We were so lucky to have heard about the Buenos Aires bike tours, and we took advantage of it and made a Monday morning reservation. The tours can have up to 10 people, and we were the only 2 signed up for the 9 am parks and plazas of Palermo and Recoleta tour. It was 100% chance of rain, and although the sun moved in and out from behind the ominous clouds, we were lucky to have only felt a few drops!
Our bike tour guide was a young local that has lived in Paris and has spent time in New York as well. He took us around, this area being where he lives and where we were staying too, so it gave us a good sense of these barrios as if we were locals. We went to the cemetery and the Libertore Avenue, both of which we had seen before. But he also took us to new places to us like the horse races and gave us a little bit of a history behind it. At 9 am, the jockeys were exercising the horses for the day.
We went to the rose garden, and unfortunately on Mondays it is closed for maintenance. But we still were able to sit on a bench around the perimeter and enjoy a break for yerba mate and dulce de leche pastries. We chatted about his life in BsAs, in Paris, and New York. We passed the mate gourd around like the locals do.
From there, we also went to a bridge over Libertore Avenue in Recoleta and it was a great view of the boulevard and that part of the city. After we said our goodbyes at the end of the tour, our guide suggested some places close by for lunch. We went with his recommendation of the best burgers in BsAs which was close enough to the apartment that we could nap right after we ate and rest from the eventful day. The burgers were juicy, and I even got a Quilmes, the Argentinian beer, which was super refreshing after a bike ride.
For dinner, we went to a local parrilla that a blog recommended in our area. It was not as fancy as the first parrilla we went to, but it was also not as casual and family-owned like the second one we had been to. It was just in the middle and I can say, with experience now, I much prefer the food and the atmosphere from the quaint family-owned parrilla. However, at this parrilla, we ordered a bottle of wine to go with our grilled meat and we saw the penguin jugs on the wall. We asked if we could have it served out of one of the penguins, and our server happily cleaned one out for us, just so we could have that experience. Of the two pieces of meat that we ordered, I really loved the rump roast. It was tender and juicy and had a delicious char from the grill on the edges. There was just enough fat to give it flavor like the Brazilian cut of meat called picanha.
For dessert that night, we still had room for some ice cream! Every one says you have to try the ice cream here because it is more like gelato. We ordered two waffle cones, mine had almond gelato and S ordered tiramisu and mint. It was a delicious treat, but the owner and his family that worked in the shop were so nice that they made it a place to remember. Even if they didn't speak English and our Spanish was terrible, he taught us what they call a waffle cone, and joked with us that in English, it's called a cucurucho too.
Our last day we spent hitting up some restaurants and pastry shops that we wanted to try before we left. We had a cheese and wine tasting at Bar Du Marche, which was relaxing and delicious, and kept us dry from the rain for a few hours. We also tracked down some souvenirs for friends and family. We used this last day as an opportunity to take advantage of the tiny pastry shop below our apartment. We asked the owner what his favorite pastry was, which was a delicious croissant (medialunas) and we also got a dulche de leche sweet bun and my favorite, a lemon tart. All were good, but the lemon one was so great I wish we could take a few of those on the flight to Brazil with us!
Speaking of, we leave shortly for our flight to Brazil today. We will be at the Bento Goncalves winery for one night, and from there we will have dinner the next night in Porto Alegre with my family. After that, we go into the south of Brazil, into the countryside where my grandparents live, surrounded by vineyards and tobacco farms and we spend the rest of our trip relaxing by the pool and roaming the lands. Wi-fi in the south is not the greatest, so I don't think I will be able to post after this. So until next time!