For as long as I've been accruing them, I've been inexplicably nervous about my frequent flier miles expiring or disappearing. Nick and I recently took care of the whole lot by taking a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We took an overnight flight from Chicago and arrived at Ezeiza airport on a Thursday morning.
We checked into the lovely, family run Four B&B in the San Telmo neighborhood. This renovated colonial house offers stylish rooms designed by Cuban artist Reinaldo Lopez Sobrado and a gorgeous rooftop patio. The rooms are reasonably priced and the proprietors are exceptionally nice -- even letting us borrow dishes and an electrical adapter that we had forgotten to pack. Best of all, breakfast arrives any time you wish.
After we unpacked a bit, Nick and I took a quick walk around the neighborhood as we waited for our friend Peter, an English instructor, to meet us after his morning class. Peter and I met in Iowa during my first year of college. Even though I ended up transferring to Reed and he's moved all over the world, I've been lucky to keep in touch with him over the years.
We spent most of the afternoon walking up and down Florida Street attending to housekeeping details like exchanging money and buying a sim card for my phone. After a bite to eat, Peter went to his second class of the day and Nick and I returned to San Telmo where we ended up at Bar Dorrego just up the street from our hotel.
San Telmo is the oldest residential neighborhood in Buenos Aires and the cobblestone streets and glorious buildings are well-preserved (as a result, it is also a bit touristy). Bar Dorrego dates back to 1881 and overlooks Plaza Dorrego, which fills with vendors every Sunday during the San Telmo Antique Market. This classic cafe has gorgeous woodwork (now carved with graffiti), a black and white checked floor -- and like most cafes in Buenos Aires -- will keep your table well supplied with peanuts while you drink.
Quilmes is the beer of choice for most Argentinians. We decided to give their stout a try and it ended up being a nice first drink for the evening. While Bar Dorrego is a bit over-priced due to its location and history, I would still recommend getting a drink or two in this lovely old cafe.
Afterward we made our way to Palermo Viejo to meet up with Peter and his lovely girlfriend Pao. We shared a bottle of Genesis Malbec from Mendoza and ordered dinner from Gourmet Empanadas. Gourmet Empanadas has several locations across the city and the assortment we ordered really hit the spot (I especially enjoyed the tomate, queso y albahaca).
We took a cab up to Sugar, a bar in Palermo, where one of Peter's friends was celebrating her birthday. Nightlife in Buenos Aires really is a late affair -- Sugar's 5 peso pint "happy-hour" runs until midnight! We drank a few Quilmes and got to know their awesome Colombian friend Arturo. Peter and Pao had to work in the morning, and Nick and I were exhausted from our sleepless flight, so we parted ways around 1 a.m., looking forward to our first full day in the city.
Stay tuned for day two!