Continuing to catch you up on some of the fun things I’ve been upto between blog posts!
Last October I got the chance to visit Argentina – it was such a phenomenal trip for so many reasons! I managed to tick off Buenos Aires, Iguazu National Park and Falls as well as the gorgeous wine region of Mendoza. Just re-looking through my photos brings back so many wonderful memories and experiences that I’d love to share with you!
The reason for planning the trip in the first place was that my old friend E was going to be getting married in Buenos Aires. E and I had worked together in London many years ago, before she jetted off for adventures in Australia and then in Buenos Aires. She had been settled there for a few years and I hadn’t had the chance to visit so when her wedding invitation arrived in the mail, I obviously cleared my schedule!
It was the perfect excuse to see a bit of Argentina, so I decided to take around two weeks and do some travelling across this absolutely huge and diverse part of the world. When I mentioned my trip to my friends A and M (already a couple of my firm travel besties!) they asked if they could come along for the ride and it was a complete no brainer to say YES!
Fast forward through a few months of anticipatory travel planning, accommodation booking and all around holiday excitement – and suddenly it was time to jump on my flight from JFK to Buenos Aires, via Sao Paulo!
Despite the long flights, I was on a complete high when I landed in Buenos Aires. I was looking forward to being on vacation (work had been a little chaotic, so I really needed this break), exploring Argentina and of course, E’s wedding but it had also been months since I had last seen A and M so I was desperate for some quality catching up time! Which was going to be easy to fit in since we decided to room together! A is an awesome travel planner and had found the perfect Airbnb for the first part of our stay – a gorgeous, airy and light filled duplex with a rooftop terrace in Palermo. We spent our first afternoon raucously catching up over bottles of wine on the terrace and I was so happy that E popped over, despite being knee deep in wedding prep and was able to join in on the fun.
Needing some fuel post drinking session, we decided to try La Cabrera, an Argentine ‘parilla’ or barbeque which had come highly recommended. Now I don’t know if it was because this was our first, highly anticipated meal in Argentina, but this ranks as my favourite steak we had in Buenos Aires (not overall in Argentina, but I’ll be back to that later)! We sat out on the pavement, on a balmy evening and absolutely devoured the juicy, tender but chargrilled steak, washed down with more fantastic Malbec. Delicious!
And let me tell you, this group has a high benchmark when it comes to steak and red wine! In London, we’ve tried just about every steakhouse on offer and as a result have very particular steak palettes, lol! In case you’re wondering, our favourite London steakhouse overwhelmingly has to be Goodman’s.
We had a few days in Buenos Aires and spent them wandering the streets of Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood – a colourful, edgy, trendy district filled with restaurants, cute independent coffee shops, chic cocktails bars, interesting street art and eclectic fashion boutiques. E and her fiancé G, had put together a gorgeous wedding website with lots of helpful information about what to do and see in Buenos Aires, so between their suggestions and our knack for travel planning, A, M and I managed to cram in a lot during our stay!
Think leisurely breakfasts sat outside on the sidewalk, strolls taking in all that Buenos Aires has to offer, shopping, sightseeing, lots of history and culture – and then decadent dinners featuring a lot of steak and red wine! A great city break in my opinion – and made all the better experiencing it with close friends I don’t get to see very often.
One of my favourite days in Buenos Aires was our visit to Recoleta – a very pretty neighbourhood which felt a little more refined than Palermo and was full of luxury shopping, five star hotels, leafy avenues and Parisian style townhouses – tres chic!
After stopping for a now habitual al fresco breakfast at a charming little café, we made our way to Recoleta Cemetery. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been drawn to cemeteries…. which I guess sounds a little strange! I love the peacefulness of them (so often, especially in London, they are some of the only spots you can still find stillness and quiet amidst the bustle of city life), the old, often misshapen headstones and just knowing they contain so much history and so many personal stories. I usually find myself wondering who this person might have been and what their life was like.
Recoleta Cemetery did not disappoint. It was huge and packed to the brim with fascinating tombs and tombstones. Having been used to cemeteries in the UK which have much more modest and uniform gravestones, it was breathtaking to see these absolutely huge, elaborately designed shrines. ‘Gravestone’ fails to capture waht we witnessed. The architecture on some of these tombs was frankly amazing and I can only wonder at how much money had been spent designing and maintaining them. We spent far longer than we had intended walking through the maze of tombs, in complete awe at some these….
It was so interesting to see the disparate states of some of the tombs. Despite their obvious age, some were obviously still meticulously well cared for today and we saw many of them, which were hundreds of years old, with fresh flowers lovingly placed inside or on top of them. Sadly, others, lay in a complete state of disrepair strewn with broken glass and debris.
Eventually we happened across, perhaps one of the most famous and most visited tomb in Recoleta Cemetery, that of Eva Peron.
After a fascinating but fairly intense afternoon, we decided to lighten things up with some drinks and found ourselves at Alvear Rooftop Bar atop of the iconic Alvear Palace Hotel. The hotel itself is stunning, so if you have time, definitely stroll through it’s common areas before heading upto the gorgeous roof!
I’d definitely recommend heading to this rooftop if you’re planning a trip to Buenos Aires, especially around sunset – it is a beautiful space and the views over the city are fabulous. Though be warned, it can get very windy up there! The bar helpfully provided comfy blankets to wrap up in as the sun dipped but unfortunately they couldn’t help with the hair situation…..!
And so ended the first portion of our Argentine trip!
Buenos Aires was lovely – I really enjoyed exploring the different neighbourhoods, each having their own individual feel (quite similar to the distinctly different Manhattan neighbourhoods). Being in Buenos Aires didn’t feel exotic, I’d even go so far to say it felt comfortingly familiar for some reason. We eventually realized this was probably because it felt so European – lots of cafés, music and culture. So whilst it was indeed lovely, despite us being in the middle of South America, it felt oddly similar to many European cities we had been to. You will definitely not be disappointed if you visit Buenos Aires, it has something for everyone and there is so much life here!
But – what REALLY made our trip was the extra travelling we decided to bolt on after Buenos Aires!
Up next, stay tuned for our travels to the amazing Iguazu National Park and then on to Mendoza – wine lovers get ready!
Have you traveled to Argentina? Or is it on your travel bucket list for the future?!