On a chilly late-July morning in Buenos Aires, I wake up craving a medialuna (literally translates to “half-moon”, and is the Argentine response to the croissant) and a café solo (a large serving of strong, delicious espresso). I don my coat and boots, and set off on foot to my favorite, newly-discovered bakery in Palermo. As I have grown accustomed to in Buenos Aires, I stumble upon a delightful unexpected detour. The Palermo market, a sunny plaza lined with booths peddling jewelry, artisan goods and a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, jams and olive oils draws me in.
For all of its bustling, metropolitan allure, Buenos Aires remains staunchly opposed to the to-go food culture. So as the city arises from its post-boliche Saturday morning slumber, I sit down to enjoy my coffee. Satisfied and buzzing from the caffeine, I connect to the café’s WiFi to plan my next destination. My Buenos Aires bucket list is long, but the Recoleta cemetery is certainly near the top. I plug its address into the handy “Como llego” app, and off I go on the bus to Recoleta.
I spend a few hours happily getting lost in the labyrinthine cemetery, admiring its mausoleums; some decrepit and some grandiose and covered with bouquets and notes of admiration. Many of Argentina’s most important historical figures have been laid to rest here. The list includes the iconic Eva Perón, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and countless other late presidents of the Argentine republic, Facundo Quiroga, Victoria Ocampo, and other prominent Argentine intellectuals, and hundreds of other reposed figures in Argentina’s history. By now it is close to 2:00 p.m. and I am ready for lunch. After perusing the many stalls of handicrafts and leather goods outside the cemetery’s walls, I make my way to a restaurant for lunch.
Raised in the Midwest, I love green landscapes and open spaces. I arrived in Buenos Aires worried that my temporary home might leaved me nature-starved, but fortunately, such was not the case. Buenos Aires has been called the “Paris of the South” and just like the Parisians, Porteños (as the people of Buenos Aires are called) adore parks, wide boulevards and tree-lined streets. One is never too far from a serene escape from the buildings, traffic and bustling movement of the city.
Having worked up an appetite from my stroll, I decide to sample some of the famed gelato for which Buenos Aires is known. After all, I am of the firm belief that all calories consumed outside the United States do not count. I choose a combo of dark chocolate and dulce de leche with dulce de leche truffles. Redundant? Perhaps. But if ever heaven were manifest in food form, this would certainly be its earthly incarnation. After devouring every last bit of my treat, I head back home through Palermo’s eclectic streets.