March 12 and 13, in Buenos Aires
Karen & Hayes at the End of the World
We also meandered down Calle Defensa into the San Telmo area (the old town), which on the surface seems worn and dirty, and gives you the feeling you’d best not be there after dark. However, we found that restaurants there, which are clearly the ones the locals go to rather than primarily existing for tourists, are half the price of those in the Puerto Madero area, and have excellent food (grilled meats a specialty). At a restaurant called Rosalia the famous Argentina beef was a bit chewy but had wonderful flavor, and at Viejo Gomez my husband had some ribs which were just incredible. The bill for a nice dinner with wine, at first a shock when on reading a number on the order of $90 (remember even peso prices get labeled with a $), got very reasonable when divided by 3.7!
Some of the narrow San Telmo streets were populated with antique stores carrying everything from old silver, crystal and furniture, to yellowed original newspapers proclaiming Evita’s demise. A small artisan’s cooperative on Calle Defensa turned out to have quality souvenir items at good prices, much better than the touristy souvenir stores along Calle Florida. If someone wanted a decorated mate gourd, or piece of rhodochrosite jewelry, (rhodochrosite is a pink banded translucent gemstone mined in Argentina), that was clearly the place to buy it! Many local crafters also set out their wares (leather items, jewelry, and mate gourds predominating) on blankets in the plazas and along part of the pedestrian-only section of Calle Florida, and here and there someone would play CDs of almost-melancholy tango music. One could spend a long time just shopping in Buenos Aires!