It is such a nice day that I decide to do it all by foot instead of taking the “Yellow Bus” tour as suggested by the front desk clerk at my hotel.
Through a quaint neighborhood with a map in hand I make my way to Av Gra Las Heras. Lined with all kinds of shops and restaurants I make a few stops for some window shopping and to purchase water, cookies and fresh fruit.
At one intersection as I stop to orientate myself I am approached by a local gentlemen. We spend a few minutes talking as he helps me lay out a good walking tour of the city. Following his suggestions I make a left turn and head for Av Del Libertador.
Av Del Libertador is a main and popular street in the city and it is filled with many monuments that reflect the country's history. One of the first ones I come across is that of Argentina most famous lady, Evita.
A right turn and up a slight hill where next I am touring the cemetery were many of the city's former well known residents are now entombed. I am told some of the sites here are more expensive than Buenos Aires apartments.
Down Av. Alvear an area once occupied by the British I am passed by a “Yellow Bus” before I make a turn onto Av 9 De Julio the widest avenue in the world that honors Argentina's Independence Day.
Cambio, cambio, cambio …. Change, change, change echos from various spots along LaValle street one of the busiest area along my walk.
This is a shopping street and with the Argentina's pesos in such turmoil there is a striving business to get the best exchange rate for it with the green backs and I guess other foreign currencies. While the official exchange rate is about 8 pesos to the dollar, on the black market you can get almost double that. In one store I got 14 pesos to the dollar.
Unfortunately, it is closed to normal visitors during the week. However, Argentina's most famous cathedral is open every day to the general public. Catedral Metropolitana is the former home of Pope Francis, the reigning Pope of the Catholic Church.
From Catedral Metropolitana my ultimate destination in the city is within easy reach and I am excited as I once again check my map to see if I am on the right track. On the go I make another stop for a warm empanada, more cookies and another bottle of water.
Although the square is filled with patrons enjoying outside dining there are no street tango dancers that San Telmo is renowned for. Their presence here is mostly on the weekends when local fairs are held in the square.
Like I tried to do in 2004, my dreams of becoming a world famous tango dancer in one easy lesson is once again shattered. However, I still have about five years left on my Argentina visa. San Telmo, I will be back!
Somewhat retracing my steps I am back at Hotel Alpino around 5pm where a per-arranged taxi is waiting to take me to EZE airport for 350 pesos. Although my flight is not until 9:30pm, I soon see why the front desk clerk suggested that I leave the hotel before 5:30pm.
Buenos Aires afternoon traffic is about the worst I have seen in any major city. I barely arrive at the airport before the recommended two hour check in time. Nonetheless, I hope I get to do it all over again sometime in the next five years.