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08/12/2011 - 18:52hs
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Escape the obvious in Buenos Aires

Argentina’s capital is a destination for many trips with its broad avenues, myriad parks and retro feel. For veterans or first-timers, here are 5 tours to avoid the hyped up portion of the land of tan



Buenos Aires – Plain streets, broad avenues, parks everywhere, a certain retro feel, a glass of wine over lunch and dinner. For these and other reasons, the capital of Argentine, Buenos Aires, will always be a worthwhile trip. By the way, it is a destination to go to again and again, at the traveller’s will. Do not fear boredom. Here are five options of rides outside the more traditional tourist circuit in the land of tango. All are liable to please first-timers and veterans alike:

Japanese Garden

Fabio Saraiva
Fabio Saraiva

Japanese Garden: to feel like a local

Set in the Palermo neighbourhood, one of the city’s most sophisticated, Japanese Garden is in fact a small park in which to walk, relax, shop for plants, see carps, take courses and have lunch at a typical restaurant. Make believe that you are a local and walk unhurriedly, imagining how gorgeous is the sight for those privileged enough to live in one of the surrounding buildings, their verandas facing all that greenery.

On Saturdays and Sundays, at 11:00 am, guided tours are offered. The site is maintained by the Argentinean-Japanese Cultural Foundation, and the locals guarantee it is the best Japanese garden outside the land of the rising sun.

Evita Perón Museum

Fabio Saraiva
Fabio Saraiva

Evita Museum: videos and garments of the 'mother of the shirtless ones'

Little known even to Buenos Aires dwellers and also set in Palermo, the museum dedicated to the former Argentinean first lady provides a good overview of what Eva Perón’s figure meant, and still means, to people in the country. Highlights include video footage and audio recordings of the “mother of the shirtless,” materials which help foreigners understand the power of Evita’s charisma.

Pay attention to the garments (some of the best dresses worn by the muse are on display) and to the pamphlets and books promoting social works of the Perón administration; these are records of an important time in the political history of Argentina and South America. You are sure to have a great time.

National Museum of Fine Arts

Infinitely less hyped than its near-neighbouring Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, aka Malba, the National Museum of Fine Arts holds good surprises to visitors. The building is large and calls for a three-hour stay (two, in the least) to be seen without hurrying. The reward? Works by artists such as Goya, Monet and Rodin, among many others.

Palermo, Palermo, Palermo

Fabio Saraiva
Fabio Saraiva

The Flower of Palermo: worth the walk between museums

Good-looking, posh, pleasant and safe, the neighbourhood of the museums deserves a slow stroll, a walk from street to street, from park to park. In between one stop and another, before taking a cab back downtown, where most hotels are, sit on a bench in some square, take pictures of the movement, and see how beautiful the huge flower on Praça das Nações Unidas (United Nations Square) is, for instance. It is a 20-metre tall sculpture consisting of a flower whose petals open up during the day and close at night.

Another oddity of the region that only those who walk through it notice: the buildings’ facades are signed by the architects who designed them. It is only fair, isn’t it?

Ateneo Bookstore

Fabio Saraiva
Fabio Saraiva

Ateneo Grand Splendid: glamour of times past and even bargains

The leading bookstore chain in Argentina, it has a unit called Ateneo Grand Splendid, on Santa Fé Avenue, which is the apple of its eyes. Set in a building where a theatre used to be, the shop retains the site’s original glamour. Where the audience used to be, now are shelves packed with books, in the ground floor and the top ones. On the stage, tables at which to have a capuccino in between one purchase and another, at the store’s café. Pay attention to the lighting project, which is loyal to the theatre’s concept. Another detail to watch carefully: the fresco on the dome, signed by the Italian Nazareno Orlandi.

Even if you are not the greatest of readers and don’t want to buy books in Spanish, do go. The address is worth a visit, and furthermore, CDs and DVDs are often available at lower prices than in Brazil.

Service

Buenos Aires Tourist Information
http://www.bue.gov.ar/

Japanese Garden
http://www.jardinjapones.org.ar/

Evita Perón Museum
http://www.museoevita.org/

National Museum of Fine Arts
http://www.mnba.org.ar/index.php

Ateneo Bookstore
Address: Santa Fé Avenue 1860, Recoleta
http://www.tematika.com/

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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