A Breather in Buenos Aires

Hello again, my faithful readers!  Can you believe how far we have all traveled together over the past many months?  I can hardly believe it myself, and I have to tell you, coming down from the incredible high of visiting Iguazu Falls, I arrived in Buenos Aires feeling like all the thousands of miles on the road were finally catching up with me.

It wasn’t totally unexpected, given how I’d kind of hit a wall in Córdoba (mentally, that is), so I decided to take a break from the whole hostel/backpacker scene and find myself a quiet place to hole up in Buenos Aires.  Obviously, entries on this blog are always a few weeks (and usually a few cities) behind where I am physically, as it takes me some time to get inspired to write the blog entries, and then to edit and add photos and such.  So, if we start counting from the first of September, when I gave up my apartment and bounced around North America on all my “practice trips,” by this point in the story, I have been homeless and vagabonding for four and a half months, or just over 1/3 of my total (estimated) travel time!  It’s no wonder that I reached a point where I needed to stop and take a breath, and what better place for breathing than Buenos Aires (literally translated, “good airs”)!

Buenos Aires is not directly on the Atlantic coast (as I had always assumed) but is actually situated upriver along the Rio del Plata. This rocky beach inside the Costanera del Sur nature preserve is a popular hangout for locals, but I must say, the water does not look too inviting to me.
Buenos Aires is not directly on the Atlantic coast (as I had always assumed) but is actually situated upriver along the Rio del Plata. This rocky beach inside the Costanera del Sur nature preserve is a popular hangout for locals, but I must say, the water does not look too inviting to me.

Turning back to trusty Air BnB, I booked a room in a lovely apartment in San Telmo, the old city center.  Having exactly two weeks before it would be time to set sail on my next big adventure, I decided that time would be best spent resting, recuperating, and re-setting (and, of course, writing!).  My housemate/host, Dave, is a British expat who has been living in Buenos Aires on and off for several years.  As luck would have it, he was planning to be be away on vacation for about a week right in the middle of my stay, so I ended up having the place to myself for a good bit.  The place has a quiet courtyard with a hammock (!) and served as the perfect venue for my days of rest.

I wasn’t a total hermit, of course.  As is my usual preference, I did a couple of the tips-based walking tours around town, one day visiting most of the major landmarks in the city center, from the National Congress to the Casa Rosada presidential palace (home of the famous  Evita balcony!)  Another day I took a tour around past the courthouses,  the Teatro Colón opera house, and the mansions of Retiro before ending up in the Recoleta Cemetary.

Duarte Family mausoleum, where Evita found her final resting place (after 20 odd years of her remains being moved around to hide them from potential grave robbers)
Duarte Family mausoleum, where Evita found her final resting place (after 20 odd years of her remains being moved around to hide them from potential grave robbers)

One really interesting and unique place I toured was El Zanjon de Granados, an old building in the heart of San Telmo that started out as a private home for a wealthy local family, transitioned into a tenement during the late 1800s to mid 1900s, and then sat abandoned for a couple of decades before being restored into the museum it is today.  The current owner originally bought the place intending to convert it to a restaurant, however during the excavation, he discovered a wealth of history hiding under the floors.  Once upon a time, several rivers flowed through downtown BA.  Nowadays, they’ve all been diverted and rerouted, but back in the 1830s when this rich family built their mansion, they first built tunnels over and enclosing the rivers and proceeded to build the house on top!  It’s a little hard to explain, but I found the museum and tour to be totally  fascinating and an interesting glimpse into the city’s history.

One night, I decided to be a total tourist and booked a tango dinner show at La Ventana.  It was a little pricey, but the dinner turned out to be really  delicious and the show was well-executed and fun to watch.  Most of the other patrons appeared to be retirees who were bussed in from their hotels, so it was definitely not an authentic experience, but I still had a good time.

There are a lot of these random, cartoon statues around the city, for what reason I do not know. This guy was my favorite.
There are a lot of these random, cartoon statues around the city, for what reason I do not know. This guy was my favorite.

Mostly, though, I just chilled.  I reactivated my Netflix subscription and binged the entirety of Happy Endings (such a great show, very sad it got canned), and most of the last few seasons of Suits (which I still like even in spite of its ridiculousness.  I guess if it was too realistic, I’d be at risk of triggering my BigLaw PTSD).   I cooked most of own meals at home and started to feel like a real person again.  I think it was exactly what I needed to get my travel mojo back.

Prior to embarking on this adventure, my longest period of traveling was the 6-ish weeks I spent in Europe after the bar exam.  Obviously, I’ve beaten that record now several times over, so we are out in uncharted territory  now.  As far as having any grand epiphanies about what to do with the rest  of my life once this grand world tour comes to an end (as I suppose it must, at some point), I’m afraid I am still as much at a loss as I was when I started out.  It’s pretty easy to keep adding things to the list of what I don’t want, but not so with figuring out what I do want.  I still have a lot of travel time left, so I’m trying not to let worries about the future intrude, but (particularly in the dead of night), it’s not so easy to keep those thoughts at bay.

Never mind though, there is a lot of adventuring on the horizon that should help to stave off non-productive existential musings.  Stay tuned for the next episode where your intrepid explorer (that would be me) takes to the big blue sea on a voyage to the ends of the earth! You don’t want to miss this one! (Spoiler alert: there will be penguins!)

(Don’t forget to check out — and Like! — my Facebook page for full photo albums from every destination)

Mentioned in this post
  1. San Telmo
    Metro Area in Buenos Aires Argentina

    Buenos Aires Argentina

6 Replies to “A Breather in Buenos Aires”

  1. Yes, I’m also glad you could have a little down time to recharge your batteries. Traveling can be pretty exhausting–as I’m experiencing a bit myself right now. I love your descriptions of your adventures. Thanks for sharing in such detail. Can’t wait to hear/see all about Antarctica!

  2. I totally know the feeling of travel burn out and I agree that some “old normal” downtime is a great way to combat it. How nice that you were able to have the apartment to yourself for a few days!

  3. Do NOT let worries about what you should do when you get back intrude on your time away. Even if you come back and do not know what you want to do, it will work out. There are always job fillers where you can work until you figure it out (there’s always bar tending and doc review-mindless work allows you to think about future plans and get your ducks in a row). It’s hard to reprogram your brain from living a linear life as a lawyer but it’s okay not to know what’s next. One thing traveling will do for you is help you to realize you can figure it out-whatever it is.

    Anyway, push aside those worries and enjoy the NOW. You are doing something so exciting and challenging. What an opportunity.

    I’m enjoying traveling vicariously through you!

    1. Thanks, Bex. I’m trying my best to swat those thoughts away as soon as they try to creep in, but it’s a challenge sometimes.

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