Sunday is open air market day in San Telmo which is basically wonderful morning of trying to resist purchasing all manner of little artsy things and cute signs for around the house. We don’t have a house. We don’t even have a fucking fixed address. I don’t need crocheted cacti or a novelty drinks coaster. Tarrant fell in love with every shirt she saw. If we had shit like this near where we lived we’d be so poor and we’d have so many random things taking up every available surface. We were the same when Flor took us round the weekend markets near her flat in São Paulo.I never realised how much I needed a Moroccan style plate specifically for dips in my life, I’ve been scraping the guac straight out of the plastic tub with a Dorito like a fucking savage all these years.
We started at Plaza Dorrego which is a cool little square where people apparently practice their tango but we’ve not been there to see that. We’ve had our tango fix, plus there’d be plenty more random tango happening today where ever there was spare space. There is no escape from the tango in Buenos Aires. We wandered around the square then just headed straight down Defensa, the main drag which they close off on Sundays just for the markets, all the way to the Plaza De Mayo.
I’m pleased to say we didn’t buy anything we didn’t need. Well done us. I noticed there’s a lot less Homer Simpson crap than there was twelve years ago. I remember so much stuff emblazoned with Homer drinking beer, Homer dancing tango with Marge, Homer wearing a Maradona shirt and handballing the ball into the net. Like, Homer, but Argentinian. Part of me is a little bit sad the obsession has come to an end but also it’s probably a good thing because I’d probably have left with pockets full of the crap having shaved several days of travel off our finances.
Plaza De Mayo is an important historic square. It’s where the revolution started in 2010 which eventually led to independence from the Spanish. The Casa Rosada is here, where parliament is housed. Pretty much every important political thing that happened in Argentina happened here. We finished our market stroll here, had a wander around then headed back to the Pride Café for a couple of motor impairment beverages.
So on Monday we’d booked a guided tour of the Cementerio De Recoleta, which is a fuck off great big cemetery where the wealthy of Buenos Aires are buried in huge tombs that probably have more usable floor space than our flat in Brighton. That wasn’t until the afternoon though so we took a bus to a bookshop. Not under any illusions that the bookshop would have anything in a language we could understand, but it’s a really fucking pretty bookshop.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid (no, really) is as much as a tourist attraction as it is a bookshop and it’s not uncommon to see people posing for photographs amongst those who are actually there because they want a book for their eyeholes. It’s a stunner of a building both inside and out to be fair. It used to be a theatre and it’s obvious, but it’s been a bookshop for over twenty years.
We still had time to kill so we wandered in the vague direction of Palermo as we’d heard that professional dog walkers operate here and staring at other people’s dogs like a massive fucking creep is one of my favourite things to do. Argentinians love their doggos and we weren’t disappointed. We saw people walking just one or two dogs but we did see the professionals wrangling, like, ten dogs at a time. Maybe I’ll just move to Buenos Aires and walk dogs for a living.
We wandered into Recoleta, grabbed a pancho at a kiosk so we didn’t starve to death, and had a beer at one of the many resto bars that lined the pavements across from the towering cemetery walls. Recoleta is a nice suburb, named after the monks that used to live here. They were sent packing in 1822 and the garden was turned into the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires. You need dolla dolla bills to live here, it’s been an area associated with the wealthy since the 1800s. You need similar quantities of dolla dolla bills to be buried here too.
We bought our entrance tickets, found our tour group and in we went. Our tour guide, Victoria, was brilliant. She told us so much stuff and I don’t think I remember it all but what I do is crammed underneath the following photos.
We didn’t want to leave Buenos Aires without shovelling steak and wine into our chops but it turned out that Monday was not the best day to do this. The most recommended places that wouldn’t require us to relinquish a couple of organs as payments didn’t open on Mondays but we figured hey, it’s Argentina, even she shit steaks are good, right? Yeah… nah… do not go to Goya Bar Histórico. The meat is average. The wine was good. The waiter spent the evening sneezing globs of snot all over his hands before serving drinks and food to people. If we end up with some manner of mucus producing virus I think we’ll have a pretty fair idea of where we got it from.
Guided tours aren’t necessary for Recoleta Cemetery but I would recommend it. We used Buenos Aires Free Tours which cost US$10 each. If you want to pay in pesos they charge you Blue Dollar rate which is a bit cheeky. Right now it’s about AR$3000.
Since April this year you have to pay to enter the cemetery. Foreigners pay AR$1400 and you can only pay by card.