The Silver Backpacker – Buenos Aires: Chapter 2

Sunday afternoon passtime, Buenos Aires San Telmo is the oldest barrio (neighborhood) of Buenos Aires. It is a well-preserved area and is best characterized by its colonial buildings, cafes, tango parlours (Milongas) and antique shops.

Leaving our hotel, close to Plaza Mayo, we headed along the cobbled streets of San Telmo past churches and street markets selling the ubiquitous gentleman's headgear, the slouch hat. Our first San Telmo destination this day was Lezama Park, easily found by continuing along Calle Defensa. Lezama Park has four interesting features and an amazing history. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is situated on the Western side as the Park is approached and on the opposite side is the 'Monumento a la Cordialidad argentine -uruguaya', (Argentina- Uruguay warmth Monument), a gift made in 1936 to commemorate the 400 year foundation of Buenos Aires. The monument is made of bronze.

Caminito, Buenos Aires Heading away from the park we now entered the barrio of La Boca. It is known among sports fans for 'La Bombonera, the home of Boca Juniors, one of the world's best known football clubs. La Boca is a popular destination for tourists, with its colourful houses and pedestrian street, the Caminito, where tango artists perform and tango-related memorabilia is sold. Of course La Bombonara dominates the La Boca landscape but only a short walk further opens up the colourful vistas of Caminito. Cafes, Bars and Restaurants are a plenty all a blaze of colour, most with music and Tango dancing, whether staged, as above, or just plainly on the sidewalk. What a fun hour we spent sat at this place, enjoying a few Argentinian Quilmes Beers while other passing tourists also joined the fun. La Boca sits near the mouth of the Riachuelo River.

Gentleman's headgear 'the slouch hat' The Nicolas Avellaneda Bridge, or at least the original version, dates back to 1914 and ran, as a 'transporter bridge' until 1960. In 1999 it was included as a National Historic Landmark.

We wandered back to our hotel, soaking up both the sun and the atmosphere, and taking in our final venue for the day, a return visit to a church we passed earlier and a closer look at the Mausoleo del General Manuel Belgrano which stands in the grounds of the Convent de Santo Domingo.

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Richard Okill

Retired naval officer & businessman

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