Posts tagged Buenos Aires

Gaucho Traditions Preserved in San Antonio de Areco

Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Puenta Viejo---Old Bridge

Puenta Viejo—Old Bridge

By Roy Heale

Quite often visitors to Buenos Aires are looking for interesting escapes into the local countryside yet close to the city. Those seeking a real gaucho experience and a sample of local history often choose the quaint town of San Antonio de Areco founded in 1730 on the banks of the Areco River. Located about 110 km northwest of the city, the town dates back to the early 18th century and many of the original buildings are well preserved and function today as cafes, restaurants, and boutiques.

Iglesia Parroquial

Iglesia Parroquial

Residents of Buenos Aires often visit for the peaceful atmosphere and picturesque colonial streets. The traditions of the gaucho and criollo (people of pure Spanish descent born in the New World), are well preserved, especially among its artisans, who produce fine silverwork and saddlery. Gauchos from all over the pampas show up for November’s Día de la Tradición, where you can catch them in their traditional cowboy outfits astride their horses, strutting the cobbled streets.

Historic Buildings

Historic Buildings

The city is the home of the Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Güiraldes and has been declared a city of historic national interest by the Argentine Government.

San Antonio de Areco’s compact town center and quiet streets are very pedestrian friendly. Around the Plaza Ruiz de Arellano, named in honor of the town’s founding estanciero (ranch owner), are several historic buildings, including the Iglesia Parroquial (parish church) opened in 1780.

Parilla Delights

Parilla Delights

There is an abundance of great dining options with prices much more reasonable than those in the City of Buenos Aires. The local specialty is, of course, meats cooked on the parilla with fresh vegetables and salads.

Local Produce

Local Produce

If you prefer a longer visit than a one day excursion, there are a few small hotels around the town offering Bed&Breakfast plus the Hotel & Spa San Carlos on the riverbank park.

Like many other small towns in this part of Argentina, Areco shuts down during the afternoon siesta.

Hotel & Spa San Carlos

Hotel & Spa San Carlos

Regular bus service runs fro Retiro Omnibus Terminal and the journey is just under two hours depending on traffic.

 

Take a step back in time, relax and enjoy some Gaucho history in the pampas of Buenos Aires province.

 

 

Stunning Video of Buenos Aires

video shot of Baires Watch this video and see some great aerial shots of the city parks and buildings. Then come and visit and see for yourself!

http://www.bubblear.com/video-stunning-aerial-shots-buenos-aires

A New Shopping Addition To Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires

Distrito Arcos—The Arches District

Paraguay Main entrance to Distrito Arcos

Paraguay Main entrance to Distrito Arcos

 

By Roy Heale

 

The first day of summer in Buenos Aires heralded the opening of the new Distrito Arcos outdoor shopping district. After just over one year of protracted court proceedings regarding the environmental impact of the new shops and parking the new mall has finally opened.

Bounded by Juan B Justo, Santa Fe Avenida, Godoy Cruz, and Paraguay streets, it is close to the new Science Center and the Metrobus or Palermo Subway stations. The developers have recovered the old railway viaduct arches of the San Martin train line for boutique shops and created new retail shops and lush green spaces.

 

Green Spaces

Green Spaces

The shops open inwards onto roofed spaces and the common areas are almost all outdoors. The building’s main feature is the brick construction of the railway viaduct that defines both the inner walls and the façade. Outside, the focus is placed mainly on the green spaces. The commercial promenade is landscaped with green areas that provide the design’s motif. Street benches and other urban features are strategically placed all along, together with terraces, benches, and also a special area for holding events. The building is ornamented with a series of canopies along the arches that convey a rhythmic perspective to the overall construction design.

 

Unique Design

Unique Design

Distrito Aros is an urban commercial concept with original and unique features that set it apart from traditional shopping centers. Imbued by the premium outlet spirit, it offers a unique shopping experience in the city, combining the best brands with an outlet concept, an interesting range of products, gastronomic options, and the best prices in a unique environment.

 

Boutiques In The Arches

Boutiques In The Arches

There are sixty-five local shops, twenty kiosk market stalls, 450 underground parking spaces, a room for artistic activities, and space for art exhibitions. Green areas were planted with over 200 trees and lush tropical plants. It will function as a clothing outlet with known premium brands, more dining options, a fitness center, and other services. It is estimated that would create about 1,200 full time jobs.

 

Incorporating New Architecture

Incorporating New Architecture

Familiar names like Starbucks, Adidas, and Levis are present along with local brand name chain stores like Wanama, Rapsodia Vintage, and of course the popular Argentine Freddo ice cream chain. The complex exudes a relaxing, tranquil shopping atmosphere and is sure to prove popular with tourists and locals alike.

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Main Entrance: Paraguay 4979

For More Information:

www.facebook.com/distritoarcos

www.distritoarcos.com

Local Markets at Ing Maschwitz, Buenos Aires

 

Mercado Maschwitz

Mercado Maschwitz

 

By Roy Heale

The small town of Ing Maschwitz in the province of Buenos Aires was named after Carlos Maschwitz
who was born in Buenos Aires on May 7, 1862, son of Mr. Georg Eduard Maschwitz, first manager of the Bank of London.

Emilio Mitre Square

Emilio Mitre Square

Today this small historic village is home to the Mercado Mendoza and the Mercado Maschwitz offering a selection of local restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and local handicrafts. Using recycled materials, the unique construction of these markets is slightly reminiscent of La Boca in the city of Buenos Aires but less commercial and more authentic Argentine. There is a new market under construction scheduled to open in December 2014 and using large steel shipping containers for the main building materials.

Zeppelin Restaurant Garden

Zeppelin Restaurant Garden

This is a popular place with local residents for weekend brunches and shopping expeditions. Just a one hour bus ride from the city of Buenos Aires, it is also a well known escape from the city to enjoy the relaxed rural pace of life.

Mercado Maschwitz

Mercado Maschwitz

In the Emilio Mitre Square, which is also the central park for the townsite, ther is an old London phone booth which has been converted into a unique public library.

London Phone Booth Library

London Phone Booth Library

This charming village is a relaxing place to spend a day away from the traditional tourist attractions and experience the real rural Argentine customs and lifestyle.

New Market Under Construction

New Market Under Construction

Getting There: Take the Escobar express bus from Plaza Italia in the city and ask the driver to announce Maschwitz. Upon arrival at the town it is a short walk to the village or the markets located on Mendoza Street.

Mercado Mendoza

Mercado Mendoza

Explore the Charming Colegiales Barrio, Buenos Aires

Charming Colegiales Architecture

Charming Colegiales Architecture

By Roy Heale

The Colegiales Barrio of Buenos Aires offers a laidback alternative to its noisier neighbors Palermo and Belgrano. Covering just over two square kilometers, it is one of the city’s smaller barrios and a largely residential one. Known for its large, open green spaces and treed residential streets, Colegiales is squeezed between Belgrano, Chacarita, and Palermo. Although it is off the tourists’ beaten track there are some interesting points of local history to discover.

Historically Colegiales was paired with Chacarita—the barrio situated immediately south—and the two were originally known as Chacarita de los Colegiales. In its beginnings this community was made up of small Jesuit-owned estates that were utilized as student retreats. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled and the Spanish took control of the land. After the turn of the century and the commencement of Bernandino Rivadavia’s government in 1826, large numbers of European immigrant workers settled in the area and forced it to be divided into the two separate barrios of Chacarita and Colegiales.

Street Art

Street Art

Today, Colegiales maintains a strong residential feel that is characterized by its sleepy cobblestone streets lined with overhanging trees. With its close proximity to Palermo, the neighborhood is experiencing increased numbers of bars and restaurants.

One major tourist attraction of Colegiales is the Mercado de Pulgas—Flea Market. Founded in 1988 and situated at the intersection of Avenida Dorrego and Alvarez Thomas, this indoor market presents an eclectic collection of furniture, art work, antiques and other curiosities. If you are planning to stay long term in Buenos Aires you might just find a bargain for your new apartment here.

Mercado de Pulgas---Flea Market

Mercado de Pulgas—Flea Market

When in Colegiales you can retrace the footsteps of some of Argentina’s most famous sons. The comic strip Mafalda—-written by humorist Quino (Joaquin Salvador Lavado)—was based on the barrio and Plaza Mafalda is dedicated to the creator and his artwork. Other famous names of the barrio include journalist Ulises Petit de Murat and inventor Ladislao Jose Biro. The latter invented the ballpoint pen and Fundacion Biro (Cramer 450) is dedicated to helping and promoting young Argentine inventors.

On a sunny day, take time to relax in one of the many plazas or take a stroll along Pasaje General Paz, (a narrow pedestrian promenade) which attracts visitors to see its mature trees, bridgepaths, streams and ornate, balconied Andalusian-style patios. Avenida Elcano is a wide leafy boulevard that connects the barrio with Belgrano and Chacarita. Situated on the latter you’ll also find Elcano Grill, a classic neighborhood parrilla, and The Oldest, a pleasant British-styled pub.

Pasaje General Paz

Pasaje General Paz

When venturing deep into the back streets of Colegiales you will be treated to a wonderful mix of classic porteño cafés, closed-door restaurants and live music venues.

Mix with a stylish hipster crowd at Pipi Cucu (Ciudad de la Paz 557), a quirky French bistro-restaurant. Mismatched plates, glasses and cutlery add to the aloof charm of the place whilst the bartenders are known for mixing delights such as red fruit martinis.

 

Pipi Cucu  French Bistro

Pipi Cucu French Bistro

Recently, upscale lofts were developed in what years ago were the massive Buenos Aires flour mills (known also as Silos Minetti), at 1916 Dorrego Street. Elegant and trendy, they were built into the silos themselves and have become popular with local yuppies.

Silos Minetti

Silos Minetti

 

Colegiales also has a rich religious heritage including The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery (450 Amenábar St.)which has been the centuries-old home to the Order of Barefoot Carmelites.

The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery

The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery

A Grand Country Mansion

San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

By Roy Heale

 

Victoria Ocampo Mansion

Victoria Ocampo Mansion

Argentine writer and intellectual Victoria Ocampo, CBE  was described by fellow renowned Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges as La Mujer Más Argentina—The quintessential Argentine woman. She was well known as an advocate for others and as publisher of the legendary literary magazine Sur. In her long professional career  as a writer and critic in her own right she became one of the most prominent South American women of her time. Her long life—April 7, 1890 to January 27, 1979—was filled with awards and distinctions and she is interred  in the well known Recoleta cemetery.

Although she owned several homes in Buenos Aires, San Isidro, and Mar del Plata, perhaps her favorite was her summer home, a country mansion in San Isidro, which is now just a 15 minute drive or a short train ride from the heart of Buenos Aires.

DSC_6223 (1024x687)

 

Originally this was her summer home and today it is a UNESCO museum. The tranquil grounds are beautifully kept and the main floor of the mansion is open to the public where you can enjoy the period décor. There is a small indoor/outdoor restaurant offering interesting menu items at affordable prices. A nominal admission charge of ARS$30 for adults helps with the upkeep. It is a short walk from the Beccar train station or from the San Isidro village center. This is where Victoria Ocampo hosted the likes of author Graham Greene and politicians like Indira Gandhi. The restoration of this historic mansion allows visitors to step back in time and visit the library of her works.

 

The Gazebo

The Gazebo

The splendid gardens were created by Victoria herself. One of the lesser known facets of Victoria Ocampo was her love of plants, gardens and nature. She inherited this passion from her mother and learned the names of plants and gardening tasks at an early age. Victoria also introduced these contemporary style gardens in her Mar del Plata and Palermo Chico homes. She visited the major gardens of the world, wrote several gardening books, some of which can be found in the on-site library.

 

Outdoor Cafe

Outdoor Cafe

The Villa Ocampo UNESCO project was launched in 2003 in collaboration with the Argentine government, the Municipality of San Isidro, the Association of Friends of Villa Ocampo, plus many donors and sponsors. Under the direction of UNESCO the house, garden, furnishings, art and photography collections plus 11,000 books in the library were restored. The site was opened to visitors and aimed at a diverse audience offering a broad and comprehensive cultural program.

Restored Furnishings

Restored Furnishings

Open:

Wednesday to Sunday and holidays from 12:30 PM to 7:00PM

Guided Tours:

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 15:00hs and 16.30hs.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: From 14:00hs, every hour approx.

 

Music Room

Music Room

For More Information Visit: www.villaocampo.org

The Garden of the City—Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires

Tree-Lined Streets

Tree-Lined Streets

By Roy Heale
A short train ride from the heart of downtown Buenos Aires is the upscale neighbourhood of Villa Devoto which is also known as ‘El Jardin de la Ciudad’—-The Garden of the City—due to its tree-lined streets. In fact, Villa Devoto famously boasts more trees than any other barrio of Buenos Aires. It derives its name from Count Antonio Devoto, a member of the Buenos Aires elite society from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Devoto, an Italian immigrant and philanthropist, owned the majority of the land that today makes up the barrio, which he acquired in 1888 when sections of the town of San Martin were incorporated into Buenos Aires Capital Federal.

In 1910, Count Antonio Devoto commissioned the building of Palacio Devoto, one of biggest mansions in Buenos Aires spread over more than 10,000 square meters. An icon of the barrio, the palace was designed by Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo and adorned with Florentine mosaics and gold, silver, and bronze trimmings. Unfortunately, Devoto died in 1916 before Buschiazzo had finished his work and completed the construction.

Today, Villa Devoto is famed for being the home of football icon Diego Maradona’s family members and the childhood neighborhood of tennis star Gabriela Sabatini.

Plaza Arenales

Plaza Arenales

At the heart and center of Villa Devoto is Plaza Arenales, a large public square and park occupying the equivalent of four blocks. Here you will find a vast array of pine, walnut, eucalyptus, and magnolia trees, and history proclaims that at the turn of the 20th century the plaza was a popular meeting place of the Italian mafia. The plaza is named after General Juan Antonio Alvarez de Arenales, to whom a commemorative monument was built in 1958. There is also a statue of Antonio Devoto. Today, the plaza is a favorite evening and weekend hang out spot of Villa Devoto residents. Walking one block north along Nueva York street from Plaza Arenales you will discover the imposing Palacio Devoto.

Many other historic and grand mansions known as palacios can also be found in this barrio as you wander around the tree-lined streets. Of particular historic interest is the ornate, decorative style of Palacio Ceci built cerca 1895 and located on Lincoln between Gualeguaychú and Havana.

Palacio Ceci

Palacio Ceci

Visit the Café de Garcia (Sanabria 3302) which opened in 1900 and is like a journey back in time as little has changed since its early beginnings. With walls adorned with football and tango memorabilia, it is as porteño as a café can get.

The Café da la Plaza (Lincoln and Nueva York) offers a superb bistro-styled menu mixing Argentine, Armenian, and European ingredients. Overlooking the Plaza Arenales, it has become a Devoto institution for coffee, lunch, or dinner since opening in 1988.

The Café da la Plaza

The Café da la Plaza

A final delight can be found at the Vagon Devoto Bar and Restaurant beside the train station. Enjoy this unique dining experience on board an old historic British 1906 train wagon from the original Kassel Express. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is charming in this antique dining car. Choose from appetizers including bruschettas, pate de maison, or smoked salmon with cream cheese. Then enjoy traditional Argentina parilla cooked meats of beef, pork or lamb. For lighter appetites there is a selection of fresh salads, pastas, or fish dishes. The desert selection is varied and includes a wonderful cheesecake with red berries sauce.

Vagon Devoto Dining Car

Vagon Devoto Dining Car

Discover the proud inhabitants and a classic Buenos Aires lifestyle in Villa Devoto which is served by both the FC Urquiza and FC San Martin train lines with frequent service to the city center. A few hours spent in the Garden of the City Villa Devoto barrio will make for a unique Argentine experience undiscovered by most tourists but a genuine local education to be enjoyed.

Historic Palacios

Historic Palacios

From Hetero-Friendly to Gay-Friendly, Axel Hotel Buenos Aires Changes Hands

Buenos Aires, Argentina

BeHotel Entrance

BeHotel Entrance

By Roy Heale

In a surprise move during the first week of October the Spanish Axel Hotel Group announced the sale of their Buenos Aires property to a group of Argentine investors and henceforth it will be known as the BeHotel. The former owners did not give any reasons for this unexpected move but local travel industry speculators blamed the decrease in LGBT visitors to Argentina during recent years and the national Government’s foreign exchange controls. However, the new owners and management assured that LGBT visitors will still be welcomed with a gay-friendly reception at the new BeHotel. No major changes or renovations are planned for the facilities but the food and beverage plus customer services will be upgraded for a more enjoyable stay.

Indoor Spa

Indoor Spa

The Catalan Group, based in Barcelona, commissioned the design and construction of the hotel and it opened as the Axel Hotel in 2007 developing into a major institution of the Buenos Aires LGBT community. BeHotel Buenos Aires is the first establishment of the Argentine investment group, which plans to expand in 2014 with another location in the City of Buenos Aires and other main tourist destinations like Iguazu, Bariloche, or Mendoza.

Designer Rooms & Suites

Designer Rooms & Suites

Uniquely designed with the guest rooms located around a large central atrium and a spa on the top floor, the spacious designer suites and rooms with the creative use of glass and mirrors have proved extremely popular. The large heated swimming pool at the rear of the building offers plenty of sundecks on multi-levels for summer outdoor enjoyment. Whilst the top floor spa includes fitness equipment, two jacuzzis, sauna, and a swimming pool with a translucent floor.

Outdoor Pool & Sun Decks

Outdoor Pool & Sun Decks

HOTEL FACILITIES: Outdoors: Terrace, Outdoor pool (seasonal) Activities: Sauna, Fitness centre, Solarium, Spa and wellness centre, Hot tub, Turkish/steam bath, Indoor pool (all year) Food & Beverages: Restaurant, Bar Internet: WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge. Parking: No parking available. Other parking garages are close by. Services: 24-hour front desk, Luggage storage, Room service, Meeting/banquet facilities, Business centre, Laundry, Dry cleaning, Ironing service, Tour desk, Shuttle service (surcharge) General: Non-smoking rooms, Facilities for disabled guests, Lift/elevator, Safety deposit box, Heating, Design hotel, Air conditioning Languages Spoken: Portuguese, Spanish, English, German, Italian, Hebrew, French

Hotel Lobby

Hotel Lobby

The hotel’s location in the heart of San Telmo, close to the subway (Subte) and buses (colectivos), is perfect for exploring all of the Buenos Aires tourist attractions. Nearby are the numerous cafes, bars,and restaurants of historic San Telmo and of course Tango shows. The world renowned San Telmo market occurs every Sunday, all year long, and the BeHotel is just a five minute walk to all of the merchants and antique vendors.

Bar

Bar

So whether straight or gay, visitors will enjoy any stay for leisure or business at the new BeHotel in the heart of all the excitement for which Buenos Aires is famous.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: www.behotel.com.ar

Argentina’s National Flower Festival Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Floral City Park

Floral City Park

By Roy Heale

Anyone who has wandered the streets of Buenos Aires would probably have noticed the countless flower vendors offering their remarkably fresh blooms at very low prices. This phenomenon is due to the fact that Escobar—the so called Flower Capital of Argentina—is just under a one hour drive from the heart of Buenos Aires facilitating reasonable prices and fresh supply.

Floral Displays

Floral Displays

Celebrating spring each year Escobar hosts the National Flower Festival and this year marks the 50th Anniversary of this fiesta. Starting at the end of September and for the first two weeks of October visitors to the park known as Floral City can enjoy floral displays, lush grounds, and of course Argentine specialty foods including fresh fruits and a variety of meats cooked on a large outdoor Parilla—-BBQ.

Fresh Fruit Sundaes

Fresh Fruit Sundaes

Outdoor Parilla

Outdoor Parilla

The last Saturday includes a parade of floral floats in the evening with the reigning Queen of the National Flower Festival presiding over the celebrations.

Visitors travel from all over Argentina to celebrate spring and you might even see gauchos—cowboys—from the Pampas in traditional costumes. Entertainment stages offer local folklore dancers in costume and regional musicians playing Spanish favorite tunes.

Gauchos From The Pampas

Gauchos From The Pampas

There is a nominal admission charge to help offset the Festival costs but an afternoon strolling around the park and enjoying magnificent spring flowers, trees, and shrubs is priceless!

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The town of Escobar is easily reached from Buenos Aires by local buses and the journey takes just less than one hour. From the heart of Escobar a short inexpensive taxi ride will take visitors to the park.

So if you happen to visit the city of Buenos Aires at the launch of Spring, then be sure to take some time to stop and smell the roses!

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For More Information Visit: www.fiestadelaflor.org.ar

Parks and Plazas Abound in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Plaza San Martin

Plaza San Martin

By Roy Heale

Splendid parks and plazas abound in Buenos Aires enabling both locals and tourists to enjoy relaxing green spaces in the heart of this mecca. Varying in size and scope, these urban retreats all offer a unique perspective on the history of Buenos Aires and often feature statues and memorials to prominent Argentine political or military leaders.

Large Mature Trees

Large Mature Trees

One of my personal favorites is the Plaza San Martin located in the Retiro neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Situated at the northern end of pedestrian Florida Street, the park is bounded by Libertador Ave. (N), Maipú St. (W), Santa Fe Avenue (S), and Leandro Alem Av. (E). With a history dating back to the 18th century, today the park is encircled by many historic moments in Argentina’s history.

Great Ombú Tree

Great Ombú Tree

Some of the Plaza’s past includes the 33-story Art Deco Kavanagh Building which was completed in 1936, Plaza San Martín’s great Ombú tree, the monument to José de San Martín—the plaza’s namesake—and the monument for the fallen in the Falklands War. Three architecturally significant mansions facing the plaza surviving today include the Beaux Arts San Martín Palace (today the ceremonial annex of the Foreign Ministry), the Second Empire Paz Palace (today the Military Officers’ Association) and the Neogothic Haedo palace (today the Secretariat of Environmental Policy).The plaza in 1909 was the site for the inaugural of both the first premier hotel in Argentina (the Plaza) and of the new National Museum of Fine Arts (the latter was later moved to Recoleta).

Second Empire Paz Palace

Second Empire Paz Palace

The large, aged trees provide excellent shade on a Buenos Aires hot sunny day, and the pathways and park benches offer a wide variety of perspectives to enjoy year round.

Ritz Hotel Entrance

Ritz Hotel Entrance

On the southwest corner of the Plaza, the Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro is conveniently located to enjoy the sidewalk cafe tables plus the huge windows provide a perfect view for relaxing and indoor dining, or simply meeting friends for drinks. Close to the downtown business district, many historic sights, and the bustle of the Florida Street pedestrian mall, it is also the perfect respite for a break from strenuous activities affording time to stop and smell the roses in an otherwise frenetic day.

 

Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro

Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro

 

So find a good book or your favorite magazine and head to Plaza San Martin for a relaxing time in the hub of Buenos Aires and perhaps go shopping afterwards on the renowned Florida Street pedestrian mall.