Hoping to make the most of our last day in Buenos Aires, we booked a private walking tour with Buenos Tours (Buenostours.com). We figured we could take in the sights for about 5 hours before we had to pack up and head to the airport. We wanted our tour to focus on Recoleta as well as the historical center of the city. Our guide’s name was Jessica, and she definitely had a wealth of knowledge to share. We wanted to do a historical overview, but certainly wanted to include a stop for empanadas, and ice cream.
Our first destination was the Cemetery in Recoleta. It is most certainly not your average cemetery. Only the most notable members of Buenos Aires and their families are buried in this cemetery, and all of the bodies are above ground in ornately decorated, and maintained mausoleums.
We were impressed by the stories as well as some of the sculptures adorning the tombs.
The most popular stop for everyone visiting was the tomb of the Duarte Family, whose most famous member was Eva Duarte Peron, better known as Evita.
This tomb was located on a side alley way, and there are still many flowers that are left in her honor. The cemetery was gated, and very well maintained. It is a must visit stop on any ones visit to BA.
We had built up an appetite wandering amongst the tombs, so we headed straight to La Cocina.
This well – regarded hole in the wall turns out a variety of home made empanadas with a myriad of fillings. Its a battle for a spot at the communal table, but we scored one. We received our empanadas all wrapped up like a present. We enjoyed the Pascualina (ham and egg filling- almost like a quiche, the picachu (cheese and onions) , a carne picante and a chicken one.
The crust was tender and buttery, and the fillings good, but not great.
The energy of the place- filled with locals as well as tourists was fun though. The price is unbeatable!
Refueled, we set off to explore the city center. We hopped on a bus with our guide in order to maximize our time. Keeping in mind the city wide shut down coming at midnight, we were quick to realize that all across the historic center of the city there was a massive rally to inspire the workers who would be striking the next day. It seemed exceptionally well organized.
There were large union groups gathering along the boulevards, armed with signs, banners, flags, and most importantly huge grills set up on every block to fortify the marching. The smells of meats grilling on the streets was hard to resist! There was also blaring Argentine music to get everyone going. While there were masses of people, the crowds were all pretty calm and well behaved.
We managed to catch sight of the Obelisk, where the march seemed to be starting from, as well as the Church over which the current Pope Francis had presided over for many years.
It was a quiet refuge to escape in there for a few moments while the streets outside were a bit chaotic. We stopped outside the Pink Palace and saw the balcony where Eva and Juan Peron captivated the masses so many years ago.
As the crowds were growing, we decided it was time to seek some peace and quiet in a spectacular bookstore El Ateneo (yenny-elateneo.com).
El Ateneo is a book store chain that decided to convert a beautiful ornate theater from the early part of the 20th century into a spectacular place to browse and buy literature, music, even a coffee. The books spill out over several floors, and mezzanines. It is worth a visit to take a look and absorb the beauty.
Our time was growing short, so we needed to squeeze in a taste of Gelato. Our guide Jessica said the best in the city could be found at an artisanal spot called Rapanui (chocolatesrapanui.com.ar).
It is both a homemade chocolate shop as well as a gelato shop. It was a convenient last stop as it was right near our hotel.
The gelato was delectable. In a small cup I was happy to be able to sample three flavors, a scoop of lemon meringue, a scoop of gianduja (chocolate hazelnut), and a scoop of marquisé which was dark chocolate and marshmellowy meringue. My husband, who does not like ice cream couldn’t stop trying to steal mine. Thats how I know it was great!
We bid farewell to Jessica- she was a terrific guide; did a quick packing, and headed to the car that would take us to the airport. The traffic was heavier than normal due to the impending shutdown, so we were a bit nervous that we wouldn’t make it, but we did.
We checked in quickly and were happy to find there was a Centurion lounge in the airport. It was small, but quiet, and they had a nice selection of cheeses and bread to make some small sandwiches before we boarded.
You can find more details of our flight in my prior post. Safe to say we were glad we ate beforehand, and were tired enough from our whirlwind weekend that we went right to sleep, landing at 5:45 am into Newark I was very happy to step foot back on (North) American Soil.