Buenos Aires Shakespeare Festival

(Photo by tonynetone)

Throughout the week, until Sunday the 19th, the city will be celebrating the famous English playwright at the 2nd annual Shakespeare festival. Free activities including calligraphy lessons, performances, workshops, and more will be held in different venues and theatres around the city. Additionally there will be a recreation of a medieval village in Buenos Aires Polo Circo (on Combate de los Pozos and Juan de Garay streets) where visitors will be able to enjoy Elizabethan designs, archery, dancing, cuisine, amongst other attractions. Information on activities and theatre productions during the Shakespeare Festival are available here.

The Argentine Gaucho

(Photo by tim ellis)

The gaucho is one of the few local characters which the national culture has adopted as truly Argentine. Allthough the origins of these nomadic cattle herders is ambiguous it is generally accepted that they appeared after colonization as the offspring of Natives with Europeans. A few things characterized this new generation of locals; one was their skill riding horses and handling cattle, another was their nomadic nature. They were also proficient with knives, boleadoras and guitars and many of them were payadores, which means they recited poetic stories about their lives to the strum of the guitar. It is the gauchesque payadas that led to the posterior gauchesque literature that was key to transforming the Gaucho into an emblematic national character.

The image of the gaucho was not always positive. For a long time they were considered to be outlaws and rebels, and as social castaways they were readily sent to fight the civil wars. Once the wars were over, there was no place in society for gauchos, so they were culturally resignified. The parallel influx of immigrants to the city had created a need for a national identity, and for the countryside to become appealing as it was the land that needed to be populated. Amidst this context, gauchesque literature, which portrayed the life, tradition and used the language of the gauchos, found its perfect place. From then on, through the local literature of emblematic authors such as José Hernandez who wrote the famous Martín Fierro, Leopoldo Lugones who wrote La Guerra Gaucha and  Ricardo Güiraldes, who wrote Don Segundo Sombra, amongst others, the gaucho acquired a mythical place in society.

Popular literary adaptations to film were also made from gauchesque novels, completing the insertion of this rustic character into the Argentine culture. Some noticeable examples are Juan Moreira adapted to film by Leonardo Fabio, Los Hijos de Fierro, which makes a parallelism between Peron and Martin Fierro, by Pino Solanas and Don Facundo Sombra adapted to film by Manuel Antín.

Buenos Aires for Bibliophiles

(Photo by br1dotcom)

Buenos Aires is known for its literature and avid readers. Anyone who has walked the streets or traveled in the public transport system will readily agree that the city is full of bookshops and bookworms which is why it’s no surprise that it was picked as the 2011 book capital of the world.  Naturally, it is also a great place to buy books.

Those looking for  rare finds, first editions, and foreign language books should stop by the bookstores on Avenida Corrientes and Avenida de Mayo.The Plaza Italia book fair is also a good place to find unusual picks at an extra good price as everything they sell is second hand, whilst antique books can be found mostly in San Telmo.

For those looking for both a place to acquire these beautiful noble objects and to enjoy them over coffee we  recommend the following bookstores:

 

Ateneo Grand Splendid: This impressive bookstore is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.  Set in what was once the Grand Splendid Theatre,  and conserving its grandiose architecture whilst adapting its function to a bookstore, it is one of the city jewels.

The balconies, the original velvet curtains, and the cupola, on which an allegoric representation of peace was painted after world war one, can all be enjoyed whilst browsing for books or having something to eat on the once stage.

Av. Santa Fe 1860, Recoleta

4813-6052

 

Opening Hours:

Mon-Thu 9am-10pm

Fri-Sat 9am-12pm

Sun 12am-10pm

 

Libreria del Pasaje: This bookstore, record store and bar in Palermo offers a great selection of books, advice on what to buy, and a relaxing modern environment in which to sit and read. Additionally they have a lot of cultural events including photography and art exhibits and activities for children.

Thames 1762, Palermo

4833 6637

 

Opening Hours:

Mon-Sat 10am-10pm

Sun 2pm-9pm

 

Eterna Cadencia: Warm lighting, dark wooden furniture and a extensive selection of books can be found in this bookstore and publishing house. The spacious cafe is a great place to sit and read or even to just stop by for a coffee break.

Honduras 5574, Palermo

4774-4100

info@eternacadencia.com.ar

 

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri 10am-9pm

Sat-Sun   11.30am-8pm

Off the Beaten Path: Day Trip to San Isidro

(Museo Pueyrredon by Fernando)

Although out of the way from the downtown area, San Isidro is a historical neighborhood founded in 1706, which is well worth visiting. The upscale residential area still conserves many of its colonial constructions and offers shady streets lined with jacarandas to walk thorough and explore.

Start the day early and take the Mitre train from Retiro or Carranza station (close to the hotel). Check that you get on the train going to Mitre, which is where you have to get off.  Cross the Maipú Avenue and go into the Tren de la Costa. Take the train to the Barrancas station where a weekend antique fair. A close walk away is the Pueyrredon Historical Museum set in an old homestead where General Pueyrredon and San Martin planned strategies against the Spanish. Whilst in this area of San Isidro you can stop for lunch at La Anita, an old food store with a courtyard which was turned into a restaurant preserving the 100 year old furniture.

Get back on the train and get off at the San Isidro station where you can walk up the beautiful Mitre Park to get to the neo-gothic San Isidro Cathedral. Around the block, set in the Tres Ombues lane is the well worth visiting Beccar Varela museum at Quinta los Ombues, which was built during the vice royal period, and displays the historic heritage of the area.

Only ten blocks away is the stunning Villa O Campo where you can explore the local literary legacy, walk through stunning gardens and end the afternoon by having scones at the Villas teahouse.  On your the way there is El Altillo pizzeria a neighborhood classic and El Piove ice cream where the owners have their ice cream maker displayed and it is sometimes possible to get a scoop right from the churners.

Museums

Pueyrredon Historical Museum

Rivera Indarte 48, Acassuso

4512-3131

Quinta Los Ombues

info@quintalosombues.com.ar

Adrián Beccar Varela 774, San Isidro

4575-4038

Villa O Campo

Elortondo 1837, Beccar

4732-4988

Places to eat

La Anita

Vuelta de Obligado 415, Acassuso.

4743-7604.

El Altillo

Av. Libertador 17000, San Isidro

4743-0990

Piove Ice Cream

Av. Libertador 17002, San Isidro

47477856