First light on a spring morning, in a brand new city.
A combination of mild jet lag and early morning heat and light woke me early, a world away from the cold dark mornings we had left behind in Devon. Spring was awash in Buenos Aires, the the purple jarcanada trees still clinging on to the November blooms.
I love that first morning waking up on a brand new trip, the anticipation of having new cities and lands to explore, a new language, currency and country system to figure out.
After a chill day in an unusually quiet Buenos Aires (due to the G20 summit being held), we were ready for our first full day, ready for a slow day after the rush of seeing friends and celebrating B’s birthday in London.
A sunny breakfast in Palermo
The streets of Palermo, the area of Buenos Aires we were staying in was near deserted at 9am on the Sunday morning as we wandered down Jorge Luis Borges street in search of breakfast. In luck, we found a small, pink cafe with outside (La Panera Rosa) wooden chairs in the sunshine and dived into crepes with fruit and dulche de leche (a thick caramel, an Argentine obsession). The first thrill of using our Spanish to ask for the bill, the unfamiliarity of Argentine pesos.
Mercado de San Telmo
From Palermo, we caught the metro down to Independencia and walked down to the huge undercover market in San Telmo, a bustling old food market from butchers preparing huge steaks, to a colourful array of vegetables to whole stalls selling pots of dulche de leche. A crowd of tourists had gathered outside El Hornero, where a group of chefs were making empandadas (like mini Cornish pasties) by hand. I joined the queue and devoured one filled with beef and vegetables and a naughty of chorizo and cheese. We found a little spot up some steps to stand and watch the bustle of the market before heading back out into the warm sunshine.
Feria de San Telmo
Every Sunday, the old district of San Telmo holds an outdoor market, which originally began as an antiques market, still held in the main square. The market then spills out on to the streets both left and right of the square, with handcrafts such as bags and purses, amazing origami jewellery, hats, scarves and lots of handmade mate cups, a popular bitter leaf drink in South America.
Between the stall holders street performers entertained the crowds, from a folksy Argentine band, to an old boy and his suitcase puppet show and the cutest elderly couple picking people out of the crowd to teach tango dancing.
Asado near Plazo Del Mayo
Our bellies rumbling, we via of the streets in search of lunch. Argentina is well known for it’s hearty steaks, many of which are cooked on an asado, a wood fired grill giving the smokiest flavours. We dodged past the fancy looking restaurants with table clothes, and found a little rustic backstreet joint, with old boys sipping litre bottles of beers and two police ladies polishing off lunch.
We opted for the asado meat, beef ribs which came with a simple tomato and onion dressing, salad bread. Sunday lunch, BA style.
Lazing in Plaza Del Mayo
Waddling out of the backstreets, we made our way down to the main square in Buenos Aires, the heart of both celebrations and frustrations, Plaza Del Mayo, the huge Argentina flag swaying gently in the late afternoon breeze.
The square is home to the Casa del Rosa, the striking pink parliamentary building, the balcony playing host to key events in the countries history – from Eva Peron’s famous rallying speech to Maradona parading the World Cup in 1986.
We found a grassy spot in the shade for a spot of people watching – kids chasing the pigeons, a street seller flocking Argentina flags, a couple getting cosy together.
Rested and recharged, we took a peek in the impressive cathedral before heading back to Palermo.
Street Art in Palermo
Before heading back to the hostel for a noodle dinner (budget conscious!), we hit up the backstreets of Palermo in search of street art from flowers to astronauts and I couldn’t resist making myself into an angel, to round off our slow first Sunday of our 10 week adventure.
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