It seems I have inadvertently started a string of blogs describing the various barrios in Buenos Aires (see San Telmo). I've had good feedback from people telling me they would like to see/hear more ... so I suppose it's "on with the show"
When I first contemplated coming for an extended period to Buenos Aires, I had no real idea of where I would like to be. I have stayed in "El Centro", near the downtown city centre, and in my other life (before retirement) was most familiar with Echeveria (the airport area) on the south west side. After much investigation, it turned out that Palermo Nuevo suited us the best. It has a plentitude of shops, green spaces and parks all over the place and best of all, is quite near the golf course. Perfect for us. We did the internet search exercise and found a place for 3 months last year and a different apartment (again in Palermo Nuevo) for 4 months this year. Obviously we like it here.
Palermo is one of the largest barrios in what is known as the Federal Capital Region and also in the province of Buenos Aires. The city is of the same name, which you already know, so you can imagine the "politicking" that goes on around here. In any case, Palermo is large enough that locals refer to various places in the barrio by location or description. There is Palermo Viejo (old Palermo) also known as Palermo Soho. There is Palermo Chico (little Palermo), Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Nuevo (new Palermo), and last but not least, Alto Palermo (high Palermo, also known quite simply as "Shopping") - the main shopping district with the Alto Palermo shopping centre (like Surrey Centre in Vancouver or Eaton's centre in Toronto) as the main attraction.
Palermo Viejo is a really neat area. There you can find a goodly number of furnished apartments for rent short term. There is also quite a number of youth hostels and B&B's advertized, so there is no lack of accommodation. The streets are all tree lined, the roads and lane-ways cobblestone in many places, and the number of good restaurants and bars in this area boggles the mind. There are also some of the best night clubs here as well, although many newer ones have opened recently in Palermo Hollywood.
Needless to say this area attracts the party goers, the younger travellers, and some folks like us who refuse to acknowledge our age or the passage of time.
Palermo Hollywood got it's name from the fact that it hosted a number of movie studios back in the early days. It too has it's fair share of restaurants, night cubs and tapas bars. It shares its unofficial border with Palermo Viejo and it's totally acceptable if you start the night out in Viejo and end it in Hollywood. All part of the fun & games.
Palermo Chico is the closest part of Palermo to the downtown city centre. By heading south out of Palermo you get into the barrio of Recoleta, which I will keep for another "spiel". In "Chico" there are many very posh apartment buildings, wide streets and what seems like wide sidewalks to match. The Japanese Zen garden is here, there are a couple of additional parks to wander through and one of the nicest golf driving-range complexes I've ever seen. Which figures I suppose. It is a wealthy area and hosts quite a number of foreign embassies, each in it's own what looks like a very old, majestic and imposing building. Except the Canadian embassy (of course). Very modest building, not big by usual standards, and as a citizen of Canada, getting in to see someone is nearly impossible. We tried. Ended up talking to a secretary on an internal embassy phone line. But I digress.
My Palermo is Palermo Nuevo (I mentioned that earlier) and I can't think of a nicer place to be. We have a huge park, with a lake, a large rose garden, walking tracks, all within a two blocks of our flat. There is also the Cancha de Golf Municipal de Palermo (the golf course), the Hippodrome (they have horse races on Mondays and Saturdays), and the main Polo grounds for the Argentine Polo Association (we started the 2012 season this month - games every weekend). There is a shopping centre (Jumbo) and a number of other stores and bodegas within a three block radius of where we are, plus a number of fairly reasonable restaurants along the streets surrounding our building. And to add to the ambiance, if you wish to go anywhere, the #34 bus line has a stop right outside our front door.
Palermo also plays host to the city zoo and a botanical garden that doubles as the central meeting place for all the stray cats in the city. They tell me there are more than a 1000 of them, and park visitors regularly feed them .. some cats even get to go to a vet if required. As I've said ... they really love their "mascotas" here.
There are many other barrios in B.A. Each has it's own personality and flavour ... but for total enjoyment and ambiance, I love San Telmo but prefer to live in Palermo. It is another of my favourites.
To see more of Palermo, go to http://globalodyssey.ca/p1031749601 or http://globalodyssey.ca/p937587588