Argentina Day 11 — Buenos Aires and LAN

More rain on our last morning in the Southern hemisphere. We wandered off to get pastries at La Familia — how we will miss you, sweet medialunas! — and coffee at Mark’s.

Taxi to La Boca at a reasonable hour, we were among the first tourists on the scene, very cool neighborhood, bought a small oil painting of some of the colorful buildings. Wandered to La Bombonera, home of Boca Juniors, Argentina’s most storied futbol/soccer club, but alas we were there between seasons so were not able to attend a game. Fun to see the stadium anyway, and our next trip will be in season.

Walked to San Telmo, much mellower on a weekday. Lunched at Plaza Dorrego Bar, a hundred-year-old saloon with much of the original beverage equipment on display, very nice turn of the (20th) century ambience. We all had sandwiches, salami or ham/cheese, nothing special but hit the spot.

Continued our walk, rain-free, to the microcentro area, where we had beers at the Kilkenny, a lovely authentic Irish pub; their sound system was playing the Skatellites, an awesome Jamaican ska band, we particularly enjoyed their James Bond theme cover. A strange convergence of cultures, but it worked for us at the time. Lots of fun.

Taxi back to Palermo was harrowing, the driver looked like Abe Vigoda and drove like Steve McQueen, cackling and repeatedly yelling “Argentino loco!” at the driver of the car to the right as he cut off the car to the left. We somehow survived the ride and wandered Palermo to settle down and eat a final carne empanada from La Familia.  Good stuff. I will do an empanada roundup post later this week.

Our final taxi driver, to the airport, was the youngest, coolest, and least dangerous of the trip; he was listening to the new Depeche Mode disc, gave the usual thumbs down to Cristina and wait-and-see to Obama, and said the best helado (gelato) in Argentina can be found at Persicco. Helado is a big deal down there, as in Italy. We had been told to eat at Persicco by a good friend, an Argentinian native, but we did not run across a single outlet during our trip — until the airport. There it was, on the upper level, a gleaming earth-toned sugary beacon of happiness. The dulce de leche gelato is otherworldly.  Other flavors also excellent.

Thanks Luis and Taxi Driver!

Thanks Luis and Taxi Driver!

And that was just about it, aside from the flight home in business class on LAN, with fully-reclining seats and the best food I have ever eaten in any jet-propelled vehicle. Pumpkin soup with goat cheese and arugula, braised Patagonian lamb with mushrooms and zucchini, mashed potatoes, malbec. I would have photographically documented each course but our memory card was full.  We will fly LAN again any chance we get, outstanding airline (at least internationally — though our internal flight was fine too). A wonderful trip, and we are already looking forward to returning someday for more beef, wine, empanadas, architecture, scenery.  Barriloche, Ushuaia, and Iguazu Falls are on the list, along with a return to BA and Mendoza.  Great country, Argentina!

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