With a population of 2.7 million, Buenos Aires,
the capital city of Argentina radiates charm that suggests exciting things to do. The language is exotic (Castilian Spanish), and locals dress like they are from the pages of Vogue magazine. The city never sleeps, populated by residents obsessed with fashion and image. Slim is beautiful, and if you want to learn to dance the tango, this is the place. It's a city that expresses passion and national pride through music, soccer, dancing and horses. It's the "City of Cool."
The downtown architecture is quite different from the rest of Latin America, strongly influenced by the Europeans, more than the half of the buildings French. Myriad museums, historical buildings, shopping centres, and hotels are yours to discover.
Tango music was born in the brothels of the poorer suburbs. The raw, sensual dance moves were not respectable until adopted by Parisian high society in the 1920's, and subsequently all over the world. There are free tango shows in restaurant-bars such as
Gitanos, where I try the national drink. It's more like herbal tea out of a pot-like container sipped through a metal straw. Although foul-tasting, Argentineans say that it's more addictive than coffee.
Recoleta Cemetery, established in 1822, is well worth a visit. It's the final resting place for Argentina's wealthiest and most famous families. The mausoleums are small, and it's common for many generations to occupy one family mausoleum. A grave that I sought out was that of
Eva Peron, wife of
Juan Peron, a three-time president of Argentina. Both are idolized for their efforts to eliminate poverty and to bring dignity to the labour movement. Accordingly, they were despised by Argentina's wealthy and powerful. Juan is buried in another city cemetery.
Museums are popular with the top attractions the
Malba, dedicated to Latin American modern art, the
Museo National de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) and
Recoleta's Cultural Centre. When tired of the above, relax on the grass in
Plaza Francia where it's easy to while away a few hours by people-watching as I did.
The Obelisk is another must-see with the gaggle of tourists (and pigeons) that flock to the
Plaza de Mayo. This is the site of important historical occasions, including the revolution in 1810 which led to
independence from Spain. Stroll along Avenida Corrientes to its junction with Avenida 9 de Julio, (which claims to be the world's widest road) to see the Obelisk, a national icon where the Argentinean flag was raised for the first time.
Buenos Aires Tourism
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, the Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.