I love Buenos Aires (BA). BA is one of those unique, terribly fascinating cities that one stumbles upon, falls in love with and keeps coming back to. One of my favourite things to do in Buenos Aires is join in the festivities during the Sunday Market in the borough of San Telmo. San Telmo (map) is a rustic, atmospheric borough that’s packed with antique shops, art galleries and cosy restaurants and cafés. Defensa is the main thoroughfare and runs through the heart of San Telmo from the Plaza de Mayo (where the Casa Rosada is situated).
San Telmo is a pretty tranquil neighbourhood during the week; most tourists tend to stick around the main square Plaza Dorrego where there are various cafés which double as public seating for the many tango performances on the square. However, every Sunday, the borough bursts into life with its world-renowned street market. The Plaza Dorrego and Defensa Street are packed with stalls selling antiques, books and many curiosities, whilst the huge variety of street performers is astounding.
Sundays in San Telmo is absolutely a feast for the senses. The sights and sounds, and throngs of people are simply fascinating. If you’re lucky, you might catch the beats of the 40-member strong samba band which performs along Defensa street/Plaza Dorrego in the late-afternoon. It is an awesome sight and the beats are irresistible: you’ll soon find yourself dancing or swaying along to the powerful samba rhythm.
The markets slowly clear out in the late afternoon and make way for more music and dance performances. Plaza Dorrego is where it all happens. It’s great to just sit here with a drink (I recommend a sangria!) and/or a meal and watch the world go by. The people-watching is some of the best I’ve experienced – there’s just so much to see: tourists mixing with the locals, gorgeous tango and flamenco dancers, and vendors selling small trinkets. In the evening, the mats are rolled out in a section of the square, the speakers are installed and a DJ takes his place on a rickety wooden stool. Mesmerising tango and flamenco music quickly fills the square and the locals jump to their feet.
This is a sight no visitor will easily forget. The music is loud and the locals get together and dance the whole evening. The passion, the sensual movements and the nimble footwork are absolutely stunning. Where else in the world would you have the samba, the tango and the flamenco all within the same square on the same day?!
Buenos Aires is simply marvellous and if you’re visiting, make sure you set aside some time in your itinerary for the fabulous Sundays in San Telmo.
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