Posts tagged Latin

Palermo Rose Garden, Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Palermo—Why I chose it for my new home…

Gay travel to Buenos Aires is always full of pleasant surprises! One of the great joys in relocating to a different city is the time spent discovering one’s new neighborhood. My choice to live in the Palermo community of Buenos Aires was based on a number of different criteria. But probably the biggest reason was my close proximity to the wonderful parkland which skirts the region and extends to the banks of the River Plate. This is like being close to Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London, but with a distinctly European flair and variety of landscapes in a much larger green space than either of those parks can claim. One of the reasons this massive parkland exists in the heart of Buenos Aires is because it was an enormous private estate until the middle of the 1800s.

It has been said that Palermo has the feel of a park where some people happen to live—in the midst of this miles-long expanse of green open space the towering high-rise apartment buildings re-enforce that expression.

My home is just two blocks from the main entrance to the parkland area which begins with the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo Gardens. So naturally I try to spend as much time as possible enjoying an island of green space in the heart of this metropolis, usually commencing with an early morning walk. To fully enjoy this peaceful haven I need to own a bicycle, but for the time being I settle for long walks before the afternoon sun becomes too fierce.

Recently I decided it was time to explore the Rose Gardens about which I had heard many glowing reports from my new neighbors and friends. It was a sunny Sunday morning and I thought my early start would avoid the crowds. However, after a short ten minute walk to the garden’s entrance I discovered the roads were closed to allow joggers and cyclists to enjoy an energetic Sunday morning workout. Despite the night-owl culture of this city’s residents, the park was already humming with Portenos. But once inside the Rose Gardens there was a distinct air of tranquility as everyone took a moment to stop and smell the roses!

This park within the park was ablaze with the sights and scents of almost every variety and species of roses known to horticulturists and much more. The fountains, lakes, ornate bridges, pergolas, patios, gazebos, statues, and even the collection of International Rosas Nuevos, were neatly laid out and cultivated perfectly for a relaxing stroll through the manicured gardens. Even though the park proved to be very popular on a Sunday morning there was never a time when it felt crowded. Everyone was enjoying a leisurely stroll through one of mother nature’s wonderlands!

Each time I venture out to enjoy a different slice of the Palermo pie I am not disappointed by the choice of my new beginning.

 

HELPFUL TIPS FOR THE BUENOS AIRES NOVITIATE

Photos and Story By Roy Heale

On your first visit to Buenos Aires—also known as the Paris of South America—you are likely to be impressed by the character, style, and friendliness of this enormous gay mecca. Hopefully you were able to spend some time in Spanish language classes before you left home. If you didn’t, then be sure to carry a pocket dictionary as many portenos—as the locals are affectionately called—speak little or no English. However, they are welcoming and friendly to visitors, so with your dictionary, some sign language, and a smile on your face, communication becomes easier.

 This very large, populous city can be overwhelming at first and will likely dwarf your own hometown. The best way to begin your visit is with a guided tour of the city in order to orient yourself with the diverse neighborhoods. A personal gay tour guide—fluent in English—costing approximately US$100 for a full day tour will probably customize the route to include your own interests. For those on a lower budget the “Hop On-Hop Off” City Tour Bus provides an excellent three hour round-trip route of major attractions and communities for around US$8 and allows you to embark or disembark at twelve different locations.

 Once you are familiar with the city you will discover that the LGBT community resides in several different neighborhoods rather than one gay village. A little research will also reveal that the nightlife doesn’t begin until well after midnight but continues until dawn. Also, dinner is a late night affair which often begins after 10PM and in fact many restaurants don’t open for dinner until much later than you may be used to at home.

 Although credit cards are widely accepted throughout Buenos Aires there are always exceptions. For example some restaurants only accept them for payment of dinners and most do not allow you to add the tip onto the credit card bill. Always have ample cash with you to pay for your meal or leave a gratuity. However, this amount of money will be much less than you might expect for dining out in many other countries.

One of the most important handy pocket guides to LGBT Buenos Aires is the GMAPS360 local map and gay guide to all that this city has to offer. Copies are available at numerous locations around the city or online at www.gmaps360.com for research before you leave home.

 Enjoy the lower cost of living in Argentina and have a wonderful time in this gay-friendly city. Chances are you will be back for many happy returns like so many other gay travelers who have already discovered that Buenos Aires is the gay capital of Latin America.