Congreso, Abasto and Once

Posted by on May 5, 2013

Congreso, Abasto and Once

Head west from the Plaza de Mayo crossing Avenida 9 de Julio and continue until the road swerves to the right, opens out into a plaza and becomes Avenida Rivadavia. These are the plazas Moreno and Congreso and in front of the latter sits the congress building; a large, imposing and dirty building with a nice oxidised copper cupola in a pretty matte green colour. Standing 80m at its tallest point, it was Argentina’s tallest building at time of construction in 1906 with the decorations taking another 40 years to complete. The building would be quite impressive were it not so dirty. It houses the 72-seat Senate and 257-seat Chamber of Deputies. Opposite, the Plaza Congreso marks kilometre 0 for all highways in Argentina. Being the seat of the government is all very nice but perhaps its best feature is that it is located some 200 meters from I Love Arepas, which make Buenos Aires’ best arepa at a bargain 17pesos each! Definitely worth a visit.

Continue west along Avenida Rivadavia and one will find the street side markets of Once, which is where you go to buy clothing and weird doover-wacky things that you can’t find elsewhere. You can find most things within a few blocks, and at really good prices. I suspect the price drops the better you speak Spanish. I did manage to get another battery for my phone for the equivalent of $4.25 which I thought was pretty good.

The swarming activity in this bustling commercial centre is wholly disconnected from the tourist trade. No brochures and bundle deals. This is just cut price bargaining territory.


For those more inclined to the glass frontage and no price tags, then ‘El Abasto’ shopping plex is for you. All the known brands at the known prices, free wifi that functions as well as it’s price tag and an expansive foodcourt that boasts a dazzling array of colourful signs dispensing tasteless muck in size-regulated plastic trays with depressing efficiency. I was transported back to Eastland or Chadstone or Knox City wondering if these places weren’t actually connected by some cyberportal while scanning the signs for some offering that didn’t come with a regular carbonated sugar and food colouring. 37 seconds later I was dispatched with my tray of tasteless muck, clutching a carbonated something. I left as flat as my untouched soda 10 minutes later.