Catedral Subte Station, Buenos Aires

Yesterday I head for the first time in the opposite direction from downtown to Palermo, the only part of my B.A. Lonely Planet itinerary (find a “link to” at the bottom of today’s post) yet unexplored.  It’s not a moment too soon since I depart the city for Argentine parts west this evening.

As I’ve been doing for the past couple of days I take the Subte (B.A.’s subway) one way and walk the return.  This lets me pack more sightseeing into each day… it’s yet another way to experience more slices of B.A. daily life… and you can arrive by Subte within easy walking distance of every place visited in this blog except the international airport.  (There are instructions for riding the Subte at the end of this post).

The part of Palermo closer to the invisible coastline is dominated by large parks that include the zoo and botanical gardens and are bordered my multi-use high-rises (think Lincoln Park).   I arrive there via the Subte at the Plaza Italia station.  Palermo is such a large and varied neighborhood that it’s become widely known by subdivisions tagged with suffixes like Palermo Alta, Palermo Viejo, and neighborhoods now being recast as Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho.  Find the last pair of these about 10 blocks away from the coast.  I avoid Palermo Hollywood, where two new high-rise apartments are under construction.  In Palermo Soho the scale shrinks to a two-story neighborhoods undergoing the same kind of renaissance that’s already well under way in the urban U.S.  Here 20-somethings rent small, inexpensive flats, patronize hip shops and work out in hardbody gyms, and camp in outdoor cafés talking on cellphones and texting every bit like their Stateside counterparts.

Cheesy as it may sound I opt out of the zoo and botanical garden for the Museo Evita, a short walk from the Plaza Italia Subte station, and it turns out to be a good idea.

Museo Evita, Buenos Aires

It’s chock full of personal memorabilia ranging from clothing to the Peróns’ black Cadillac, and archival film footage is projected in several different rooms.  It’s all housed in an old Spanish colonial style mansion that’s worth the tour all by itself.  The intent of the curators to take a balanced political perspective is not lost even to my pidgin Spanish!

Museo Evita, Buenos Aires

Today is for taking a couple of photos thwarted by Wednesday’s clouds and overcast, to catch up on my writing, and to pack for the bus trip to Mendoza.  I regain an Internet connection only around midday tomorrow.











The Subte operates around 17 hours daily and a trip – including unlimited transfers – runs about US45¢.   The ambiance is about the same as you’ll find on the Chicago El and as on each one of my walking tours you’ll feel quite secure unless you feel compelled through your dress or behavior to broadcast your tourist status to  pickpockets.  If you’ve never experienced a subway but are game to try, the rules are simple:

  1. Buy a magnetic fare card at the ticket booth in any station (this is not a good place to break your 100-peso note!)
  2. Know not only your intended station destination, but also the either-end terminals of your chosen train; it’ll keep you from traveling the wrong way, which is easier to do than you might think.  (There are system maps throughout every station and within every train car. )
  3. Note whether or not your platform is between opposing trains (white line through the station icon) or on either side of the tracks; it’ll keep you from standing on the wrong platform and missing your next train… or going the wrong way (see #2, above).
  4. Watch the TV monitors; they’ll tell you how soon your next train will arrive (I never waited more than 4 minutes)
  5. Check your bearings against a map for the first couple blocks after you emerge at your station destination; it’s quite easy to get turned around.