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Thursday, August 16, 2007


Hostel Buenos Aires, the place in a hot city
Although Greater Buenos Aires has swollen to 13 million people, most tourists stick to the Capital Federal, which is home to a mere three million porteños (locals) and is divided into 48 barrios (neighbourhoods).
Once you get your head around the barrios and sub-neighbourhoods that complicate the city's layout, Buenos Aires becomes easier to navigate.
The Microcentro, or downtown area, includes the shopping and entertainment precincts along the Avenidas of Corrientes, Córdoba and Santa Fe, and the pedestrian-only streets of Florida and Lavalle, only one block from Hostel Colonial your best choice in Hostel Buenos Aires.
Hostel Colonial is located only one block to the pedestrian streets Florida and Lavalle The Avenida 9 de Julio is an unmistakable point of reference; its 16 lanes of traffic run from San Telmo in the south to Retiro up north, nearly to the Hostel Colonial, with a sky-piercing white obelisk at its centre. The dockside barrio of Puerto Madero runs north-south along the Río de la Plata and is very pedestrian friendly, only four blocks in south direction to the Hostel Colonial.

At the eastern end of Avenida de Mayo, one of the Microcentro's main east-west boulevards is the Plaza de Mayo. It attracts a bountiful blend of tourists, students and political activists, and is surrounded by many important buildings, including the famous Presidential Palace (Casa Rosada) and main cathedral. South of Microcentro are the faded architecture and cobbled streets of colonial San Telmo, buildings with particular style , Hostel Colonial, Do you remember other previous post?, home of Buenos Aires' sultry tango, and La Boca, the tough port barrio and colourful working class heart of Buenos Aires. Uptown is the ritzy enclave of Recoleta, while the tree-lined Palermo has parks aplenty and Buenos Aires' hottest bars and ethnic eats.
Around Hostel Colonial and more
City/Region: Buenos Aires
Opposite the Casa Rosada on the Plaza de Mayo is the resplendent former Spanish town hall, the Cabildo, a fascinating old colonial building fronted by arches that once encircled the plaza, back during the May Revolution in 1810. The guards outside the building are members of the revered Regimiento de Patricios, which was formed in 1806. They still wear their traditional uniforms, designed nearly 200 years ago. The interior houses a small museum, which displays some interesting architectural relics, religious icons as well as watercolor paintings by Enrique Pellegrini.
Address: Calle Bolívar 65, 6 blocks from Hostel Colonial.
Phone Number: (011) 4334 1782
Transport: Subte to Plaza de Mayo, Catedral or Bolívar
Hours: Tuesday to Friday 12.30am to 7pm, Sunday 3pm to 7pm
Casa Rosada
City/Region: Buenos Aires
One of the world's most famous balconies juts out of Argentina's Presidential Palace, known as the Casa Rosada. The pink building has been the scene of many a political rally, particularly during the regime of the notorious and tragic Juan and Eva Peron. The Italian style building, fronted with palm trees and fountains, was painted pink when it was converted from a Customs and Post Office building into the presidential palace. President Sarmiento decided to appease opposing political parties by merging red and white into a pink color scheme for the palace. Today the building houses a small basement museum displaying some presidential artifacts. Each evening a small platoon of mounted grenadiers emerge from the guardhouse to lower the flag on the Plaza, adding a touch of pomp and ceremony to the pretty building.
Address: Casa Rosada is situated at the eastern end of the Plaza de Mayo, 7 blocks from Hostel Colonial
Phone Number: (0)11 4344 3802
Hours: Museum: 10am-6pm (weekdays), 2pm-6pm (Sundays). Tours are at 11am and 4pm. It is recommended that one call in advance to arrange an English-language tour
Admission: Free
Catedral Metropolitana
City/Region: Buenos Aires
Other important buildings around the Plaza de Mayo include the Neoclassical Catedral Metropolitana, which houses the tomb of General José de San Martin, the revered hero who liberated Argentina from the Spanish. The cathedral was periodically rebuilt and renovated since the foundation stone was laid in the 16th century. The current structure was finally completed in the mid-19th century. The interior has recently been renovated and the gilded columns, Venetian mosaic floors, and silver-plated altar are in pristine condition.
Address: Plaza de Mayo, 6 blocks from Hostel Colonial.
Phone Number: (0)11 4331 2845
Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 7.30pm
Admission: Free
La Recoleta Cemetery
City/Region: Buenos Aires
An unlikely tourist attraction, La Recoleta Cemetery is well worth visiting to see its magnificent display of monuments and the ostentatious tombs of Argentina's rich and famous. One of the more modest, but by far the most celebrated, is the grave of Eva Peron. Every day thousands of visitors come to leave flowers at the door of the Duarte family mausoleum, where she is buried. Forty years on, Evita remains both the most revered and reviled figure in Argentina. Love her or loather her, her spirit lives on in La Recoleta.
Address: Calle Junín 1760, 5´from Hostel Colonial
Phone Number: (0)11 4803 1594
Hours: Daily 7am to 5.45pm. Guided tours at 2.30pm on last Sunday of month (March to December)
Admission: Free
Plaza Dorrego
City/Region: Buenos Aires
Plaza Dorrego lies in San Telmo, the bohemian artists' quarter and the birthplace of tango, only 15 minutes walking from Hostel Colonial. The tiny square is surrounded by elegant houses, now mostly converted into antique shops and bars whose tables overflow onto the street. On Sundays the plaza is the setting for the ancient antique market, the Feria de San Pedro Telmo. Though you are unlikely to discover any bargains you may find an interesting souvenir or two. The stallholders pack up their wares at 5pm and the square becomes the setting for informal tango dances. This is as popular with the locals as tourists and even the inexperienced may be tempted to try it out. There are numerous museums nearby the plaza worth visiting, including the Museo Histórico Nacional and the Museo de Arte Moderno.
Teatro Colón (Closed)
City/Region: Buenos AiresThe Teatro Colón opened in 1908 is the second largest performing arts theater in the southern hemisphere, second only to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. It was designed by Italian architect Francisco Tamburri and is an Italian Renaissance-style building with a seating capacity of 2,500 (although more people have been squeezed in at a time). It has hosted many international performers including Nijinsky, Pavlov, Pavarotti and Domingo. Guided tours take visitors to the theater's workshops, rehearsal rooms and auditorium and stage.
Address: Libertad 621, 6 blocks from Hostel Colonial (Theater entrance and box office); Pasaje Toscanini 1168 (Tours entrance)Phone Number: (0)11 4378 7132/3
Transport: Subte to Carlos Pellegrini station
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 4pm, Sunday 11am to 3pm (daily guided tours in English (11am, 1pm, 3pm) or Spanish)
Admission: $12, concessions available
La Boca
City/Region: Buenos Aires
La Boca ('the mouth') is the most colorful neighborhood or barrio in Buenos Aires, original home of soccer legend Diego Maradona and the tango, 10 minutes in taxi from Hostel Colonial. An assortment of brightly painted low houses made of wood and metal line the streets, including the famed main street Caminito, in this poor but happy area full of artisans, painters, street performers, cantinas and open-air tango shows. The neighborhood was originally settled by Italian immigrants, most of whom came to work in the docks. Today it is frequented by crowds of tourists who come to soak up the atmosphere.
For more information, Hostel Colonial your choice in Hostel Buenos Aires

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