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.

Top Mobile Apps for Travelers in Buenos Aires

app

(Photo by Georgie Pauwels)

Technology has made travel all the easier, and there are a great variety of very useful mobile apps to help us when we are in a new city. Below, we’ve selected a few of those that we think are practical for people travelling to Buenos Aires.

Language

If you need a Spanish app, of course Google Translate is the most immediate option, however, we recommend Porteño Spanish  which will help you with the language and the local lingo.

Also, if you’re learning Spanish, or any other language, Hello Talk allows you to connect with native speakers to practice.

Money

Two useful apps while travelling anywhere are XE Currency, for exchange rates, and ATM Hunter, to help you find the closest ATM.

Transport

There are many apps to help you around the city in terms of transport. Como LLego offers you transport options and directions for getting from one place to the next, BA Subte  is the local subway app, Trenes en Vivo is a useful app for those who travel by train and lets you know at what time the next trains are coming in, Easy Taxi is an international Taxi app that also works in Buenos Aires for calling cabs, BA EcoBici lets you know where you can find public city bikes and bike paths.

City Guides

International city guides are available from Trip Advisor that offers offline city guides, including one for Buenos Aires, from Travel Guides by Triposo and a GPS guide by Digi Guide.

Dining, Wine-ing, Dancing

Guía Oleo and Restorando are two apps that offer restaurant listings and reviews that will help you pick out the best places to stop for a bite and make reservations.

Otherwise, try CookApp for closed door dinner options.

Argentina Wine App, in English, and Vinomanos, in Spanish, are two wine apps that specialize in Argentine wine and are useful to pick out and discover some of the best local bottles.

Hoy-Milonga is an app for Tango enthusiasts that want to know when and where the BA milongas are taking place.

LightOut is BA’s nightlife app for those that like to dance till dawn.

 

 

 

5 Activities to Enjoy on Rainy Buenos Aires Days

rain

(Photo by Klaus Balzano)

April has brought water galore with it this year, and this makes walking the streets a little less appealing than usual. Luckily, although Buenos Aires has some beautiful parks and outdoor sights, it also has plenty to offer for indoor indulgences. Here is our pick of five activities to enjoy on rainy Buenos Aires days.

Try the Wine

Rain, sun, hail, snow, it’s always a good time for a glass of wine, and Argentina knows it. Options to try the best that the local scene has to offer included heading to one of our recommended wine bars, or, booking your place at a wine tasting event.

Learn some Spanish

Take an intensive day course at one of the local Spanish schools and then put your skills to test at the Spanglish Exchange events that take place in different bars around the city.

Travel in Time

Explore the beautiful Palacio Barolo and then stop for coffee and a game of billiards at the traditional Los 36 Billares, right across the street.

Make Empanadas

Taking a cooking class is a fun, hands on experience that will give you something to sample and savor from the local culture, and something to take back home as well. Try Norma’s Saturday empanada courses and forget about the rain.

Indulge in a Decadent 5 O’Clock Tea

Traditionally served at either Las Violetas in Almagro (better for the ambience than the cakes), or, at the much posher Alvear Palace Hotel in Recoleta, 5 o clock tea, locally known as la merienda is just another excuse to indulge your sweet tooth. Smaller cafes also serve great pastry options and Allie Lazar from Pick Up the Fork has done a good job of reviewing many of them here.

This Week: 31st of August- 6th of September

Monday

bici

(Photo by Mikel)

Monday will be the warmest day of the week before the temperature takes a small dip for the remaining days. Make the best of it by choosing one of the great outdoor activities that the city has to offer such as taking a bike tour!

In the afternoon, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, you can stop by the Fierro Hotel garden and grab a couple of cocktails at the new UCO after office event! 3220-6800. Soler 5862, Palermo.

You can also head to the Centro Cultural Konex where famous percussion group, La Bomba del Tiempo, will be carrying out their Monday show starting at 7pm. Sarmiento 3151, Almagro.

For some great post-dancing fugazzeta pizza, go to the nearby Los Cocos. Av Córdoba 3303, Almagro

Tuesday

cordero

If you’re in the San Telmo area, stop by the Ethnographic museum and learn more about the Argentine indigenous community. Moreno 350, San Telmo.

Welcome springy September by awakening your taste buds with the new 6 course menu with D.V. Catena wine pairings offered every evening until the 13th of September at UCO Restaurant! 3220 6820. Soler 5862, Palermo.

Also, at 8pm, it’s tango time at the Colón Theatre with performances by Daniel Binelli, Eduardo Isaac, and Polly Ferman. Tickets here.

Wednesday

la boca

(Photo by Maritè Toledo)

The Fundación PROA Daros Collection, which features contemporary Latin American art,is well worth taking a look at if you’re in the La Boca area. Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca. 

In the evening, Slovenian pianist Ivan Skrt will be inaugurating the Palacio Paz Piano Wednesday sessions that will take place throughout September at 7.30pm.  Santa Fe 750, Retiro

Thursday

bar sur

(Photo by Beatrice Murch)

Stop by the MALBA and check out the current Polesello and Teresa Burga exhibits, as well as the screening of Portuguese artist Vasco Araujo’s videos that will be showcase until Sunday from midday to 5pm. Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo.

In the evening, choose your favorite traditional bar notable, such as El Federal or Bar Sur in San Telmo, and either enjoy a meal or a drink in a typical porteño setting.

Friday

botigre

(Photo by Manuel Maure)

A day trip to Tigre is a must while you’re in Buenos Aires. You can try a water sport, stop by the Mercado de Frutos where you can purchase local goods, go on a rollercoaster ride, and even place your bets at the local Casino. Explore on your own or try a tour!

Later on, stop by the Centro Cultural Recoleta and catch one of the stunning Fuerza Bruta shows. Tickets here. 

Saturday and Sunday

arrosedal

(Photo by Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires)

Book your place at UCO´s unique weekend brunch, now revamped with an Irish version as well! 3220-6800Soler 5862, Palermo.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Buenos Aires Market gourmet food fair will be taking place at the corner of Av. Medrano and El Salvador, just a step away from one of our favorite cocktail bars in the city, Verne Club (Medrano 1475).

Head to the Ecological Reserve behind Puerto Madero and look for the stunning monument La Fuente de las Nereidas which depicts the birth of Venus, and was sculpted by Lola Mora, one of Argentina’s most renowned women artists.

You can also stop by the Palermo Rosedal where you can rent paddle boats to cruise the small lake alongside the ducks, and visit the Sivori Museum, which offers free tours in English and German on Saturdays at 3pm and 5pm! Av. Infanta Isabel 555, Palermo.

This Week: 2nd-8th of March

Monday

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(Photo by Antonio Thomás Koenigkam Oliveira)

If you’re visiting the Obelisco and strolling down Corrientes Avenue, stop by the Centro Cultural de la Cooperación which is hosting a photography exhibit about the social problematic related to last World Cup in Brazil. Av. Corrientes 1543, downtown.

In the afternoon, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm you can stop by the Fierro Hotel garden and grab a couple of cocktails at the new UCO after office event! Soler 5862, Palermo.

You can also stop by Centro Cultural Konex where famous percussion group, La Bomba del Tiempo, will be carrying out their Monday show starting at 7pm. Sarmiento 3151, Almagro.

Tuesday

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(Photo by Roger Schultz)

Take one of Foto Ruta’s Street Scape tours and learn some photography tips while discovering the city from a different angle. More information here.

Tuesday evenings at BASA bar include great drinks and music by renowned local DJ Nico Cota from 9.30pm onwards. Basavilbaso 1328, downtown.

The Colón Theatre celebrates the inauguration of its 2015 program with Beethoven’s nine symphonies on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th of March. Tickets here.

Wednesday

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(Photo by Margaret Bourke-White)

Check out the Margaret Bourke-White photography exhibit being showcased at the Centro Cultural Borges. Viamonte 525, downtown.

At 7pm, head to La Trastienda for their Brazilian Wednesday event, Miércoles Carinhosos, and dance all the way past midnight. Balcarce 460, San Telmo.

Thursday

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(Photo by John D.)

Stop by the Museo de Arte Moderno in San Telmo where a must-see exhibition of Leon Ferrari’s works is being showcased. Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo.

Later on, stop by for a sip of something worth tasting at the monthly Come Wine With Us event taking place from 7pm to 1am at Veggies & Co. in Palermo. Arevalo 2926, Palermo.

Friday

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(Photo by Eric Murray)

If you came to Buenos Aires and you’re not vegetarian, chances are you want some of that famous Argentine beef! Book your place for the full parrilla experience with Parrilla Tour. These filling excursions, which take place in San Telmo on Fridays, will surely satisfy your meat cravings!

Later on, two Guns n’ Roses guitarists stage live shows at different venues:  Slash with Myles Kennedy at the Vorterix Theatre at 9pm (tickets here) and Gilby Clarke at the Roxy Live Bar starting at 11.30pm (tickets here).

Saturday and Sunday

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(Photo by duncan c)

Book your place at UCO’s unique weekend brunch, now revamped with an Irish version as well! Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

A weekend for live music:

On Saturday, Slash, Myles Kennedy, Gilby Clarke and Duff McKagan all play at Mandarine Park starting at 5pm (tickets here).

On Sunday, the music continues with a Joss Stone concert at the Luna Park Stadium. Tickets here.

Sunday is also International Woman’s Day and there will be a great culinary event to celebrate at Galpón de los Milagros from midday to 8pm.  Gorriti 5417, Palermo.

Fierro’s 2013 Christmas Gift Guide

(Photo by SurprisePally)

Some of us believe that gift giving is one of the happiest aspects of the Christmas season, others prefer receiving and write long lists to Santa letting him know what they expect. Whether you’re amongst the first group and are looking for original ideas to surprise your loved ones, or whether you’re amongst the second and want to make sure that there’s nothing missing on your wish list, here is our pick of local gifts this year. (And for more suggestions you can find our 2011 list  here and our 2012 list here).

Knits: The sunny Summer Argentine weather is probably not inspiring anyone to think about wooly wear, but the northern hemisphere is kicking off Winter, so warm and fuzzy may just be the thing to take back home, if that’s where home is of course. We specially like the new trend in ecological wool and ethical production that design companies like URSA and Laraia Crafts encourage.

Local Art: The local art scene is thriving and offers perfect gift giving opportunities. Hollywood in Cambodia showcases and sells the work of some of the most talented urban artists in the city, whilst Galeria Mar Dulce represents the young up and coming. The gorgeous art tapestries by NESLE also make great gifts and will make walls look all the prettier. Another option is to help fund a project, such as Jellyfish Editorial’s gorgeous Magia y Mística art book.

Another booming local industry is clothes design. Strolling down the streets of Palermo Soho you’re sure to find beautiful and unique gift opportunities. Here is a guide of our favorite Soho designers.

Wine lovers who read Spanish should definitely get a copy of Más allá del Malbec, the new book about wine that our in-house sommelier celebrity Andrés Rosberg and star writer Quintín put together after spending many an afternoon tasting wines, and exploring the depths of the purples and reds. A must read!

Finally, if you’re on a budget and want something way more traditional, the weekend artisans fairs at Plaza Francia, Feria de Mataderos, Plaza Belgrano and San Telmo are great places to stop by and find handcrafted jewelry, leather goods, mates and antiques.

Autumn/Winter 2013 at Hernán Gipponi Restaurant

Fierro Hotel’s popular Hernán Gipponi Restaurant brings plenty of good news for the city’s hedonists of the palate. For starters, it’s now open seven days a week and is featuring a new tasting menu that includes seasonal delicacies such as rabbit confit, baked Turkish lentils with bacon and 63º cooked egg, braised pig’s cheeks, nut bread, pistachio meringue, tangerines and more to keep us warm during the cold days to come. Additionally, One Table, a five-course dining event for up to sixteen people, is on the weekly agenda on Monday’s. Of course, the renowned weekend brunch continue to be one of the restaurant’s most concurred events, as the now monthly Friday Happy Hours. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.