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Andy Tweddle follows the crowds to Buenos Aires, and discovers a city brimming with Latin swagger that proves to be a tough act to follow


ince 1580, Buenos Aires has been dealt its fair share of drama. Peròn’s Dirty War, the whole Falklands debacle and near eco- nomic collapse in 2001 have all added to

the city’s dramatic disposition. But all this happened in a period I like to call Buenos Aires, B.A; Before Andy. Fast forward to my arrival in 2010 and it seems the city has taken a dramatic turn for the better, cel- ebrating the theatrics that have made it famous. While there’s no doubt that Buenos Aires shocks, the place is brimming with electric energy and Latin swagger. The city’s epicentre lies at the intersection between Avenida de Mayo and Avenida 9 de Julio. One block east along Ave. de Mayo and you’ll find Casa Rosada, where Evita famously addressed the people of Buenos Aires back in the 40s. While you’re in the mood, grab a subway (or the 59 bus from Ave. 9 de Julio) up to Palermo where you’ll find Museo Evita (Lafinur, 2988). This is a pretty impressive spot for those looking for the lowdown on what all the fuss about Evita was, plus it houses some of her most infamous outfits. Palermo is a great spot to sample BA’s café scene whether it be for lunch or a post-siesta drink. Check out Oui Oui (Nicaragua, 6068) for coffee or Acabar (Honduras, 5733) for something a little stronger. Nearby neighbourhood Recoleta hosts Cementario de la Recoleta. Here you’ll find stunning gravestone after stunning gravestone – follow the

BUZZ 26 crowds for the notable graves. “At night, the

city shows you what it’s made of”

South of the centre lie the cobbled streets of San Telmo, the city’s bohemian hub. Markets to cater to your every shopaholic whim twinned with more street tango than you can shake a steak at make this lavish neighbourhood a must. Try and head down on a Sunday to catch the best atmosphere. A few blocks further south you’ll come across multi- coloured La Boca, home to the Boca Juniors Fútbol Stadium. If you’re lucky enough to be in Buenos Ai- res for a fútbol match, go. It’s advisable to book tick- ets through a travel agent in the city or ask at your hotel if they’ll book a ticket for you. La Boca, while beautiful, can be a dangerous spot. Tangol (Avenida Florida, 971, www. is a good place to get information on, and book tickets for, any fútbol match. At night the city really shows you what it’s made of and there are clubs, bars and live music venues for pretty much any party person. Pachá (Avenida Costanera Norte) hosts international DJs weekly and Maluco Beleza (Sarmiento, 1728) is salsa Mecca with perfor-

mances that have to be seen to be believed. A new period now looms upon the Argentine capital – Buenos Aires, A.D. (Andy’s Departed), but with me I have taken a little bit of each district. It’s no wonder that Buenos Aires has a reputation for being varied, vibrant... and just a little bit dramatic.

WHERE TO EAT You know you didn’t come to BA to eat salad, right? Good steak here is ubiqui- tous and blissfully affordable. Check out El Desnivel (Defensa, 855) in the southern San Telmo district – a good shout for a mouth- watering cut of meat. Try out the ‘stuffed steak’ filled with chorizo, cheese and bacon. It’s pretty awesome.

WHAT TO BUY You’ll be forgiven for thinking the locals are drinking some sort of ‘jazz’ drink by the weird cup-and-straw combo everyone seems to have permanently attached to their hand. While yerba mate consists of a heap of coca leaves, it’s completely legal – but highly addictive. Mixed with piping hot water and a fistful of sugar it is Argentina’s answer to builder’s tea. Everyone has their own yerba mate mug complete with straw. Hit El Mercado del San Telmo and take your pick.

IF YOU CAN ONLY DO ONE THING La Bomba del Tiempo is one massive per- cussion orgy. Every Monday 20 grown men clad head to toe in red take to the stage with their drums and other instruments and basically let rip. What ensues is a no- holds barred frenzy of music, drinking and celebration Buenos Aires style. The location changes from week to week so ask at your hotel where the party’s at.

Flights & Accomodation: Many international airlines fly to Buenos Aires, but your best bet is British Airways ( Flights with BA to BA start at £504 return London Heathrow to Buenos Aires.

Budgeters will most likely opt for the impressive hostel scene the city has to offer. Both Lime House (Lima, 77, and Milhouse (Hipólito Yrigoyen, 959, www. are central, clean and lots of fun. Bo Bo Hotel in Palermo (Guatemala, 4882, is sleek and minimalist, but be warned: rooms book up months in advance.

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