Discovering the pulsating heart of Argentina, completely without tourists - totally impossible?! Not in pandemic times! With the regained "freedom" after our successfully completed quarantine and moving to our new apartment in the "Colegiales" district, we found ourselves in the middle of one of the largest and most beautiful cities of this planet and we had it (almost) completely to ourselves! So every day was a little journey of discovery - without stress, rush and the pressure of having to check out as many highlights as possible in a short time. Living in Buenos Aires means adapting to the pulse of the city and its inhabitants, the "porteños" or "bonaerenses", getting to know its charm and becoming familiar with all its facets. There are, for example, the small Bolivian vegetable stores, the bakeries where they really still bake their own bread every day, the pubs with a huge selection of their own beers, the delicious steak and fish restaurants, the green parks which invite you to chill out with mate-tea and, of course, the lively "colectivo-buses" on the crowded avenues and the squeaky subway. So far, not a day has gone by that we haven't explored something completely new, whether intentionally or not. Of course, the tourist highlights must not be missed, but we encountered all of them rather passing by or rather because we were randomly near. Normally, especially the places where the tourist crowds meet - at the moment they seem more like normal places, corners and parts of the city: for example the "Obelisco" as a landmark of Buenos Aires, built in 1936 on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city. The "Avenida Corrientes", as the city's cultural mile, is closely interwoven with its legendary tango past and packed with numerous theaters, cinemas and pizzerias, the famous "Casa Rosada" from which President Alberto Fernandez leads the country's destiny, the "Plaza de Mayo" where the most important historical events of the city took place and where nowadays there are almost always loud but peaceful demonstrations for or against something and of course the chic harbor area "Puerto Madero", with its typical brick buildings and the infamous "Puente de la mujer", the most beautiful bridge of the city, whose architecture depicts a tango dancing couple - with a lot of imagination.
The entire city of Buenos Aires is divided into no less than 48 districts - each one has its own flair. Of course, it is important to know your own "barrio" as well as possible. Our apartment is officially located in the "Colegiales" neighborhood, but it borders directly on "Palermo" - certainly the most famous and hippest neighborhood in the center of Buenos Aires. This gives us a choice every day between trendy bars, restaurants, shopping and high society on one hand and the cozy, local variety on the other. Either way, we like the abundance of green in this part of the city with the lapacho trees on the streets that herald spring with their pink flowers. An imposing mural of the Brandenburg Gate immediately reveals that we are not the only Germans here - the German Embassy is practically around the corner. While we mostly roam the barrios on foot and with the kilometers we have covered so far, would have surely circumnavigated the city several times by now. Marina also makes the streets of the surrounding neighborhoods unsafe - together with her driving-teacher and his old, dented Fiat. Just a 10-minute walk away is the "Parque Tres de Febrero", Palermo's 25-hectare city park - ideal for walking, jogging or simply enjoying the sun with a mate tea and watching the dogs run wild around the lake. Of course, around the park numerous small cafes invite you to linger and a little further away you can swap South America for Asia for a few moments with crispy duck, wok vegetables and ramen noodles in the "Barrio Chino", the Chinese quarter. The return trip in the colectivo bus, however, quickly brings one back to South American reality. After sunset, it's time for the "cervecerias," the (beer) pubs where you first sip your way through shot glasses to your favorite type of beer before being served it fresh on tap. Naturally, we are already very familiar with our pub on the street and have already discovered our favorite varieties: Cheers!
Buenos Aires presents itself colorful, creative and trendy-hip and looks totally authentic - even if some parts are quite wild and colorful-mixed. The colors of the rainbow have long since made their appearance, and street art and graffiti dominate the cityscape everywhere. From varied portraits of the Argentine national hero Diego Maradonna to complex wall and building projects, the city is a paradise for fans of street art. Hardly a train station, a backyard or a house façade is without a striking painting. The antique and street food markets are a perfect match, such as the "Patio de los lecheros" - a food court in a former milk factory in the middle of the city, which offers a culinary mix of the very best, from asado, cerviche and empanadas to helado, dulce de leche and, of course, cerveca, vino and local coctails. But Maradona doesn't just shine from the walls. His legend as an Argentinian folk hero lives on even after his surprising death last year, and soccer is topic #1 here every day anyway. Of course, we tried everything to experience the unique atmosphere in an Argentinian stadium live during our stay. Unfortunately, due to Corona it was impossible to get tickets legally, so we decided, despite all warnings from friends and family, for the semi-legal variant: contact someone via Whatsapp, meeting at the meat counter in Supermarket and handing over against cash, two tickets to the World Cup qualifying match Argentina - Uruguay, Sunday evening at 20:30. Prepared mentally, that it could go wrong, dressed in Argentina jerseys with the dream of seeing Messi play in Argentina, the disappointment didn´t take too long when we were unfortunately told at the entrance that the tickets were fake. We have learned our lesson and followed the 3-0 victory of Argentina finally in a bar =)
Culturally, Buenos Aires has a lot to offer: In addition to tango dance houses and theaters, it also counts some world-famous museums among its cultural treasures. In addition to the most famous Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts), the Museo de Arte Latinoamerica de Buenos Aires (MALBA), which offers original South American art. Ideal for relaxing with a bitter mate tea are the many green parks around the museums - true oasis of well-being for people and dogs in the middle of the city and in the spring filling the streets with colorful blooming and fragrant. The international influence can be seen in almost every corner of the city. There is hardly a country that is not represented by a statue, a building or its own square - like the Japanese, of course. The Japanese Garden is certainly one of the gems, with typical Asian flora and fauna in the heart of Buenos Aires. Art does not stop at night. Thus, the Argentine capital counts some very quirky and special bars among its own, where you have to ask your way to the entrance through a faithfully restored backyard workshop by typing in the current day's number in an original telephone booth from the 1950s, before you step through a mirrored door and find yourself transported back a few decades to a club of Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 20th century - Suerte and Salud!