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Sunday, September 23, 2007

San Telmo #2: bohemian Buenos Aires

San Telmo is a gritty suburb of skinny cobblestone streets with a mishmash of colonial and belle epoque architecture. It often gets a bad wrap, accused of being 'touristy'. But San Telmo is actually one of Buenos Aires' most bohemian barrios, with a working class population, uni students sinking cheap beers each night in its myriad bars, and emerging young artists and designers hanging their stuff in the cooperative fashion and art spaces. Weekends are when the 'tourists' literally flood San Telmo's streets for the lively street market, coming from all over Buenos Aires and beyond for the antiques, bric-a-brac and hippy handicrafts. Orchestras and bands perform on the pavements. Merchants sell hot nuts, corn on the cob and empanadas. The tango is danced on the street and after the markets are packed away locals fill the square of Plaza Dorrego for a milonga, or social dance. While we like the barrio of a weeknight when the streets can be eerily empty and quiet, and most people wandering them are locals, weekends are when we like San Telmo best, when the barrio really buzzes, and everybody enjoys being a tourist. Even if it's just for a day.


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Listen, ANY place that sells hot corn on the cob on the street has my vote! Sounds amazing!

Lara Dunston said...

I'm with you, Maryam, but I love the Mexican version best, sprinkled with chilli flakes, or better yet, off the cob, in a cup, with lime juice, mayonnaise and chilli! YUM!