We nixed the notion of hiring bikes pretty much from the offset; cobbled streets, pothole marked main roads and the reputation of Argentine drivers, put paid to that plan. Instead we settled for the Subte (metro) and ‘shanks pony’. Phrase book in hand we made our way to the nearest stop, Ministro Carranza and picked up a 10 journey ticket; at 2 1/2 pesos per ride and regular service across the six lines, it’s a great way to get across the city.
Linea A still has the original old wooden and worn carriage seats, Linea D the pick of the tourista hot spots and all the trains we travelled in were tagged and pimped. Just like the tube, to be avoided like the plague during rush-hour as it was hot and airless without the added hoards of commuters pushing to get on/off.
What subway isn’t complete without cup rattlers telling their tale of woe and ‘performers’ whistling a tune or two? Best of the buskers, for us had to be the keyboard playing and sandal-wearing ‘Hagrid’, who set up in front of the doors (careful to ensure space for passers-by) plugged in his amp, theatrically tossed his locks, before thumping away on the ivories … When a stick wielding blind man (we doubted his authenticity, as did the chap sat beside us) bumped into his keyboard, he simply batted him away and rearranged his CD’s. Natch for sale.
Walking around Buenos Aires was a piece cake as the city, although sprawling, is real easy to navigate. Loved the little gems we found along way; quaint little shops full of kitsch collectibles, achingly-cool designer stores, vintage clothing and metro kool clobber, and numerous bag and serious shoe boutiques… already over our weight limit, I mentally bought loads!
The whole place is awash with resto’s, parillas, bars and cafes; literally on every street corner you can find somewhere to either whet your whistle or grab a bite to eat, or both. Maybe this is the reason why there are few street food vendors, even along the wide avenues around Ave 9 Julio . The only carts and mate vendors we came across were in San Telmo along Defensa.
We really couldn’t leave BA without eating empanadas and ducked into a bakery cum confiteria to try one of each of the al hora, baked ones…freshly baked pockets of savoury goodness- cheese & ham, spinach, chicken and spicy beef. A true carnivore these days, I favoured the carne picante, beef and Matt, rather like the espinaca, spinach with surprise of a hard boiled egg.