Posted by on May 3, 2013


Enter Cony – couchsurfing friend, or let me rephrase that: friend who I met through couchsurfing. She offered to show me parts of the city and the first destination was Palermo, where we strolled north from the Plaza Italia to the Planetarium before sharing mate on the banks of Lago de Palermo in the Plaza Holanda. This was during the Easter week off, so every weekday was like a Sunday afternoon and the parks were full of people doing much the same. We were accompanied by a flock of geese. By the way, you can’t translate ‘tomar mate’, but think along the lines of ‘reflectively sipping’ a bitter green tea and you will be close. I will dedicate a post to this charming custom.

Sadly, I didn’t actually get a picture of us at these outings.

Plaza Italia and the Planetarium


Walking, one wouldn’t know where Recoleta ends and Palermo starts, they are right next to each other and share architectural style and cafe culture feel. With Cony, I walked through Plaza Italia (ground zero of Palermo I would say) up past the zoo to the Planetarium and a week later I returned to attend a benefit concert at the Planetarium for victims of the flooding in Buenos Aires and nearby districts in which more than 50 people died and thousands were flooded and without power.

I know of two distinct parts to Palermo, perhaps there are more but I stayed several days with a couch host in Palermo Botánico – the pretty part and took the opportunity to stroll through the Bosque de Palermo – a large park with trees bordering the Japanese garden, which I also visited. Quaint and immaculately maintained, this touristic destination was picturesque but not amazing or particularly interesting. Recommended for tourists with small children.

Japanese Garden


Then there’s Palermo Hollywood – bars and trendy nightlife. Not quite sure why it gets the Hollywood nickname, but hey. I only went there once, at night obviously, and didn’t see much.

Palermo also mixes old with new in typicall Buenos Aires style. Where I stayed with my couchsurfing host Ana in Palermo Botánico along the streets of República Árabe Siria between Avenida del Libertador and Avenida General Las Heras, the houses are old-style french constructions shaded by mature trees which line the avenues – it is the Buenos Aires of long ago before its cramped modern legacy of tasteless concrete and sky-reaching steel that is increasingly dominating the city.

The Contrast