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

Tuesday

(Photo by riccardobruni)

The Tango Festival and World Championship is in full swing! Don’t miss the Piazzolla exhibit at the Centro de Exposiciones, or any of the concerts and shows! Find the full program here.

In the evening, save your place at the Olive Oil tasting being organized by Mondo Oliva.  More information here.

Later on the African-Spanish artist Buika, considered to be one of the “50 Great Voices” will be staging a show at the Gran Rex theatre starting at 9pm. Tickets here.

Wednesday

(Photo by Benjamin Pender)

Fundación PROA in La Boca is showcasing two new exhibits. The first features Argentine and Brazilian contemporary pop art, realism and political art, and the second is a collection of works by Roberto Aizenberg and younger artists who have been inspired by him.  Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

The renowned Hungarian/British classical pianist András Schiff will be presenting the following pieces at the Colón Theatre: Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No 30 in E major, Op. 109, Bela Bartók: Sonata (1926), Leos Janácek: Sonata (1905), Franz Schubert: Sonata in G major, D. 894.  22nd of August at 8.30pm. Tickets here.

Thursday

(Photo by emiliokuffer)

Stop by the Centro Cultural Recoleta and check out some of the photography exhibits that are being displayed as part of the Festival de la Luz (light festival). The festival takes place throughout August and September around the country.

Book your place at 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, which include special tapas from Hernán Gipponi Restaurant, cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Friday

(Photo by murilocardoso)

Book your place for the full parrilla experience with Parrilla Tour. These filling excursions, which take place in San Telmo on Fridays, will surely leave you satisfied.

Later on the Jamaican Ska and Reggae band, The Skatalites, will be playing a live concert at Teatro Vorterix, the new concert hotspot in town! Tickets here.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by Flodigrip’s world)

Remember to make a reservation for Hernán Gipponi’s unique must-try brunch, served on Saturdays and Sundays! Soler 5862, Palermo Hollywood.  3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

On Sunday there will be a special tango-dancing program at the Centro de Exposiciones from 2.30pm onwards. More information here.

Football fans can also enjoy a River Plate vs. San Lorenzo match at the Club Atlético River Plate on Sunday. www.bsas4u.com offers a special River Plate tour that includes a bilingual guide, transfers to and from the hotel and tickets to the game.  Book here.

Find a ten day weather forecast 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.