SA: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

We were docked in an industrial area that was already hard at work when we got up at 8:00. I went to get our coffee since today will be the last day we can get it from the Coffee Bar. You know you’ve come to the end of the cruise when the Coffee Bar has run out of large To Go cups. To compensate, they put two shots of espresso into a small To Go cup.

We ate a very light breakfast in the Lido because we certainly didn’t want to not be hungry for our HAL tour today entitled “A Culinary Walk through Buenos Aires: In Partnership with Food & Wine Magazine.” The description states ” With its exciting culinary scene, Buenos Aires is a city that is a delight for foodies and anyone who loves a good meal. On this food tour with a small group of like-minded travelers (8 to 20 people), visit some of its authentic restaurants.

Argentina is known for its amazing meats, which are central to the diet here, making this outing a great choice for carnivores.

Your day begins with a guided panoramic drive through Buenos Aires, taking in highlights such as Plaza de Mayo — the city’s most famous square. You’ll drive down Avenida 9 de Julio — the wide thoroughfare named in honor of Argentina’s Independence Day. You’ll also pass the beautiful parks of Palermo — one of the city’s most buzzing neighborhoods.

A culinary walking tour leads you through a traditional neighborhood packed with locally-owned restaurants. Along the way, your guide will talk about the history of the places you visit, sharing stories of life, past and present, in this great city.

At three distinctive restaurants, you’ll savor a true taste of Buenos Aires. Try empanadas, choripan (sausage with French baguette), barbecued meats, grilled provoleta cheese and chimichurri — a dipping sauce of fresh herbs, garlic and peppers. A glass of Argentine red wine is included with lunch.

For dessert, a heladeria offers homemade ice cream.

Portions are small at each stop but, by the end of the tour, you will be full and you will have a newfound appreciation for the life and food of Argentina.

Notes: Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather.

We met at the main stage at 10:00. When they called our tour number about 40 people stood up. I thought “this doesn’t look like a small group.” Once we got outside, we were directed to a shuttle bus as we were not allowed to walk through the industrial port. The shuttle took us to the waiting tour buses outside of the industrial port. Because the ship was going to be here overnight, they announced that the shuttle buses would run all night long.

Once we reached the tour buses, we were divided into two groups of twenty. We were on a very comfortable bus but the guide’s microphone didn’t work and she had to talk very loudly for all to hear. She spoke English well and she did the best she could to talk loudly.

She gave us a lot of interesting information about Buenos Aires and Argentina. What I found especially interesting is what she said about the Falklands which she always referred to as the Malvinas. She said she was in College before she knew that Argentina did not control the Malvinas and that other people knew them as the Falklands.

She told us that we would be going to three different restaurants – two for appetizers and one for the main meal. She said we would meet up with the other tour group at the main meal. Then, we would all go to a gelato parlor.

First, we had a nice overview of the city as she talked.

Guide called it Shanty Town – near the port – she said don’t go there.
Railroad Station – No longer used. Trying to decide what to do with it.
Lots of old buildings
Lots of new buildings
Statues everywhere
Obelisk Monument – Built in 1910 to celebrate 400th anniversary of Buenos Aires
Floralis Genérica is a sculpture made of steel and aluminum – a gift to the city by the Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano.

The bus dropped us off near the first restaurant. We had empanadas and your choice of beer, soft drink, or water. I thought the beer was good and asked what kind it was thinking it was a local beer – Heineken. Okay. The empanada was full-size and very good. I thought we were supposed to get small portions.

As we walked to the next restaurant, we passed the other tour group going to our restaurant.

We sat outside at our next restaurant, and I forgot to get the name. We first created our own Gancio Batido – similar to a pisco sour. Mixed Gancio liquor with pressurized seltzer water and served over large ice cubes. They were very good if you like a lemon flavor.

They served it with a choripan with two types of sauces.

Our next restaurant we met up with the other group and all sat inside. Your choice of drinks was Malbec, a white wine, or water. We were first served a grilled provolone cheese. Then we were served a skirt steak. Next, we were served steak sirloin. There was so much food. The servers kept pouring the wine.

After we were finished, I just knew I would not be able to eat another bite. The bus picked us up and the guide reminded us that our last stop was for gelato. Okay. I would find room.

We were each able to get two scoops. I knew at least one flavor would be dulce del leche (sweet milk). Our cruise director, Kevin, who is from Argentina, mentioned that we need to try dulce de leche at least once while we are in Buenos Aires.

The guide also told us to get at least one scoop with the flavor. I got one scoop of traditional dulce de leche and one scoop of Patagonia vanilla with fruit. The dulce de leche tasted like a light caramel flavor to me. They were both very good. Chuck had finished his before I thought to get a photo of it.

The guide told some more interesting stories about Buenos Aires on the way back to the port but there were a lot of people (me included) trying to keep their eyes open after all that food. I heard some people say they had another tour that evening that was going to include another meal. I would not have been able to handle it. I just know I needed a nap. This was an excellent tour.

Travel Trivia

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tango, a distinctive dance and the corresponding musical style of tango music, began in the working-class port neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

The city has the busiest live theatre industry in Latin America, with scores of theaters and productions. Typically, every weekend, there are about 300 active theatres with plays, a number that places the city as first worldwide, more than either London, New York or Paris.

The University of Buenos Aires, one of the top learning institutions in South America, has produced five Nobel Prize winners and provides taxpayer-funded education for students from all around the globe.

Buenos Aires has the highest concentration of soccer teams of any city in the world.

Buenos Aires has been a candidate city for the Summer Olympic Games on three occasions but has never been the host. In 1956, it lost by one vote to Melbourne.

Avenida 9 de Julio is the widest street in the world at an imposing sixteen lanes. It typically takes at least 2 traffic light rotations to cross.

There are two theories as to why the Casa Rosada, the presidential headquarters where Juan and Eva Perón addressed the nation, is painted pink. The first is that it represented the coming together of two political parties in the late 19th century, one of which was represented by the color red, the other white. The other more gruesome theory is that it’s actually cow’s blood, which was a common coating for buildings at the time. The blood protected against the damaging effects of heat and humidity.

Built in 1913, the Buenos Aires Underground is the oldest subway system in Latin America. The stations display artwork and even have musical performances.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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