San Telmo is a special starting point. Its cobbled streets feel different on a bike. It is as if we were crossing a time tunnel.
Its ancient houses and its high ceilings contribute with that tango atmosphere that made the neighborhood so famous. We could not help stopping at Dorrego Square. Covered by cement and cobbles, it used to be the residence of one of our governors: Manuel Dorrego. Turned into a sort of giant yard, people gather there in order to enjoy themselves, have a drink or eat a snack in the open air. And this is the place where the market stalls are assembled every Sunday to sell everything from records to period costumes.
The next mandatory stop inside the neighborhood is Lezama Park. A huge park built in the venue once occupied by the aristocratic residence which once belonged to
Gregorio Lezama and his family. An enormous monument to
Pedro de Mendoza -the first founder of the city- welcomed us on one of the corners.
The circuit around the park took a few minutes and lead us to the vantage point, which made us face our next destination: the neighborhood of La Boca.
La Boca is yellow and blue from whatever perspective you look at it. We could not but feel amazement as we came across the giant Boca Juniors stadium called La Bombonera
, which welcomed us into the neighborhood with its façade covered with surprising murals dedicated by great Argentinian artists exclusively to the club loved by half the Argentinians plus one.Sí, Sí, Señores, Yo Soy de Boca…
It is now time to make reference to the famous conventillos
: traditional housing units in La Boca, still inhabitted by dozens of families. High ceilings, large corridors, huge windows and the colors the immigrants determined as part of the esthetics of the neighborhood.
The fact is that the colors of this neighborhood were chosen by Italian immigrants who dwelled the area in the early XX century. They chose to paint their houses with paint remaining from the shipments unloaded in the harbor. These vibrant colors include yellow, red and green and they have become the unmistakable mark of the neighborhood and an inspiration for painter Benito Quinquela Martín, a traditional artist from La Boca, who even had those colors painted on the walls of the buildings he donated to the neighborhood. Today, those buildings house a school and a museum named after him and the famous Teatro de la Ribera
, part of the General San Martín Municipal Theater Group.
We continue our tour around traditional, picturesque and tango-loving alley “Caminito”
, with its street artists and its colorful murals. To the rhythm of tango, always on our bikes, we slowly cycled away towards our next station.I Want to Ride My Bicycle
Our next stop was Costanera Sur
in the southern area of the city waterfront. More precisely, the small but historical pier where the municipal bathing resort used to work decades ago and which today includes the only ecological reserve in the City of Buenos Aires.
There, the bicycle paths allowed us to get immersed in the natural aspect the city used to bear before the arrival of the European conquerors. Birds of all colors and sizes escorted our tour with their singing while the famous Río de la Plata
leaned out through certain corners and enabled us to see how far and how close to neighboring Uruguay
The wetland represented today by the ecological reserve, which once in a while is deliberately burnt, provides the necessary dose of oxigen amidst the advance of the Puerto Madero towers, which become bigger and bigger everyday and which indicate, from a long distance, the entrance to the youngest neighborhood in the city.
The harbor, which had been abandoned for so many years, today is spelled with a capital letter. It was recycled with the same glamour
neighborhoods such as La Recoleta or coquettish Palermo used to have.
Thus, we toured around the cafés
, the towers, the shops, the offices and even the Puerto Madero Yacht Club, while our bicycle wheels turned around enjoying the old and new history of this part of town.
After almost two hours' cycling, we turned around and headed towards Mayo Square, where we cannot but mention the famous Cathedral, the Cabildo
, the Pink House and the Mayo Pyramid.
Buenos Aires by bike. A unique way to see this beautiful city both from a tourist and from a historical point of view. And of course, Buenos Aires is within reach of everyone who dares to cycle around.