We’re much closer to the South Pole here in Buenos Aires than we are to home in Florida, as you can see from this map (you can just make out Florida at the top):
Here in Buenos Aires, we’re staying right in the center of the city in the Retiro neighborhood, within walking distance of nearly everything.
In the picture I posted yesterday from our hotel room window, looking southeast, you might have noticed a body of water – that’s the edge of the port and ferry docks; in fact, you can just make out part of one of the ferry boats along the edge of the picture. Sometime over the next day or two, we’re going to see if there’s a day-ferry to Montevideo, Uruguay, which is right across the bay from us.
Anyway, looking northwest from the other side of the hotel (from where we’ll be having “desayuno” – breakfast), we can see the main train station. The park in front of the train station is the Plaza Fuerza Aérea Argentina and its Big Ben replica, Torre del los Ingleses, donated by the Anglo community in 1916.
After our nap, we started our first day in Argentina by walking through the Plaza Fuerza Aérea Argentina, then down the walking street, Calle Florida, toward the San Telmo neighborhood. Unfortunately for the merchants, Calle Florida is in the process of reconstruction to improve drainage, so there weren’t many folks out.
At the end of Calle Florida, we switched over to Calle Defensa which is known for its Sunday flea market. The street was packed with artists, craftsmen and vendors of every known tourist trinket.
We stopped at a street vendor and got a choripan for lunch. A choripan is a grilled sausage (“chorizo”) on a bun (“pan,” that is, bread). It was really good!
After walking about 2 1/2 miles, we came upon the Plaza Dorrego which is where the main flea market takes place. We decided to sit and people watch for a little while and ordered a local beer, Quilmes.
I was admiring the old building behind Dale when she took the picture, above.
We returned to the hotel via a different – and more direct – route. And just in time, too! About an hour after we got back to our room, a summer storm rolled in and dumped buckets on the city, flooding the streets and, to our amazement, the hotel! When we went downstairs to go out looking for somewhere to have dinner, the hotel staff was busy pushing water out the front door.
We decided to sit and have a drink in the hotel lounge. I tried a local favorite, Fernet and Coke, which tasted like cough syrup mixed with cola, not something I would recommend.
Unfortunately, the rain didn’t let up, so we ate at the hotel restaurant – never our first choice. But it allowed for an early night so that we’ll be rested for the next day.