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Don’t cry for me Argentina 🤷🏻‍♂️

Buenos Aires - Days 2, 3 + 4

It was a very wet Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Buenos Aires.  Strong winds, rain and cool temperatures was not what I expected when visiting Buenos Aires in the mid-December Spring.

Tree damage everywhere from the storms, it was sad to see the beautiful city so damaged.  Manhole covers in the streets were missing from the heavy rain, which had construction barriers placed around them which made the already slow city traffic extra slow.

It didn’t slow me down.

Saturday was my first visit to Cathedral Primada de Buenos Aires.  Central city location, just off Palaza de Mayo, where Casa Rosado and many Government building and museums are housed.

Silly me, it only occurred to me after entering the Cathedral and seeing all of the photos that it was the home cathedral of now Pope Francis.  A small, nondescript sign mentioned a Christmas Concert at 4:30p on Sunday.  I took a photo of the sign, and knew what my Sunday late afternoon plans were going to be.

While there on Saturday, I witnessed the changing of the guard for the two grenadiers who guard the tomb of General St Martin, who fought for independence of Peru, Chile and Argentina.  The ceremony takes place every two hours.

Capturing this photo was no easy feat, and the guards with no people in the background occurred for less than 2 seconds.  Glad I was shooting in Multi mode where the camera takes multiple shots with one touch of the camera trigger.  I rarely shoot in such mode, but glad I was today.

I then wandered around a shopping area for a few hours, sitting and having coffee and taking a break from the rain before walking back to my hotel before preparing to be picked up at 6:45p for the Rojo Tango Show

The dinner at Rojo Tango was excellent.  It included wine, or other beverages of your choice, an appetizer, main and dessert.  The Tango show itself was good, but unfortunately not outstanding.  Most of the dancers seemed to lack passion that I expected from Tango.  They seemed to be going through the motions and not really embracing what I expected Tango to be.  One couple was an exception and they put on a dazzling display of artistry and footwork, filled with passion and desire that made the high cost worth the entry price.  The cost was $290 USD, which is absolutely astronomical in Argentina.  I would pick a different option if visiting Buenos Aires…

Nonetheless, the photos turned out well, especially given the dark lighting and fast movements.

I made it to bed around 3a on Saturday night, after visiting some nearby bars and soaking in Buenos Aires nightlife.

Sunday, December 17th

I slept until 10a and went down and had breakfast at the hotel and then went back up to the room and worked for several hours.  Still raining and unmotivated to get soaked again, it seemed like the responsible thing to do.

By mid-afternoon, I sucked it up and jumped in an Uber to Theatre Colon, the cities masterpiece Performing Arts Theatre and bought a ticket for the guided tour.  Thankfully the English tour started in about 15 minutes after my arrival and there were still tickets available, as I had my 4:30p date back at the Cathedral to listen to the Christmas Concert.

The tour lasted about an hour and we learned about the architecture, the materials used, how the building and its shows became the status symbol of the city in the early 1900s.  We also toured the Golden Hall before finally getting to step inside, where it happened to be just hours before opening night of the Balet.

Our guide promised us that IF we took photos inside, we could absolutely not post them prior to Monday morning, as we were seeing the unseen set in its final tech rehearsal.

Sad for me, I was tired of lugging the camera around in the rain so I was left to using my cell phone for photos like the average tourist.  I don’t really have regrets about that decision, as lugging the camera everywhere is both heavy and cumbersome, so no regrets…just an explanation for the lack of detail in the photos.

Tour now complete at shortly after 4p, I had just 30 minutes to taxi over to the Cathedral.  I arrived around 4:20p, took a seat and enjoyed the performance.

I then taxied back over to Palermo, the trendy neighborhood about 20 minutes away and walked up to Don Julio, the city’s famous Michelin Star steakhouse.  I had tried to snag a reservation months ago, with requests placed for each night if my stay in BA and was unable to secure one.  I figured I had nothing to lose by showing up and begging the hostess for a table for one, anywhere in the restaurant.

When I arrived around 8p, I stood in a short line and the hostess confirmed that I could be seated at 9:45p!  Victory.

With some time to spare, I explored Palermo a bit and then looked up the best bars in the neighborhood, where the Backroom Bar was recommended.  Already starving, but not wanting to spoil my Michelin Star dinner, I had a small appetizer and cocktail, surrounded by books, floor to ceiling.  Memorable ✅

Around 9:30 I walked back to Don Julio and confirmed that I was present, when the host quickly came back over and seated me, street side at my table for one.

A welcoming glass of sparkling wine, an amuse-bouche of tomato, olive oil and salt and a plate of warm bread, I knew I was in for a treat.

The service was spectacular.

The steak was out of this world.  (The fries were an unexpected miss after eating at sister restaurant El Preferido, located just down the street from Don Julio on the same block where I raved about them).

Chimichurri had been a long standing love language, since a 2007 trip to Puerto Vallarta and my first introduction to the sauce at an Argentinian steakhouse in the Marina area of that city.

A second sauce, tasted for the first time here in Ba which I came to learn is called Salsa Criollo, was mouthwatering deliciousness.  The perfect accompaniment to the perfectly cooked medium rare steak of gargantuan size.

The true Michelin star of the night belongs to the Organic tomato side that I selected at the recommendation of my waiter.  First off, it was the absolute largest tomato I have ever seen.  Size aside, when you are stuffed and are forced to chose between your Michelin Star steak or a tomato, and you choose the tomato over and over again, you understand why the restaurant is regarded so highly.

Hats off to the chef that understands and allows a simple tomato, with olive oil, Oregano, a splash of vinegar to outshine their steak.

The tomatoes complexion was that of a perfectly ripe peach from the Palisade, Colorado orchards of home. Obviously not as sweet as a peach, but the same delicate firmness and burst of flavor that forces you to chose it over your steak.

The entire evening was special.  While it was special for me, it was even more so for the young couple sitting next to me, where not long after I sat down, before even receiving my wine, the guy got down on one knee and proposed to his now fiancee mere inches from my table.  It was a definite reminder of love, and kind of made me chuckle a bit that it again slapped me in the face so unexpectedly.  I mean, I wasn’t in the Seychelles after all.

The meal pared perfectly with my local Malbec, the only variety of wine I drank while in BA.  With the assistance of my waiter, I selected a fruit forward option compared to the more oaky Malbec.  The deep cherry and plumb notes really accentuated the meal perfectly and cut the vinegar of the chimmichurri and salsa criollo.

Stuffed, I Ubered back to the hotel where I fell asleep shortly after midnight.  Another two and a half hour meal complete, I slept like a baby.

Monday, Dec 18th

Sister-in-law Amy’s bday text was one of the first orders of business.  By 9a I was out on the streets, camera in tow, in the ongoing rain.  I had purchased a hop on/hop off bus ticket to go out and see the city sights.

Really the only destination I cared to see was La Boca/Caminito.  The barrio (non-negative meaning that just means neighborhood in BA).  Home to cities Soccer Stadium and colorful buildings, it had a much more authentic flavor than the upscale Recoleta, Puerto Modero or Palmero barrios that I had visited previously.

Kids playing in the streets, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops lined the neighborhood and was one of the highlights of my Buenos Aires stay.  Once again, I feel I better capture photos when I am personally inspired by the surroundings, and I think it shows.  I had fun chatting with some local kids that saw the lense and started asking questions.  Language barriers aside, I held up the camera and gestured like, hey, do you want your photo taken.  Once the group of girls agreed, the boy group also needed theirs taken.  I gave my travel cards to Benjamin and Clariita and we are now social media friends, where I sent their photos to them.