Vivid Buenos Aires

There was no map displayed to identify the route from Guatemala, but I was sure my flight was following the Amazon River and its tributaries through much of the great South American continent. The thick ribbon of brown below cutting through dense green, visible through intermittent clouds, rippled like a flag fluttering in the breeze. Hours later the Rio de la Plata, or Silver River, opened to the Atlantic and the lights of Buenos Aires sparkled its welcome in late December of 2005.

BA taxi drivers were talkative, gesturing emphatically, while driving down the shoulder on the highway, or zipping off an exit and onto the entrance ramp to leapfrog a few cars. In a city where some major streets span 16 lanes, flanked by large beautiful parks, I’m sure there’s an art to driving. I was ripped off on my first taxi ride in Argentina. I didn’t negotiate a fare in advance because there was a meter in the taxi. After we were solidly on the highway, the driver explained he didn’t go to the neighborhood where my bed and breakfast was, so we would drive to the terminal downtown and he would hand me off to another driver. I didn’t have a choice at that point. I ended up being charged almost three times the fare for a direct route. Hours later, my hosts found a driver to bring me back to the airport to meet my son, on a redeye arriving from a different starting point in the States.

If you are looking for descriptions of museums and churches, stop here. Some travelers seek history or religious roots, some adventure, some beauty. Some, like myself, seek to learn about the culture and look for the humanity of its people, in a place where lives may be so different from ours. When investigating a city, I like to walk the streets to capture the ambience of a neighborhood, the feel of a way of life. The Palermo area, where we stayed, was characterized by attractive residential streets with trendy shops and galleries, sidewalk cafes and restaurants, street art, a constant art and crafts show in the little plaza in Palermo Soho, professional dog walkers with up to ten dogs at a time, and busy people who nevertheless seemed to remember to take their time and enjoy life. The diverse and fascinating barrios give Buenos Aires a charming and inviting atmosphere, in a country with a strong European, not just Spanish, influence.

Around town

Café reflection
Plaza de Mayo

After checking out the central plaza, Plaza de Mayo with the pink palace, and walking to Plaza del Congreso to see the obligatory government buildings, we headed to the funky quarter. Caminito, a spirited few blocks in La Boca barrio, is a tourist haven, but also seems to be a lively spot that residents still frequent. Vividly colored houses, some old ones with tin siding, have each window frame painted a different color. Bawdy and comical figures beckon you into stores and lean from balconies, grin from painted wall murals. Tango dancers and art exhibits inhabit the streets. A perfect place to sit in an outdoor café watching the world go by. Imagine a background of tango music as you stroll through this neighborhood.


More to come…
Argentina: Vivid Buenos Aires, Patagonia on horseback, Ushuaia: End of the World, Buenos Aires holiday (with Recoleta, San Telmo)

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

34 thoughts on “Vivid Buenos Aires

  1. I don’t remember the name of the neighbourhood we stayed in, but your pictures made me feel like I was back there with you. Boca is so colourful and full of life and you captured it perfectly. Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the “caveat” you added a few paragraphs into this post, Ruth. It’s what I enjoy most about your blog: you seek out the culture, people, and history; not so much what draws the typical tourist. We took this same approach in Ireland and couldn’t get enough of the remote villages and their residents. Interesting Palermo has the same name as the city in Sicily. The mannequins are great, like something you’d see in their downtown parades.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear that you were ripped off on your first taxi ride. I’m sure you didn’t make that mistake again! I enjoyed seeing the city through your camera lens. It looks so vibrant and full of life. I love all the murals and street art.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You really know how to capture the spirit of a place in words and pictures! Your photos of La Boca take me back to our too-brief visit and remind me that we really should return for a proper exploration one day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We only had a couple of hours! We spent a day in BA on our way to our Antarctic cruise, but the weather was so hot (over 40 Celsius) that we had to pace ourselves and saw very little of the city.


  5. I always wonder how one person can walk so many dogs at once (and they are not small either)? I just love the photo of the veggie shop – same colours packed together! You have so many beautiful photos here Ruth – colourful and vibrant … love them all!

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  6. The city gives off a very laid back and artsy vibe. Your photos are full of colours and life. I am sorry that you got ripped off by the taxi driver. It’s a story every traveller seems to have. I love the shots of fruit and veggie stores, and the one of the little girl hiding from the sun under the shop owning. I love visiting museums and churches as I like to delve deep into the history of a place. But I also love to amble down the streets and soak up the atmosphere in neighbourhoods and villages. Food is another thing that I enjoy enormously discovering on my travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are often in places for a much longer time, and have more time to dig deep. I sometimes choose a museum of interest, art-related or history. I step into some churches, but it’s never an emphasis. And yes, of course, food! Thanks for sharing your interests, Leighton.

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  7. It’s so colourful and full of life, I really love these photos of the people and streets of Buenos Aires. I hate taxi drivers, I have been ripped off so many times and always get so upset about it afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Hannah! I think we all have unhappy taxi stories. It goes with the travel experience. But I have had a few storytellers and almost tour guides as taxi drivers that helped to make the journey more interesting!


  8. I was just in Argentina this past November, and I spent about four nights in Buenos Aires. Given the Argentine capital is so large, it’s impossible to see everything in just four nights: of course, I saw the famous Recoleta, la Boca, and Florida Street, but I wish to return to spend longer in town and really explore all that this “Paris of South America” has to offer. Can’t wait for your other posts on Argentina!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My husband has really enjoyed trips to Buenos Aires despite being thoroughly scammed and having his wallet/ID stolen. It was so complicated to sort everything out from a distance and it put me off. Your scenes are very vivid and colorful. That dogwalker has his hands full!

    Liked by 1 person

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