When I wrote my bucket list (almost 2 years ago), the first item on my list was to spend a week in a number of cities and Buenos Aires was one of them. At the time, I still had a strong affinity to city life; but I’ve found that it has gradually been fading. These days, I find it harder and harder to enjoy the urban rhythm. Everything is fast-paced, disconnected from nature and there are lots of things that don’t make much sense to me.
Still, I had heard so many nice things about Buenos Aires that I was really looking forward to spending a few days there. Most people said that it was such a cosmopolitan place, a very European looking city (some like to say it’s the Paris of South America) with cool neighbourhoods and great nightlife. Everyone I know who has visited, pretty much loved it. So I had high expectations.
When I first arrived from the airport, I was quite disappointed with its looks: the buildings looked gray and plain and it reminded me of the ugliest parts of the Eixample Esquerra in Barcelona. However, as I walked around Palermo it didn’t take long to find cool cafés, restaurants and shops; the mood there was more similar to Berlin, with the street art and all. And for me, that was one of the few redeeming aspects of Buenos Aires: the abundance of high quality street art murals.
There were of course other things that I enjoyed: watching tango aficionados from all over the world dance their hearts out, strolling down the San Telmo Sunday market to people watch, and the awesome food (yes, specially the steaks and empanadas!). But I couldn’t help noticing the harden looks on some of its inhabitants’ faces; regardless of all its cosmopolitan grace, Buenos Aires seems to be a tough place to live in if you cannot afford to enjoy its fancier perks.
After a few days in this massive metropolis I wanted out, fast! It probably didn’t help that I almost got robbed in the subway, I managed to avoid loosing my wallet, smartphone and camera; because I quickly realised what was about to happen, if it’d taken me 2 more seconds they’d have been gone. However, I did loose my beautiful vintage sunglasses and my laptop’s case when I forgot them at a table in two separate incidents; I know it was due to my careless mistakes, but I can’t help thinking that in other places they would have been turned in and returned to me.
In the end, I had a good time in Buenos Aires because of the people I met there; but I really didn’t enjoy the city that much with the exception of the street art and a couple of favorite places. When I left, on the longest bus ride that I have ever taken, I was once again happy as I woke up to the view of the open plains as I made my way south to Patagonia.
Have you ever been to Buenos Aires? How did you like it? Let me know in the comments below!