5 Creative Ways to Practice Spanish in Buenos Aires

After a dozen flight hours, a taxi from Ezeiza airport, and a hot bath, you face your first real choice in Buenos Aires. What do I do next? Whilst mulling over it,  glass of wine in hand, that funky Latin feeling starts to tickle you into practicing your Spanish. Here are five suggestions to make it all the more fun, and some tips to master the local lingo.

 1)    Spanglish Exchange

talk

(Terence Chang)

It’s like Speed Dating, but without the obliged romantic interest! You’ll have five 20 minute conversations (10 minutes per language) with locals wishing to practice their English. They currently meet in 3 locations and you can find all the details at http://spanglishexchange.com/

2)    Spanish Futbol Camp

futbol

(Photo by Rama V)

Whether you’re for Messi or Cristiano, there’s no doubt that Argentina’s soccer players are amongst the best in the world.  Imagine being able to learn Spanish while taking futbol lessons in a professional team’s complex with its youth players and managers. With a variety of options according to your stay time, it’s a must for any sports fan.  http://www.bafutboltours.com/

3)    Eat! And Listen

tira

(Diego Torres Silvestre)

Nothing better than a taste of Argentina’s world famous Bife de Chorizo to soothe your appetite, or you can learn the name of other meat cuts here, and then tour the city parillas looking for your cut of choice. Mastering the menu in Spanish may be challenging, but the mozos (waiters) are usually friendly and offer a helping hand. You can’t leave the country until you’ve learnt how to say chimichurri properly. 

4)    Tangoke!

tanguero

(Brainbitch)

Tango lyrics are as passionate as its music. Learning their meaning is a way into the heart of Argentina’s culture. Google translate in hand, you can beef up your Lunfardo skills while you drink a glass of Malbec wine and sing along to melancholic tunes. There’s tons of playlists, for example Karaoke Tangos for you to practice before you hit the milongas, and if you really want to master the art you can take a tango singing lesson in the nostalgic Almagro neighborhood with Anna Franken

5)    Volunteer

helping hand

(Leo Grübler)

If helping others is your thing, BA Volunteer is a great chance of knowing the country through and with those in need. While you learn Spanish, you’ll also help leave a sustainable impact on the organization you volunteer for.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by Sebastián-Dario)

If you´re visiting the Recoleta area, stop by Centro Cultural Recoleta where Pablo Siquier murals are being displayed.  Also in the area is La Biela Café, a lovely traditional spot to stop for a coffee break.

Of course you don´t want to miss out on tango dancing while you´re visiting Buenos Aires, so stop by Club Gricel where a milonga will be taking place from 8.30pm-4am.  To ensure your safety we recommend organizing transport with the hotel. Rioja 1180, Constitución. infoclubgricel@gmail.com. 4957-7157

Tuesday

(Photo by luzologia)

Put on your galoshes because the forecast says rain! Our suggestion; head to one of the city´s many art museums and explore the rich cultural side of Buenos Aires.

Later on stop by Sugar and meet other fellow travelers at the Beerlingual Bilingual Trivia Night from 7pm-9pm. Costa Rica 4619¸ Palermo.

Another option is Ill Ballo del Mattone where you can catch some live acoustic guitar music by Jerónimo Guiraud at 8pm, and enjoy a wonderful plate of homemade pasta. Gorriti 5737 tel 47764247 reservas@ilballo.tv

Wednesday

(Photo by Sam Kelly)

Teresita´s Argentine barbeque and empanada cooking class is only on from November-April so don´t miss out on it! The class includes a trip to the butcher shop, a cooking demonstration, and a delicious meal paired with Argentine wines. From 11am-4pm. More information here.

In the evening Boca will be playing a football (soccer) match against Fluminense at the ‘bombonera’ (Boca Stadium). Go to Boca Experience to coordinate your visit to the stadium, the museum and the match.

Roger Waters, the British legend that was once part of Pink Floyd, will be playing 8 dates at the River Plate Stadium!  Tickets here.

Thursday

(Photo by colros)

Luis Perlotti was a distinguished Argentine sculptor who dealt with native themes and indigenous imagery, as well as producing sculptures and monuments of local characters of the artistic and political scene. The museum showcases an ample selection of his works as well as displaying sculptures by other renowned Argentine artists. Pujol 644, Caballito. 4433-3396. Tuesday to Sunday from 11am-7pm.

Book your place for the Fierro Hotel’s Thursday wine tasting and sample some great Argentine wines, chosen by the president of the Argentine Sommelier Association Andres Rosberg and in-house Sommelier Martin Bruno.  Tastings cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Friday

(Photo by henry0)

Head to the Planetarium where you can join the outdoor Parks and Monuments Tour (starting at 10.30am) or the Parks and Museums Tour (starting at 2.30pm), both done on electric bicycles. The tours last 2 hours each, cost 70 pesos, and are carried out in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Please note that you must be at the Planetarium 30 minutes before the tour with an ID to certify that you are 18 or older. Planetario Galileo Galillei-Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldán, Palermo.

Later on stop by Centro Cultural Konex for a unique experience in the dark. Dialogo en la Oscuridad is an international exhibit where the senses are rediscovered.  The public is guided in absolute darkness through different scenarios and learns to perceive every day life in a different way.  Open Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm. Sarmiento 3131, Abasto. 4864 3200.

Roger Waters, the British legend that was once part of Pink Floyd, will be playing 8 dates at the River Plate Stadium!  Tickets here.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by brianjmatis)

On Saturday at 4pm head to the stunning Japanese gardens in Palermo to watch some sumo wrestling! Av. Figueroa Alcorta and Casares.

Roger Waters, the British legend that was once part of Pink Floyd, will be playing 8 dates at the River Plate Stadium!  Tickets here.

The annual Tattoo show will be held throughout the weekend from 11am-11pm at the Bowen Hotel. Callao 360, Congreso. More information here.

Buenos Aires for Football Fans

(Photo by Globovisión)

One of the things Argentina is known for is its football (soccer) fever. With one of the oldest National Football Associations in the world, dating back to 1893, 2 world cups, 2 gold Olympic medals, and legendary players such as the famous Maradona and Lionel Messi (currently one of the top world players), the sport is more than just a game for the locals, it is a part of the culture.   Football is about belonging; each team represents a neighborhood, a social class, and is sacred to its fans. Present in tangos and chants, in parks and backyards, football is a great way to get to know the local culture which is why we’ve put together a few recommended places, tangos, and activities where it takes center stage.

Tangos:

El Sueño del Pibe

Patadura

Bars:

For sentimental paraphernalia: El Banderin

A traditional spot in the Almagro scene, El Banderín is a place with a very personal identity.  This welcoming bar got its name from the many national and international football team flags (banderin), which are hanging from every bit of free space on the wall.  The flags were collected by one of its first owners so there is not only variety but also a few relics and the warm ambiance makes it a special place to visit and sit down for a few beers. Guardia Vieja 3601, Almagro. 4862-7757.

To watch a game: Locos por el Fútbol

As the name suggests Locos por el futbol (Mad about football) is a bar for hard-core fans of the game. With various screens so that everyone can see, and a thematic menu, this is the place to go to watch a game, drink a beer and mingle amongst agitated fans.  Azcuenaga 1898, Recoleta. 4807-3777.

Tours:

 

Boca Experience:  If you want to watch a live game, get to know the stadium and the Boca Museum, this is a great tour to take as you will be transported to and from the stadium and have, tickets, seating and a guide to take care of you. More information here.

Buenos Aires Football Tour: Travel Tango offers tours of River Plate and Boca Stadiums as well as transport to and from the hotel and tour guides to accompany you to the matches. More information here.

Play Yourself!

Another interesting option is to engage in a game of football yourself. The BAFA (Buenos Aires Futbol Amigos) is an international group of guys who team up to play football, socialize, and top it of with great asados. More information here.