The finale or icing on top of my South American walkabout cake was Buenos Aires. With previous spectacular stops in Patagonia, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina, BA and its porteños certainly won my heart through my stomach as well as my dancing feet.
After an overnight bus from Mendoza, I arrived in sizzling BA with a short, yet sweet bucket list:
1) Enjoy a pizza
2) Indulge in dulce de leche ice cream
3) Learn to tango (a way to burn off all of the Argentinean calories)
All three of the items on the list were accomplished and repeated as necessary, kinda like the instructions on a shampoo bottle. So without further adieu, here's a brief summary of my porteño discoveries:
My first taste of pizza in Buenos Aires was for breakfast. I had not had pizza for breakfast since college, but after a long bus ride, I was ready for refueling and believe me pizza had never tasted so good. Now mind you, I'm not a pizza novice. I have had the Italian version in Rome, Naples, Sicily as well as the NYC style slice the size of your head throughout many of the boroughs. However, none of the others could compare to my first nor my numerous repeat experiences with BA style pizza. The porteños do pizza simply. They don't need a laundry list of ingredients; with that said, I would highly recommend a margarita pie with fresh mozzarella, real tomatoes so no sauce, and leaves of sweet basil. With all honesty, I can attest that the only thing missing to make a BA pizza good enough to be one's last meal would be a chilled Quilmes beer.
2) ICE CREAM
The line, "I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream" can't be truer than in BA. Yes, ice cream is a staple at most tourist destinations. Just take a moment to think about how many times you have seen tourists with ice cream, gelato, popsicles, and more regardless of the weather while traveling? So when in BA during the hottest of months, I screamed for ice cream. Coming from the dairy state (not the one with happy cows), I have been known to finish my fair share of ice cream ranging from traditional vanilla to butter pecan to peanut butter to mint chocolate chip; however, I knew better than to go with anything other than the continental favorite in South America, dulce de leche. I needed to uncover what I had been missing. Wow! My sweet, smooth, caramel-like sensation in a cone was indulged lick by lick outside of the Recoleta Cementery, after a wonderful Tango show in Belgrano, and on a stroll home from Caminito in La Boca.
There is no better place to learn to tango than in Buenos Aires. I attended a class and show on my first night in BA. I quickly learned the first lesson of the basic steps: slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. I followed with the second lesson of turns and the finale of a sexy, tango pose. Little did I know that my signature dancing trick that I had been using throughout my disco visits in Spain, Turkey, Italy, Mexico, and Puerto Rico would come in handy. Yes, the leg wrap shown in the image above is something that I had used even prior to the tango class. In fact, I must have looked like a natural as the instructor, Don Alejandro, had me demonstrate the leg pose to the class of others.
My discovery of BA was done well as I believe that no trip is complete without experiencing a destination's food, drink, and other components of culture whether dance, music, art, holidays or other. Even though I feel that I did Buenos Aires justice, I must return to dive deeper into all it has to offer. I'm sure there are many more good times and good stories to tell. In fact, in this case, I have a feeling that there are many good meals and good dances ahead to share.
Have you discovered Buenos Aires? Please share your experiences.