Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Buenos Aires - Some Final Thoughts

We're currently jostling back and forth at 38,000 feet as we head back to the states. I guess now's as good a time as any to put down some overall thoughts about Buenos Aires. Here they are, in no particular order:

There's lots to do. This is the first time in years we've spent 7 days in one location on a trip. There was no hotel and city hopping. One might think that we'd see all the sites the city had to offer - but this is far from the case. There are plenty of museums, tours and other stuff I'd love to see.

BA is big. When Shira and I travel we tend to do lots of walking. In many ways, BA is good for this - the streets all have sidewalks, and the traffic is easy to negoiate. But the distances are larger than we expected by looking at the map. What looked on the map to be an easy stroll would turn into an hour long march.

WiFi is everywhere. They love their free WiFi and it seems like restaurants, the subway and anywhere else folks can stand around, has it. That was really handy.

English isn't spoken as often as we expected. As we've mentioned, we were surprised by the lack of English we saw and heard. Museums, the Tango show, and other public items would often have little to no English. We were also surprised how few American Tourists we ran into. In the end, we really didn't have any problems getting by - and folks often knew enough English to get the job done. It was actually kind of nice not always being babied like most Americans would expect. If I were to come back, I'd invest in a good English-Spanish phrase book or app for my cell phone.

We really liked our hotel. We stayed at the Marriott Plaza, and found the breakfast, room and executive lounge to all be quite well done. The concierges were quite knowledgeable and offered easy and dependedable recommendations. The location was excellent too - near the super shopping on Calle Florida, the historic sites of San Martin and the metro.

This is a plan-ahead type of city. With some tours in English only available a couple times a week, and with some museums holding odd hours like 2pm - 7pm, you'll definitely want to plan ahead as much as possible. Perhaps we've been spoiled by the regular hours at the Smithsonian, but you'll want to be prepared here for anything but that.

The food was excellent. Because we are eating either vegetarian or Kosher, we tended to eat a lot of Italian food. We typically had Pizza or Pasta at least once a day. But this wasn't a bad thing, as they do Italian food really well. The kosher scene here was quite good, though we didn't explore it as much as we probably could have. Oh, and the Burger Kings and McDonalds are really handy - they are very clean, have excellent bathrooms and offer WiFi and sometimes free Internet access terminals.

Overall, we really enjoyed BA and I'd definitely recommend it. If you like a place with plenty to explore and do, I think you'll really enjoy it.

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