EUROPE HAS CERTAINLY LEFT HER MARK ON BUENOS AIRES, a city founded by immigrants two centuries ago.
Deteriorating Anglo-Franco railway stations and belle-époque-mansions-turned-5-star-hotels jostle for attention with downtown skyscrapers – although the capital’s quirkiest landmark is an Ancient Egyptian-style obelisk. Many of Buenos Aires’ 48 barrios, or neighbourhoods, have their own distinctive personality: San Telmo’s cobbled streets fuse tango dancers, artisans, and antique sellers, while ever-expanding Palermo and its sub-areas house an endless stream of boho cafés, hip boutiques, and late-night watering-holes. Recoleta and its vast mausoleum-stuffed cemetery, however, is a lesson in how the other half live, in both the eternal and present senses. Set next to the River Plate – also the name of a top football club, a porteño (a resident from the puerto or port) passion – the ideal way to get a feel for the true Buenos Aires is to stroll it. Stop off for a coffee before browsing an art gallery or admiring the blooms in a park – that’s the porteño way.
Porteños are late risers and need coffee to jolt them into action. Breakfast in style with a cortado (espresso with a dash of milk) and an oven-fresh medialuna from Farinelli in Palermo, while watching residents rush to work.
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Photo courtesy of Oryx inflight magazine.