San Telmo

Here you’ll find travel reports about San Telmo. Discover travel destinations in Argentina of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

63 travelers at this place:

  • Day27

    Day 25 - The Dead and Fine Arts

    January 22 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    During yesterday's planning, we explored going to Brazil. Research showed that we'd need a visa so we headed to the Brazilian consulate. They told us to come back at 2:00. So, we went to the La Recoleta Cemetery.

    The Cemetery is one of BA's most famous attractions. It was started in 1822 and now has about 4,800 mausoleums containing the mortal remains of BA's VERY rich and powerful (the saying is that it's cheaper to live an entire life of luxury than to be buried in La Recoleta). Also interred there are past presidents, military heroes, famous writers, and other notables. Free tours in English can be had but we were early for that and got an English-speaking guide. She showed us around the four-square blocks of tombs. The mausoleums are ornate and grandiose in a hodgepodge of styles, including art nouveau, art deco, classical, Greek, baroque, neo-gothic, and more. They are decorated with angels, crosses, wreaths, urns, gargoyles, and more in various types of marble, metal, and stone. Our guide showed us several specific tombs and related stories about them and the people buried there. Of particular note were the tombs of former president Sarmiento and, of course, Eva Duarte de Peron - Evita. Hers is the most visited but not the grandest. It is a fascinating place and one could wander and gawk for hours.

    After the tour, we sat for a juice at and outdoor cafe then looked into the Fraciscan Basilica de Pilar next to the Cemetery (the city fathers took the Franciscan's gardens to create the Cemetery). We walked to the Museum of Fine Arts and wandered through that for an hour. The Museum has a wide-ranging collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by Monet, Degas, Rodin, Toulouse Lautrec, Sisley, Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir, Matisse, and many more. I was impressed with the breadth of the collection. We walked over to the huge (70 feet tall) polished metal sculpture of a generic flower (in United Nations Park). This flower was created and donated to BA by an architect in 2002. It originally opened in the morning and closed at night like a flower but the mechanism broke and hasn't been repaired.

    Took a taxi back to the Brazilian Consulate but were a bit early so we had a salad lunch at a modern cafe up the street. At the Consulate, they wanted a complicated application for an expensive long-duration visa. We just wanted a few-day tourist visa. They gave us a website to visit for an online application. Another taxi to a site close to our apartment, the Zanjon de Granados. This architectural site is the privately funded restoration of a series of tunnels, cisterns, and aqueducts dating from the 1730s and 1850s that was discovered when the developer was going to build a restaurant on the site. He was so impressed that he had the site excavated and restored and now has guided tours. It was fascinating and quite different from anything else we'd seen.

    Back at the apartment I tried to do the visa application but ran into various problems. We may just be satisfied with the view of Iguazu from the Argentine side of the falls. Ate in, relaxed, and did some planning for tomorrow.

    The mausoleum with all the flowers is Evita's.
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  • Day25

    Day 22 - Around Buenos Aires

    January 20 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    A sunny morning greeted us with the forecast high of 76 for today. We'd docked in Buenos Aires early.

    Outside the port we connected with our tour guide for the walking tour we'd arranged. As we headed out by bus to pick up more people, our guide explained some things. The Argentine inflation rate last year was more than 450% (in Uruguay, it was 4.8%). She explained how it is hard to cope with such inflation - especially since the new government has frozen salaries. She, herself, is going to Uruguay next month to begin working for Hyatt Hotels. We picked up the rest of our group and went to the start of the walk - the La Boca neighborhood.

    La Boca (the mouth) is the site of the first settlement in Buenos Aires. It's now a bohemian area with nearly all the houses planted with extensive, colorful street art. We walked through the barrio, past the stadium of Argentina's biggest soccer team, Boca Juniors, and into the the San Telmo neighborhood. This is one of the upscale areas and we stopped for a break. The houses are a mix of old (1880s) style and somewhat newer (1930s) style buildings built right next to each other. We had a Pesi and soda water at an old bar whose wood paneling was carved with patron's names and initials. We hadn't changed money but they were happy to take dollars - even eager. In the square where we stopped, a couple danced tangos for the crowd.

    More walking past churches and hi-rises to Plaza de Mayo. It was here, in 1810, that the country declared its independence. The obelisk in the center commemorates the event. One one side stands the pink presidential building; on another corner stands the municipal cathedral (where Pope Francis worked before being raised). The Plaza is famous, also, for as the meeting place (every Thursday) of the Mothers of May. These are the mothers and grandmothers of some of the 30,000 people who "disappeared" under the last dictatorship.

    We walked on to Plaza Liberador. Here, in a large green space, a grand statue honors the general who led the fight against the Spanish, Jose de San Martin. Down the hill from the statue is a memorial commemorating the fallen from the disastrous Falklands war - strategically placed opposite the British Tower. We caught a bus up Santa Fe street and got off to visit the famous bookstore, El Ateneo (Athens), housed in a former grand theater.

    More walking (it was billed as a seven-hour tour) took us to the square in front of the Recoleta Cemetery. We had lunch in an open terrace. Gail was done with walking so, even though the tour was to take a guided tour of the Cemetery, we opted for a taxi ride back to the ship.

    Since we were disembarking tomorrow, we packed our suitcases and overnight bags. Before going to the show, we set our suitcases out to be delivered to us at the terminal tomorrow. The show was four Gauchos performing percussion and dance with some whip cracking in between - not so impressive. We had our last dinner with our German table mates, Hans and Ottie, and exchanged contact information. Our California table mates didn't show, Silvia being still too fluish.

    Tomorrow off the ship and to our apartment for seven days.
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  • Day26

    Day 23 - San Telmo

    January 21 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Final packing, breakfast and waiting to disembark took up the early morning. We disembarked about 10:00 and caught a taxi to the apartment in San Telmo that Gail had arranged for the next week. The owner was there just finishing the clean up from the guests who had just departed. He gave us a rundown of the apartment and suggested places around the neighborhood, then left.

    The apartment is modern and spacious with two bedrooms, full kitchen, one and a half baths, and a long balcony overlooking Peru Street. It's on the third floor of a key-entry residential building. It is three blocks from Plaza Durrego, where we had stopped on yesterday's walk. A bit later, we went out exploring.

    San Telmo, in the mid-1800s, was the upscale neighborhood of the nascent city, with large, elaborate family mansions. In 1871, a yellow fever epidemic decimated the city and the rich fled the low-lying neighborhood near the river for higher ground to the northwest, leaving their mansions to decay. European immigrants began arriving and took over the abandoned mansions, converting them to tenements housing whole families in a single room. From the patios and balconies of these tenements, the people blended musical styles into what we know as tango. Once tango became internationally popular, the wealthy Argentines adopted it as the country's nation music.

    On Sundays, the area around Plaza Durrego is thronged with stalls for the weekly craft fair. It is a well-known event and locals and tourists come to stroll. We walked through the narrow, cobblestone streets lined with small, temporary booths selling crafts and antiques. There are leather goods (belts, purses), wood carvings, metal sculptures, knitted wool pieces, stone works, and more. The fair stretches for many blocks down Defensa Street and jams the small plaza. Naturally, there are tango demonstrations. We sat at a terrace bar and ordered beer and pizza. While we were waiting for our order, our California table mates from the Eclipse surprised us since they, too, were visiting the fair.

    We walked over to the roofed market, also thronged, and picked up some fruit and vegetables then stopped at a bakery for bread and pastries. Rested at the apartment then went back to Plaza Durrego and attended mass at the Church of San Pedro Gonzalas Telmo. On the way home we shopped for groceries for the week. We read up on things to do, had a light dinner, but soon went to bed (early, for a change).
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  • Day27

    Day 24 - Recovery

    January 22 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    A day of recovery and planning.

    We slept in to help Gail get over her cold. She took advantage of having a washer to do several loads of wash and we looked at where we want to go after Buenos Aires. Made some reservations in El Calafate and explored options for Iguazu. Later we went to El Zanjon, a restored space of tunnels and cisterns, but found it was only by guided tour, which we'd already missed. Did some strolling/exploring around the neighborhood.

    I've mentioned that the economic situation is hard here for most people - rampant inflation, frozen salaries. In spite of that, there seems to be a lot of construction going on. As we look out on and walk the streets, we frequently see dumpster divers scouring for cardboard to recycle. As we sat in Plaza Durrego yesterday, we were approached every few minutes by beggars. That poses an ethical dilemma. We feel for the people but can't give to everyone so how do we choose who to give to? We haven't solved that dilemma, yet.

    For dinner we went to the corner just across the street to Bar Federal. This was the top listed dining spot in our guidebook for the San Telmo area. We had two great steak dinners. We were early (by Latin American standards) at 7:30 PM, but the old, wood-paneled bar filled up as we enjoyed our meal.

    Language is often a problem - in a different sense. My Spanish is pretty good so I try to speak it when dealing with the people we meet. Many people, however, speak English and we often wind up with me speaking Spanish to the Argentines while they respond in English. Sometimes it's just comical; other times it produces misunderstandings.

    Yes, that's a Buddah in the living room of the apartment. The owner lives in London and only comes back here during the summer. The apartment is furnished in a very eclectic style with modern furniture, old world accessories and avant garde art on the walls.

    The Bar Federal is on the corner. The sign says, "We're open when we arrive; we're closed when we leave."
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  • Day56

    Feria de San Telmo und Puerto Madero

    January 20 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Jeden Sonntag findet der Feria de San Telmo im gleichnamigen Viertel direkt bei uns um die Ecke statt. Der Feria ist ein Markt der jeden Sonntag stattfindet und ein überdimensionierter Trödel- und Flohmarkt ist.

    Was als Antiquitäten- und Flohmarkt angefangen hat, ist jetzt ein buntes Treiben mit Straßenkünstlern, Livemusik, Tanz, Food-Trucks und Ständen aller Art: Antiquitäten, Bücher, Silberbesteck, Kristall, Schmuck, Porzellan, Briefmarken, Münzen. Aber auch  Kleidungsstücke, Ponchos, Taschen, Schuhe, Sonnenbrillen, Bilder und Matebecher. 

    Die Inflation der letzten Jahre in Argentinien war sehr hoch, sodass die Bewohner immer neue Ideen haben, um an Geld zu kommen. Daher basteln, nähen, backen, kochen, bauen viele Porteños (so heißen die Einwohner von Buenos Aires) irgend etwas, was sie auf der Straße verkaufen. Gerade am Wochenende findet man in der ganzen Stadt kleine Stände. Die Leute sitzen auf Decken dahinter und diskutieren oder hören Musik.

    Max guckt ein bisschen bei den Münzen, aber ansonsten zieht uns nichts der dargestellten Waren an. An dem angepriesenen Weißbier war das einzige originaltypische das Glas. Auch die kleine Tango Einlage, die wir beobachten wirkt wieder sehr gestellt.

    Nach dem Markt gehen wir zum Puerto Madero. Die Hafencity ähnelt der in Hamburg. Zu den Zeiten des wirtschaftlichen Aufschwungs wurde der Hafen von dem natürlichen Hafenbecken aus La Boca hierher verlegt. Aufgrund seiner kleinen Größe war er jedoch nur ein paar Jahre in Betrieb, bevor ein größerer Hafen weiter nördlich gebaut wurde.
    Am Hafenbecken genießen wir bei 30 Grad und strahlend blauem Himmel einen Kaffee in einem der vielen Cafés, Eisdielen und Restaurants die das Ufer säumen.

    Am Abend bzw. in der Nacht hatten wir noch einen wunderschönen Blick auf den Blutmond bei immernoch wolkenfreiem Himmel. Um 2.12 Uhr war dann der Höhepunkt erreicht.
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  • Day2

    (Para bailar la) Cochabamba

    January 10 in Argentina ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    Cochabamba: Was mehr nach einer lustigen Party oder einem abenteuerlichen Dessert klingt, ist unsere argentinische Adresse für die nächsten zwei Wochen. Nach 25h Reise sind wir endlich in unserer gemütlichen AirBnB-Wohnung im Quartier “San Telmo” angekommen. Die Wohnung ist in einem alten, typisch argentinischen Haus mit zwei engen Wendeltreppen und einer Dachterrasse mit Aussicht auf heruntergekommene Hausfassaden. Es gibt Küche mit Kaffeemaschine, Bad mit Bidet um die Tanzstinkfüsse zu waschen und Wohnzimmer mit viel Platz, grossem Spieltisch und Tanzspiegel. Der Vermieter ist Tangogitarrist und hat uns bereits mit zahlreichen Tangotipps ausgestattet.
    Heimweh? Können wir eigentlich gar nicht so haben, wir haben kein “Daheim” mehr! ;-) Unser ganzer Haushalt befindet sich auf circa 5 Kubikmeter im Keller bei meinen Eltern. Tagelanges Ausmisten, Verkaufen, Verschenken und Entsorgen hat sich definitiv gelohnt!
    Rucksack versus Koffer: ich mit 14 Kilo vollem Rucksack am Rücken und Alain mit 12 Kilo vollem Koffer an der Hand, haben wir die verschneite Schweiz für 7 Monate verlassen. Sehr praktisch, dass ich keinen Koffer durch den Schnee schleiffen musste: 1:0 für meinen Rucksack. (Im Flughafen selber hat sich der Punktestand recht schnell zu Gunsten des Koffers gedreht.)
    Kamasutra des Sitzens: Hochgradig kreativ habe ich jede mögliche Sitzstellung im Flugzeug ausprobiert, um mich fit zu schafen für den ersten Tag in Buenos Aires. Vieles ist möglich, aber bei 12h nichts wirklich nachhaltig bequem. (Deshalb liege ich jetzt gemütlich im Bett und “influence” euch. Im Wintergarten nebenan ist Alain am Spanisch lernen, damit er das nächste mal nicht “Nariz” (Nase) bestellt, wenn er eigentlich “Arroz” (Reis) essen will ;-))
    Unser Plan: keinen zu haben! Wir freuen uns wahsinnig, mit einer leeren Agenda unterwegs zu sein. Nur Tango tanzen und gut essen. Was will man mehr!
    Übrigens wer noch Argentinien-Tipps hat, melde sich doch bitte bei uns! Im Gegenzug gibts dann paar neidisch-mach-Fotos! ;-)
    Hasta la Pista!
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  • Day3

    San Telmo

    March 12, 2017 in Argentina

    Nachdem wir gemütlich mit Laura und Max (Max kenne ich aus der Schule und die beiden sind seit Oktober auf der Südhalbkugel unterwegs) einen leckeren Kaffee getrunken haben, haben wir uns ins Getümmel von San Telmo gestürzt. Hunderte Flohmarktstände mit allerlei Krimskrams, Straßenmusik, viel Sonne und und vielen Menschen. Nach ein paar kleine Errungenschaften ging es ab nach Palermo....Read more

  • Day11

    Buenos Aires

    March 1, 2017 in Argentina

    The bus ride from Puerto Iguazu to Burnos Aires was 17 hours but felt like 5! National express and Megabus take note! We had fully reclining wide seats and two meals served, including wine! Films were played, thankfully the first few in English, but I think I followed Mission impossible 4 well in Spanish! Outside the windows again was an amazing show of lightning as the days tropical storm continued. For about £60 well worth it.

    We arrived in a bustling station, ducked into the metro where we struggled to get subecards to travel freely in BA. The locals have no English. We're going to have to pick up our Spanish game. There was a lot of simple spanish, miming and laughing at the gringos.

    We chilled at our new hostel and explored San Telmo a little. The area has an authentic feel with european like architecture thats a little rough around the edges. Walk a few meters down what looks like a run down street, and you come across a craft beer pub/ restraunt/ shop. If you don't look you might miss them. We ended our night with a treat. Steak!! We went to a local house called La Brigada, and it was amazing mouthwatering steak. Will have to survive on supermercado food and empanadas for the rest of our stay though!
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  • Day19

    El Zanjon

    March 6, 2018 in Argentina

    As I was getting ready for my trip to BA, my pal Jean Hyams told me that I “must visit” El Zanjon in San Telmo. She described it as a house, in which there had been archeological excavations, revealing tunnels underneath. While this description is 150% correct, I don’t think that I really understand what she meant. But, confident in her recommendation, we put it on the agenda.

    We arrived at 2:45, for a 3 pm tour. We rang the bell. A few minutes later, someone cracked the door open and told us to return at 2:55. Really? It seemed a little odd, and made me think of the Wizard of Oz turning away Dorothy and her pals. But, ok. So, we strolled around for 10 minutes, bought some candy that we were told was yummy, and returned at 2:55. At that point, there were about ten people gathered for the tour. The door opened, and we stepped inside to a large brick structure. We paid for tickets and waited for our guide.

    At 3:05, a guide arrived and began telling us the history of El Zanjon.

    The land originally sat just off the port, but had routine problems with flooding. To remedy the problems, the owners of the property on which the mansion was built, and the owners of the adjacent properties, built a series of tunnels and cisterns below the properties, into which the water collected. Over these tunnels and cisterns, huge mansions were built.

    The house called El Zanjon was one of these mansions — two stories, with high ceilings, and plenty of space for family and servants. The house was occupied by a single family from the mid 1800s until the late 1800s, when the family left to escape the cholera and yellow fever epidemics that spread across BA at that time. After the family left, the house became a conventillo, in which approximately 200 people lived with two bathrooms and a single kitchen. The structure continued as a conventillo until the 1960s, when it was abandoned due to crumbling.

    The structure sat abandoned until the 1990s, when a local wealthy businessman (whose family had made millions through owning a tannery) decided to buy it and renovate the building for a restaurant. At the time, San Telmo was still a poor neighborhood, but there were hopes for its resurgence. The restaurant would have been part of this move to gentrify the neighborhood. As the rebuilding of the structure began, the tunnels and cistern were discovered. Eventually, the gentleman who bought the building decided not to build the restaurant, but to instead engage in a private archeological dig, which would allow exploration of the history of El Zanjon and the surrounding area. Obviously, this project has taken decades, and has probably cost millions of dollars. The result is one of the first privately owned archeological dig, which has given us a fascinating look at the history of BA, not to mention a gorgeous building in which to wander. We all really enjoyed the tour.

    For our last evening in BA, we went to a much lauded restaurant called El Banquero. The chef, who worked at El Bulli in Spain, favors molecular gastronomy, in which each dish showcases the marriage of cooking and science. While the results were sometimes confusing, and never straightforward, many of the dishes were fantastically interesting. The first course was a trio of bites, which included a gyoza filled with alligator. One of the courses featured stewed llama meat, on a bed of three kinds of crispy quinoa — this was Arie’s favorite. My favorite was a riff on prosciutto and melon, where the prosciutto was made from cured llama meat and the melon was actually a sorbet. For one of the dessert courses we were presented with a “beet” on a bed of chocolate dirt. You used a spoon to crack the beet, and inside was a beet sorbet and creme fraiche — the taste was ok, but the presentation was fantastic. (I even got them to tell me how it was made, which involves using beet juice which is used to coat the inside of a balloon. Once it solidifies, the balloon is removed and through a hole in the bottom the chef inserts the sorbet and creme fraiche.). Kelly was a super good sport, as the meal — even for Arie and I — was at the edge, and we all got a great story and good meal.

    Hard to believe that we leave tomorrow.
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  • Day33

    Buenos Aires

    March 7, 2017 in Argentina

    Within the first ten minutes of arriving to BA, these two guys on my coach had already been robbed of their bags with their money and passports in. Luckily, I got a taxi from the bus station to my hostel so I was okay, but this instantly put me on high alert.

    When I arrived at my hostel I decided to try and work out what I'm going to do when I get to Torres Del Paine in Chile, as this requires some forward planning. With not all the availability for camping which I wanted, I think I have managed to book accommodation to hike the 'W' route. I'm so excited, this is one of the thing I've most been looking forward to when coming to South America.

    My hostel is by far the worst one I've stayed in South America so far. It's in a really good location and the rooms are actually quite nice but it just lacks any sort of vibe and is not good for solo travellers looking to meet people. Most of the people staying there just lie in their bed in the dark ALL day it's so weird. On the plus side though it was cheap, but I know for next time to not book somewhere on price but on atmosphere.

    Other than that, I'm loving BA and have managed to do the six things I wanted to do whilst there:

    1. Visit San Telmo market on Sunday and watch the tango in the market square which I loved (it felt like we had been transported back to the 1920s with all the music).

    2. Go to Recoleta cemetery and see Evita's grave - this place is eerie af and you wouldn't think a cemetery would be one of the must do things in any city but it was really good to see.

    3. Eat steak (parrilla) - this ended up being expensive but so worth it. I met a really great English couple in Iguazu and have been meeting up with them in BA. They described me eating steak as 'introducing a vegetarian to meat for the first time' which I found hilarious because they had to explain to me that bifo de chorizo was a cut of meat and wouldn't come out with chorizo on it.

    4. Visit La Boca, this really colourful neighbourhood in the south of BA which something I didn't want to leave without doing but the tour we went on was very disappointing.

    5. Go to La Bomba Di Tiempo on Monday night. Everyone who I've met that's been to BA raves about this so it was definitely good to go and see what all the fuss was about.

    6. Volunteer at Fundacion Banco de Alimentos - I've been planning to do some volunteering on my way round South America. This is a food bank in the suburbs of BA. I did two days of sorting food, checking sell-by dates and packing them into boxes for distribution and I really enjoyed myself (and met some really lovely people). For me, BA is a tale of two cities as there is a lot of poverty which you don't see in the city centre so it was interesting getting to know a different part of BA.

    Next stop is Ushuaia, the southern-most city in the world and the gateway to Patagonia. One of the things I have most been excited about this trip.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

San Telmo, San Telmas, Сан-Тельмо, Barrio San Telmo

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