Perhaps one of the things that strike you most when you visit Buenos Aires for the first time is its greenery. To the European eye, Buenos Aires boasts a collection of trees that would be unthinkable in the city centers of Madrid or Barcelona, to mention some. I still think this is one of its biggest draws, in spite of the dirt in the streets which is the tendency, due to poor city management. But the green aspect is thanks to a consistent policy of tree planting during the Sarmiento and Avellaneda’s presidencies in the late 1800’s.
Today, you can see a variety of South American trees such as the ‘Lapacho’ (Tabebuia– as seen in Av.9 Julio and Cordoba St.) the ‘Jacaranda’ (as the ones in Plaza San Martín, Recoleta), the ‘Ombú’,(in many parks and squares) the ‘Palo Borracho’(as in front of the hotel Madero, in Puerto Madero)
And even the famous Palm trees and Paraisos (Melia Azedarach) from the Himalayas which can be seen lining up the streets anywhere in the city.
Have a look at these links and enjoy Buenos Aires greenery!
Caminito, Barrio de La Boca, Buenos Aires
I had lived in Buenos Aires for more than 30 years and never been to La Boca or Caminito. Then, when I was living in Catalonia and came to visit my homeland, I gave it a try. I took a touristic bus (hop-on-hop off) which leaves you right at the entrance of the ‘strip’ called ‘Caminito’, in the La Boca neighbourhood. Caminito takes its name after the famous tango composed by Juan de Dios Filiberto which was inspired by Peñaloza’s lyrics.
What catches your attention immediately is the colourful scenario: houses painted in the richest and most lively colours and shops with their names embellished with filigree decorations typical of the Argentine artistic tradition of the early 1900’s.
Just in front of the bus stop, you can see The Nicolas Avellaneda Bridge on your left. This bridge, the biggest in Buenos Aires (65 length x 12 width x 45 m. height) was inaugurated in 1940 and was in origin a ferry or moving platform used to carry goods for the industries that flourished in La Boca.
As you move along the strip you’ll see plenty of artists in the streets which remind you a lot of Montmartre: painters, dancers (tango mainly but sometimes folk dancing too), singers, photographers, etc.
You won’t pass by the famous ‘conventillos’ (typical communal houses for the immigrants, mainly Italians) without surrendering to the temptation: step into them, explore, get fascinated by its history and their objects and their architecture, from tiles to roof.
And if you have more time, visit the Benito Quinquela’s Museum of Art: Benito was one of the artists who best captured La Boca and its people’s essence and legacy.
Here are some interesting links, in Spanish:
People who visited Caminito & La Boca, give their views:
How to get there and what to do:
Last but not least, to bear in mind what La Boca is and feel its essence, I leave you with a poem by Enrique Cadícamo, famous tango writer:
BARRIO BOQUENSE (1906)
Media noche en la ribera,
duerme el fangoso Riachuelo,
la luna es un espejuelo
que riela sobre el verdín
entre fantasmas de hollín
y sombras de terciopelo
En el dock duerme un velero
soñando en un contrabando
y otro, quizá añorando
los tifones tropicales
o el furor de los maestrales
sobre las jarcias aullando-
En el cercano café
de la calle Necochea,
en su fueyedormilón
un tango muy retozón
y con gracia lo florea.
Un guapode La Ensenada,
taitamuy duro de boca,
es el que achica y provoca
a pesados y a matones;
se llama El Tano Barone
y es el que roncaen la Boca.
Barrio boquense de chapas,
van mis versos al asalto
y aunque no piquen muy alto
me atrevo a pronosticar:
la Boca no ha de dejar
que la profane el asfalto.
Autor: Enrique Cadícamo Obra: “Viento que lleva y trae”