the available theatres. Together with a group of friends we took a one-hour lesson before enjoying an impressive show by the professionals at the La Catedral del Tango. If you are too shy to Tango, take a moment to enjoy the gifted dancers swinging it out in the streets.
- Taking a stroll through La Boca
Every city has a heartbeat that keeps the vibrancy of its culture and people alive. La Boca is one such neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. The coloured houses, street restaurants, souvenir shops, street art, food and fruit stalls and most importantly friendly people. I felt alive and couldn’t help but dance in the streets. No surprise I was happy about missing the hop-on hop-off bus because it allowed me hang out at La Boca a little longer!
- Paying tribute to the dead at La Recoleta cemetery
If you appreciate architecture and want to experience 300 years in the past, then this is a must do activity. La Recoleta cemetery contains grave of several famous people and has been called one of the best and most beautiful cemeteries in the world.
- Visiting the El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookshop
It is a former theatre turned bookshop, and is considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. There is something quite fancy about browsing bookshelves under a roof so grandeurs and imposing.
- Striking a pose at the Obelisco de Buenos Aires
I took a stroll down “9th of July” Avenue purposely to strike a pose in-front of this landmark. I forgot to carry my selfie stick but lucky for me, one of the souvenir vendors was kind enough to take my picture. Thanks mate!
- Visiting a ranch and getting kissed by a gaucho
If you’ve never been kissed, this is how your first time should go down; head to a ranch, ride a horse, enjoy a carriage ride and crown it all with a kiss from a gaucho! The telenovelas are right, these guys are awesome!
- Dinning at Las Cabras
Las Cabras was recommended by our tour guide, Pablo. They served the finest beef steak I’ve ever eaten. I kid you not! Wash it down with a Quilmes, and according to me, that’s the true taste of Argentina.
- Taking a walk along the waterfront
I took a stroll after having lunch at one of the many restaurants lined along the waterfront. It was then that I noticed a couple of people seated on benches or staircases having their packed lunch, I had to try that out. I was back the next day with a chicken wrap that I did not enjoy, so I opted to use the rest of my lunch break to take a long stroll.
- Riding the Hop-on Hop-off Buenos Aires bus
I did this on my last a day in Buenos Aires as a way of reaching all places I intended to visit but had not gotten time to. Although the English commentary wasn’t as detailed as I’d liked, it’s worth every penny!
- Remembering Maradona (how couldn’t I)
True to my Ugandan self, I paid tribute to the man who for a very long time was all we knew about Argentina. It is good to know he is still alive in the hearts of many locals. This is evidenced by the jerseys, souvenirs and pictures hung up in several shops.
Te Amo Argentina. I will see you again!