Tours and Activities:
Buenos Aires Has its Own BusMónica PonsEduardo Epifanio
We perceived the different rhythms of the downtown areas following their daily routine.
Upon reaching the City of Buenos Aires, we wished to make the most of our stay. As we were wondering where to begin, we discovered a very colorful bus with an open deck from which we would be able to spot the most emblematic sights in town on a tour with fixed stops and hop-on and hop-off system. We got on, put on the headphones and our camera started to work 360° as we zigzagged in the traffic surrounded by impressive buildings.
With the aid of the voice-over comments, we got to know some public buildings tightly related to historical facts that have left their imprint. Thus, the House of Government at Mayo Square and the National Congress with its magnificent Italian design stood before our eyes and our shutter.
We admired Corrientes, the avenue that never sleeps. With its theaters, cinemas and pizza restaurants, it is well-known for its old bookstores, where a fascinating atmosphere is breathed.
My Beloved Buenos Aires
In the distance, we spotted the silhouette of the Obelisk, an emblematic 67-meter-high monument emerging on the crossroad of Corrientes Avenue and 9 de Julio Avenue. Amidst the intense traffic, we started to learn about the local lifestyle.
We left the downtown area following famous 9 de Julio Avenue, the widest in the world, and watching its impressive advertising signs whose lights are on all night long.
The information provided through the loudspeaker was excellent, quite complete and illustrated by images on a screen. Every stop was announced in advance and the musical background was instrumental modern tango.
As a kind of game, we switched the headphones to the various languages available for foreign tourist. This certainly proved how much we remembered from our language lessons at school.
Silvia, the guide, said: “We are headed for the most ancient neighborhoods in the southern area. We will spot old churches of great architectural and cultural value and will learn about the origins of this fascinating city”.
As we went through the neighborhood of San Telmo, we heard that an interesting antique market is set up at Dorrego Square on Sundays. Tango shows in the open air delight visitors as dancers present their “firuletes” in the company of very young musicians.
Silvia mentioned some details about the history of tango, popular music originated in the suburban areas which attracted the most aristocratic youths in the 1920s. Farther ahead, we would see the Palais de Glace, a ballroom from those days.
As soon as La Boca was announced by the loudspeakers, a murmur among the passengers gave evidence of their interest to see the neighborhood. Its uneven streets keep vestiges from the first Genoese immigrants who arrived in the country.
It was them who contributed with the joyful touch and the music played in pizza restaurants and taverns with tables in the street and walls painted in a thousand colors. We spotted the famous football stadium called “La Bombonera” (The Chocolate Box) in the distance.
We reached Caminito, a pedestrian cobbled street. It concentrates the oldest conventillos featuring balconies with iron rails and plenty of flower pots, and tiny rooms where entire families used to live.
A Distant Ship Siren
Afterwards, Puerto Madero. Docks and cranes from the old port were still standing back in the 1990s, when the barracks were turned into business lofts and university buildings.
A traditional frigate makes contrast with the modern and elegant international cuisine restaurants. Several passengers got off the bus and joined the porteños who usually have lunch there.
Then, we headed for the northern area in the city. Libertador Avenue led us to the street labyrinths in Palermo Chico, where several embassies are housed by buildings of striking design and fantastic gardens.
From that spot onwards, the green lung of the city emerged before us. At the Palermo woods, lots of people of all ages were exercising outdoors.
We resolved to get off and watch its gardens and monuments, gifts from several communities. The Japanese Garden and the Spaniards’ Monument are evidence of that.
We stroll around every nook to relax and catch some photographic images. At the scheduled stop, we got on the bus again and went back to the downtown area. We went along Figueroa Alcorta Avenue up to the Recoleta Neighborhood.
The prestigious Colón Theater appeared right in front of us. Its Italian Renaissance building occupies and entire block and is well worth a visit.
As it was a weekday, we could appreciate the heavy traffic and the great deal of people moving up and down the city. The famous pigeons at Mayo Square and the classic cafés make up the image we kept from the center of this big metropolis.
The Nose against the Window
Café Tortoni stands out among the traditional restaurants and coffee-shops. It has been a special site for bohemians and intellectuals of Buenos Aires from the mid 1800s to our days.
During our first tour around Buenos Aires, we could compare the lifestyle of porteños at the same time in different corners of the city. That essence was also captured by our camera.
Later on, when we had more time to spare, we would visit what we had found most attractive.
Information: Tourist Information Center at the corner of Diagonal Norte and Florida Street or at each stop