After our crazy New Year Eve, we all got up around noon. Finally a good night sleep, after a night packing and another one in the plane. It felt good. The three of us were rested and in a good mood.
We already knew everything would be closed on January 1st but we weren’t worried. Worst case scenario, we had drinks, soup and ramen noodles in the fridge at the hotel, and we didn’t really need anything else. It’s less stressful to travel with Mark now that he is a bit older and doesn’t need twenty-thousand bottles of milk a day. He can tell us what he wants or needs (which can be annoying at times… no, we are NOT going to McDonald’s!), so we communicate better.
Since the city was dead, we decided to explore it freely—it’s easy and relaxing without the traffic. We are staying by the super wide Avenida 9 de Julio and the obelisk, in the Microcentro. From there, we walked to the Plaza de Mayo, an historical plaza with a heavy political past—it’s basically ground zero for all kinds of protests. The plaza is heavily policed (are the pigeons dangerous dissidents?) and the “mothers of the disappeared” still march for justice every week. The Casa Rosada at the East of the Plaza is the “office” of “la Presidenta” Cristina Kirchner, and this is where Juan and Eva Perón preached to the crowd.
We followed Florida, a long pedestrian street usually packed with souvenir stands and buskers but very empty that day, and ended up in Plaza San Martín, a grassy park that offers a nice view on the Torre de los Ingleses. From there, we walked to the subway and explored Palermo, a middle-class district with a “bourgeois bohème” feel.
Buenos Aires didn’t change too much since our last visit in 2009, it’s still the same interesting mix of European cultures with a Latino twist. Most of the places we remember —restaurants, stores or hostels—are still here, like Milhouse Hostel where we stayed in 2001 and the many shops selling leather good along Florida. Prices went up quite a bit but it’s still affordable, and I’m happy to be in a place where it’s summer!