San Telmo is the oldest barrio (neighborhood) of Buenos Aires and you can feel the rich history of the city as you walk down it's cobblestone streets. Beginning in the late 1800's, there was a huge surge of immigrants from England, Italy & Russia that called San Telmo home thereby making this the most multicultural neighborhood in Buenos Aires, The bohemian spirit still lives on today being the home to many of the city's artists who I'm sure are drawn to the abundance of galleries and cafes in this architecturally-rich barrio.
One of my favorite stops, in any city or town, is a beautiful coffee shop and San Telmo has a stunning one. Café Rivas is located on a quiet street away from all the action and is the things that Instagram dreams are made of - the prettiest Tiffany blue walls, gorgeous pastries and a delicious cup of jasmine tea. At many times during my trip, I was struck by how Buenos Aires feels like an European city and for one hour Cafe Rivas transported me to 1940's Paris.
If there is a day of the week to be in San Telmo - it is most definitely Sunday! Sunday is filled with activity here starting with the antique flea market during the day and the people'e milonga in the evening. Both are held in Plaza Dorrego, a square located in the heart of San Telmo. As I discovered, rain (which it did) or shine the flea market goes on and spills out far beyond the plaza - you just keep walking down Defensa street and will be welcomed by booths ranging from hand painted signs to antique jewelry.
Of course, an afternoon of shopping will leave one famished and the perfect place to head is the Mercado de San Telmo. Occupying an entire block, this indoor market is filled with stalls selling a wide variety of vegetables, meat and fruit. I loved looking up and seeing the beautiful Italian-style framework of the roof. There are tons of food stalls and open seating so you can grab a buttery croissant and coffee and give your feet a rest. In one corner of the market you will find the famous hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint - Nuestra Parilla. They only have six things on the menu, the most popular item being the choripán, a simple sandwich of sausage (chori) and bread (pan). Delicious and extremely filling!
Due to the rain, I was unable to go to the La milonga del Indio (people's milonga) which takes place on Sunday evenings starting at 7PM. Locals meet in the Plaza to dance tango and it is supposed to be a lovely way to experience the local culture. Though I was sad to miss it, stumbling upon the world's cutest rock star seemed to somehow make up for it. I think he shows better than anyone the warmth and artistic culture of San Telmo!
Pallavi Naidu, founder of VoyJoie and a serial world traveler, shares her tips for traveling with ease and joy. Get ready to pack your bags...the VoyJoie blog abides by the principle that temptation is the greatest persuader! Sign up for our newsletter @ bottom of the page.