Nobody loves a hotel more than I do and nothing makes me happier than being greeted with a “welcome home Mrs. Vogel” from one of my favorite establishments. But lately I’ve been coming around to the whole airbnb/VRBO thing. It was my experience in BA (as we tourists think the locals call Buenos Aires) that pushed me over the line. We rented a great house in the Palermo Soho part of town; lots of private space for everyone and a small pool of our own for nude sunbathing.
Though I did miss room service on the odd morning after too much wine the night before, there are three coffee shops within crawling distance of our front door. Standing at the counter with hung-over locals makes for an amusing opportunity to practice Spanish. So does grocery shopping.
Apart from a one-day tour we skipped sightseeing and just got to know our neighborhood. Palermo is the largest of Buenos Aires’ barrios covering about 7 square miles. BA is big! An Italian immigrant named Juan Domingo Palermo bought the land during the 16th century; about the time the city was founded, giving his name to the area. As the city grew, the area became a popular place for lavish country houses. These houses are long gone; much of their land is now public parks.
Though officially one large area, Palermo is actually divided into several smaller and quite distinct neighborhoods. We were in Soho, which is said to be alternative noted for great design and a progressive bar and street culture. I found it pleasantly gentrified. Three of the country’s best restaurants, Tegui, La Cabrera and Don Julio (my favorite) are within walking distance. Cafes and wine shops vie with fabulous boutiques for street front space. Who could imagined I would do the least damage to the credit cards… John shopped wine while the boys went crazy for clothes and shoes they really “needed”.