Thursday, September 18, 2014

Feeling at Home in Buenos Aires


I decided to throw Buenos Aires onto my World Cup itinerary for a few reasons. Both proximity and cost factored in - who knows when I'd be this close again? Also, being able to escape World Cup price-gouging for a full week actually helped my budget. (The charges incurred by changing my itinerary from Porto Alegre to Salvador did not, but I digress...)

But what really sealed the deal was that even if I stuck to Brazil for 95% of my trip, in order to visit both sides of Iguazu Falls - one of my MUST-dos - I'd have to pay a $160 reciprocity fee. When I figured out I could tack on a stay in Buenos Aires for about $500, that $160 fee felt a whole lot less painful.

And so, I started to seriously look for lodging. I'd been optimistic about the low rates I'd found for hostels in the city... and then I checked Airbnb. There were some incredible steals - for a few dollars more than a hostel, I could have my own apartment!


I narrowed down the options by price and location, but in the end, it was the Tintin poster that sold me on Natalia's property. The apartment was just as cute in person as it was in the pictures and the building was great, with an old fashioned elevator and keys. It was located on Avenida Paraguay, across the street from Plaza Libertad.

Plaza Libertad even had a dog park.
I am posting this photo again for the keys, not the box of food. Hush.

I was able to walk to Avenida de Mayo, Recoleta, San Telmo, and Palermo (the last one was, admittedly, a bit of a hike). It ended up being the perfect base for exploring Buenos Aires. Natalia was a great host, providing a map (which I used so much, it disentegrated) and transit cards for me to fill. Being half a block from loads of bus lines and about four short blocks from the Tribunales stop on the Subte helped when I didn't feel like walking.


After three weeks of communal living, it was really nice to have an entire space to myself and do things that felt normal. Like buying food at the grocery store. When I was not eating out in cafes and restaurants, I was heating up soup or drinking fruit juice from a fridge that no one else had access to. I was able to buy shampoo and Cipro (glorious Cipro...) at a pharmacy down the street.

Even on the day I gave myself just to rest and recover, I managed to visit El Ateneo between games, and get coffee at a "To Go" place that then handed me my order in a porcelain mug. When I wanted to have a night in, I was able to buy wine at the Disco (a grocery store, appropriately) and pick up some pizza just down the street.


Seriously - Paris, D.C., or Buenos Aires?

I really liked Buenos Aires. I think part of its charm was that it just made sense to me - a capital city strongly based on Paris, much like Washington D.C. But I was also thrilled with my first Airbnb experience and would highly recommend Natalia's apartment to anyone looking for a place to stay in B.A.!

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