Nothing like a little cat nap to refresh yourself during the day. Even the local kitty embraces this South American tradition. I tried to capture the mood of it sleeping under a bush in a cemetery.
We spent our first two days and our last four days in Buenos Aires in the funky and wildly fun neighbourhood of San Telmo. In between we moved to another part of town for five days, but I will tell you about that in another post. San Telmo was our first glimpse of BA and it was fantastico!
San Telmo used to be a low-rent neighbourhood full of artists. However, like artsy neighbourhoods all over the world, rich people started moving in and rents went through the roof.
A side note on renting in Buenos Aires: we caught up with a guy we’d met in Santiago and his American girlfriend for dinner in Buenos Aires. They were in the process of renting a place together and were telling us some horror stories. Apparently, in order to secure an apartment in BA, you have to have a family member (it has to be family) guarantee you will pay the rent. The family member must earn a high enough wage to meet the requirement. If you don’t pay your rent, the rent will automatically be taken from the family member. Oh, and each person can only guarantee rent for one other person. So if you had two older siblings, and your parents are each guarantors for one of them, you’re kind of screwed.
So, anyway… San Telmo is now full to bursting with trendy cafes, amazing clothing and art shops and restaurants of every cuisine imaginable. There is also a famous antiques market on Sundays.
The market features way more than antiques! There were local artists selling handmade jewelry, vintage clothes, fresh juice stands and performance artists of all kinds. The market was packed with fashionable Portenos (people who live in BA) as well as chubby tourists from Ohio… and everyone was having fun!
We found an amazing little cafe just down the road from our hostel and visited fequently for coffees, drinks, and lunch. By the time we left BA we were starting to feel like San Telmo locals!
It’s terrible, but when I think about the 2 nights we spent in Cordoba, Argentina’s second largest city, what stands out most was the air conditioning! We’d just spent a week in the middle of the desert with no air con, so we’d had a week of broken, sweaty and sticky sleep. We arrived in Cordoba bright and early after a long overnight bus ride and we promptly took cold showers and went for a nap in our air conditioned hostel room. It was bliss and it made us very glad to be in Cordoba!
Don’t worry! There’s a lot more to the city than just air conditioning! Cordoba is home to 7 different universities, so there are tons of quirky little bars and restaurants, some really brilliant clothes shops and excellent coffee… everything the modern student, and the 30 year old traveller, could need!
We spent a lot of time just wandering around the city admiring the architecture and the jacaranda trees. We first saw jacarandas when we were living in Australia, and now we’ve discovered that South America in spring is full of these feathery purple trees! We love them and Andy tried to capture the brilliant purple on his camera, but it wasn’t always easy!
We met up with Nils and Ilona again in Cordoba, which was brilliant! In fact, we had bedrooms right beside each other at the top of the hostel we were staying in, so at times it felt like we were back at uni ourselves! We spent a lot of time hanging out on the massive rooftop terrace with them… sipping wine, eating cheese and laughing.
And now… off to Buenos Aires!!!