They have a saying in Argentina–“They have a scar on their hearts that never heals.” I know this feeling too. This painting is very large and I sat and looked at it for a long time. Each face is a painting on its own. The sign in the back says, “bread and work.” I have never known real hunger, but I see it on these faces. This is done by a very famous Argentinian painter.
There are two-horse racing tracks in Buenos Aires. The first one is the San Isidro. This is a very old track and was featured in the 1940 movie with Carmen Miranda called “Way Down Argentine Way.”
The second track is the Hipodromo Palermo, and it’s much more modern and close to the city. The most exciting part of horse racing to me is when everyone runs outside toward the finish line and starts yelling for their horses. I have no idea what they are saying, but I feel their excitement and passion. I just love the passion that exudes from the people at the track.
We watched the jockeys come off the track and see the reruns of their race. Sometimes you would see a big fat owner grilling his jockey about why he lost.
You Have to Love Meat in Argentina
The food in Argentina is amazing for carnivores–huge slabs of meat for lunch and dinner. There is something very special about their beef and how they grill it, and their chicken is tasty too. However, they really do not have many vegetables at all.
Not Many People Speak English
We have traveled to many countries and usually the younger people will speak English–not in Argentina. They really don’t even try, so it’s up to you to try to communicate.
One time, we got into a taxi and the driver immediately turned and started driving. So, my husband, Mark, says “can I tell you where we want to go?” He replies, “ no comprende” and keeps driving. So we get out our Google translator and give him the address. At first I was mad, but and then Mark says they are like robots and machines and just keep driving. He is right, Argentinian’s work many jobs just to survive.
The Tango Started in Buenos Aires!
If you walk down the famous Florida street, you will see young and old tango dancers with their little boom boxes. They dance for tips. What’s interesting is the way the men ask the women to dance at the tango clubs. If a man wants to dance with a woman, he goes to the middle of the dance floor and catches her eye and cocks his head. If she wants to dance with him, she will meet him in the middle of the dance floor. If she doesn’t, she simply looks away. This seems so much kinder for the man because he is not rejected in front of other women.
Bariloche is a beautiful lakeside city surrounded by the Andes mountains. This lake is 40 miles long and is the most beautiful blue you have ever seen! It’s the gateway to the Patagonia Lake District. Supposedly, one of the top 7 views in the world is at Campanario Hill. You take a chairlift high above the trees and see snow-covered mountains that mirror in the blue lake. It’s simply breathtaking.
There are also cool little shops and musicians that play under the arches for great acoustics.
I spent probably an hour watching a guitar player and an interpretative dancer. I heard the music and went looking for it, and stayed to watch her dance. As you would expect, most musicians are poor. The dancers shoes were so worn out, and she was as thin as a rail, but what expressive dancing! One dance made me cry because the story she told was that she was in love with someone who beat her and then she finally walks away. A little audience member joins her and she loans her a little skirt.
9 of My Favorite Places in Buenos Aires
1. Siamo Nel Forno Pizza–The Best Pizza Place in the World, No Lie!
At this pizza place, you watch them make it right in the dining room in this brick oven. Many years ago, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and American chain pizza places moved into Buenos Aires. Since then, McDonald’s and Starbucks stayed, but every American pizza place closed and left. After you get a taste of just one Argentinian pizza, you can never go back to American pizza. If I were rich, I would fly down here just to get that pizza again. It was that good!
2. Sunday Flea Market that Goes on for 50 blocks!
3. Recolita market
4. Don Julios chicken and mashed potatoes
5. Malba museum
Bocca is a very colorful area in Buenos Aires. Many beautiful murals and brightly colored homes. The picture below is a mural of the famous white scarf grandmothers in Argentina. They protest every Thursday looking for their missing children and grandchildren. The woman in the painting has one huge muscle on her arm to show how angry they are over the government not giving them answers about what happened to the kids.
7. Recolita Graveyard
This graveyard is well worth seeing how people with way too much money bury their dead. Ostentatious and vulgar, but beautiful. Eva Peron is buried here and people will line up to see her grave but to be honest, it’s not that impressive. What is impressive, though, is how long it took to get her body buried there. Someone stole her body and kept it on their dining room table for many years!
The cemetery is free, but wear sunscreen as all that marble reflects the sun on your skin. I loved the girl with the dog the most. Legend says if you rub its nose, it will bring you good luck.
8. Gauchito Gill Shrines The shrines have some cool folklore about a handsome young man who died a long time ago. There are several shrines on the roads dedicated to him all over Argentina, and the tackier the better. You are supposed to pour him a beer on one of these shrines so he will get you safely to your destination.
9. Notorious–for Live Music
This club is in the back of a record shop, but it’s actually a nice intimate little club for live music. We went there twice in one week. We saw Ismail, the son of the Buenos vista social club founder. I would make reservations because they only have about 34 tables.
They tend to have 7-10 dogs all around the same height.
Moreno Glacier–a Stunning Sight!
The Argentinians have learned over the years that their money can be devalued overnight. One example was when the exchange rate was 1 peso to one U.S. dollar. All of a sudden, it dropped in one day to 1 peso per .25 cents U.S. Little children do not have piggy banks. They learn to either go spend it that day or exchange it for U.S. dollars. Just recently, the Argentina peso dropped by 20% overnight.
This was my cheat sheet for February. Unfortunately, I made this spreadsheet up a month ahead of time and it was outdated by the time we got there.