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Museum Night 2014 in Buenos Aires

museum-night-buenos-airesTons of museums dotted all over the city of Buenos Aires, but who wants to be inside when it is so nice outside? Don’t sweat! This Saturday November 15, 2014 you will get to visit museums all night long. La Noche de los Museos is a yearly event organized by the city government where 200 participating museums will keep their doors open from 8pm to 3 am. (See map here)

Special cultural programs are also part of this Museum Night: Guided tours, unique exhibitions, art performances, live music, talks, milongas and so on are just some activities you can find taking place at different museums on the night’s program. Go to their official website La Noche de los Museos for schedule details.

What’s more? All entry and activities are free-of-charge, and there’s a Free Bus Pass which you can print out so you can move free-ly and easily to visit as many places as you like.

Vamospanish

Polo Tournaments in Buenos Aires

argentine-polo-book-by-Maria-Lia-and-Luis-GarrahanWhen it comes to hearing the word ‘Argentina’ in relation to sports, the reaction most likely will be football or more specifically Messi (Maradona if you’re of an older generation) popping into one’s mind. It could also be Del Potro “La Torre de Tandil” if one is a tennis fan. Or, Carlos Delfino/Manu Ginobli for NBA fans. Rarely it would be associated to polo. In fact, not only Argentina is one of the most recognized countries in the world of polo, Argentine players actually constantly dominate in the ranking. (See Current World Polo Ranking, 7 out of Top 10 are Argentines.)

Even to those who are from and living in Argentina, those players’ names on the board are not household names given polo still very much remains as an elitist sport despite it was introduced to this country centuries ago by the British colonists. Nevertheless, if you are interested in experiencing some polo, it is not that out of reach if you know where to look especially 3 of the most important world polo tournaments are held annually here in/near Buenos Aires. Thus, one of them is just around the corner!

Abierto Argentino de Polo (Argentine Open Polo Championship) is the most important polo tournament in the world and it takes place yearly right here in Buenos Aires at Catedral del Polo in Palermo. The championship has 7 game dates and this year’s will start on Saturday November 15 and the Final on Saturday December 6. You can get your tickets here in advance or at the gate on game day. For more information on dates and teams, please visit the Argentine Polo Association website (Spanish only).

Last but not least, before you head out to watch a game, give this polo basics guide a read, so you won’t be completely lost with what’s happening.

(Photo credit: it’s the cover of book “Argentine Open in Palermo” by Maria Lia and Luis Garrahan)

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Music Festivals in Buenos Aires

outdoor-music-event-summer-buenos-airesWe love this time of the year in Buenos Aires because it’s the beginning of warm weather before it gets steamy hot; everyone has fully come out of their hibernation and the energy in the city is amazing! What more exciting is that this is the season when major outdoor music festivals happen! Let’s get to it – the run down for 2014:

Personal Fest 2014, the usual suspect in the music festivals agenda. This year’s event will take place on Saturday November 8 and Sunday November 9. It’s unfortunate that it coincides with Creamfields (why?!!). This festival always brings in super fun bands from all over, this year’s headlines include Arctic Monkey, MGMT, The Hives, Morcheeba, Calle 13, just to name a few. Go to their official site to find out more.

If you don’t want to miss out the biggest and the best dance music party in Argentina (yes, not just Buenos Aires), then mark down Saturday Nov. 8 on your calendar. That’s the date for Creamfields 2014. 5 stages, begin at 4pm till 6am. You can dance till sunrise. More info at creamfieldsba.com.

A newcomer has joined the party this year and it is the Music Win! Festival. A 2-day event, Sunday November 23 and Monday November 24 (public holiday!), that brings in international musicians and bands of all genre. A true feast for all music fans. Check out their website for more info.

Like all the art cultures in Buenos Aires, there’s something for everyone. Prefer a more chill than rocking out music experience, we have that too. This year’s Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival will take place from Nov. 19 – 24, 2014. Since the organizer for this festival is the city government, that means other than ticketed events, there are also many free concerts for all to enjoy. At the time of publishing this blog, the 2014 edition website and program is not up yet, so keep checking the city’s general festival site for updates.

Last but not least, if the occasional music events aren’t enough to quench your thirst, then we have PM Open Air Music. Started a couple of summers ago in an alley in Palermo Soho, cool DJs and bands play live every Saturday under the BA sun. This weekly event has become so popular that now during this Summer season, you can find it every Saturday 3pm to10pm at Punta Carrasco (Av. Rafael Obligado 2221), a beautifully located venue space next to the river. Free entry till 4:30pm. Ticket at AR$80 afterwards. Go early if you want to make sure you can get in or buy advance tickets at INFINIT (an eye glasses shop at Thames 1602, Palermo Soho). More info at their FB page.
(Above photo from PM Open Air Music. By Julian Farina Ph)

Isabel
Vamospanish

Beyond Malbec - 2014 Wine Expo in Buenos Aires

wine-expo-buenos-aires-special-eventOther than juicy steak, Argentina is also known for our red wine, especially Malbec which is our signature wine, and Mendoza is our famous wine region; these are just the tip of the iceberg of the wine culture here. In fact, beautiful wines are also produced as north as Salta, Catamarca and Tucumán, the northern region specifically known as los Valles Calchaquíes. Taking advantage of their higher altitude and different cultivation conditions, on top of the usual suspects (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay), they also produce wines like Tannat and Torrontés, which are made especially well from these regions.

Some other examples of grapes that are less well-known for Argentine wines but you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to try them out are Bonarda, Syrah, Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc. Moreover, do you know espumantes (sparkling wines) are also very popular among Argentines? Before dinner as an apéritif and/or end the dinner on a high note is a common scene. Chandon is the most sought after brand but many vineyards are also producing their own now, from extra brut to brut nature to sparkling Rosé. Varieties are evergrowing when you go to the supermarket.

With all these choices, what should one do you wonder? Wine tasting is always a good choice but what even better is the Wine Expo! This year’s Expo Vinos y Bodegas is going to take place over 3 days from Friday October 30 to Saturday November 1 at La Rural, Palermo. (Halloween is not a big thing here so wine show would very well be the better plan for the weekend!) There will be over 40 wineries offering tastings, gourmet food market and live music. Whether you are a wine lover or not, this will be a great opportunity for you to see why Argentine wine is a lot more than Malbec.

For more info, visit the Expo Vinos y Bodegas site here.

Drink responsibly. ¡Salud!

Vamospanish

50th Anniversary of Argentine Comic Icon Mafalda

mafalda-50th-anniversary-buenos-aires-exhibitionThe most famous Argentine comic “Mafalda” is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! If you already know a bit about ‘Mafalda’, then you won’t want to miss out “El Mundo Según Mafalda (The World According to Mafalda)” exhibition at Usina del Arte, which is currently going on till November 30.

If you don’t know who she is yet and have been walking around Buenos Aires, you may have probably seen her images in various public spaces and wondered why is she everywhere? To help you get to know HER better, and to understand why SHE is such an icon in Argentine culture, check out Who’s This Girl? PART 1 and PART 2.

Better yet, for those who can’t make it to the exhibition in person, here is a great video (the first part) about it:

Cultura Latina 11: Mafalda 50th Anniversary & MALBA Museum from Mauricio Izquierdo on Vimeo.

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Best Monday Night Out in Buenos Aires: La Bomba de Tiempo

bomba-de-tiempo-buenos-aires-music-nightlife8 years and counting, La Bomba de Tiempo drumming show is still the thing to do on Monday nights in Buenos Aires. La Bomba de Tiempo is a 16-piece drumming group whose performances are completely improvisational and communications between the conductor and the percussionists are all done through signs and gestures. Since the group was formed in 2006, they have developed a system that consists of more than 100 signaling motions using hands, fingers and the body. They started performing at Konex Cultural Center every Mondays and their shows became an instant hit among the young hip crowd. As word spread, soon enough not only around-the-block line-ups outside the cultural center every Monday, but their popularity also brought them outside of Buenos Aires, touring and jamming with famous musicians including Calle 13, Café Tacuba and the likes.

If you enjoy outdoor music show where you can dance to energetic yet hypnotizing beat in a very buena onda (good vibe) environment, then you definitely have to pencil in La Bomba de Tiempo on your Buenos Aires MUST-do list!

To get a glimpse of what all this hype is about, check out this video. And don’t forget to go to Konex website for show information and get your ticket ahead of time.

Vamospanish

Where To Enjoy a Pint of Craft Beer in Buenos Aires

craft-beer-microbrew-buenos-airesWhile here in Buenos Aires it may still be easier to find a Quilmes or Brahma at your typical Argentine watering hole, the microbrew craze that is sweeping other parts of the world is certainly starting to take hold in the bar scene of Buenos Aires. As an avid beer drinker and someone who appreciates the art of artesenal beer making, I’m constantly on the search for new places that can placate my hops addiction.

First off we have our classic Buenos Aires bars that have made a name for themselves all in the name of good, artensal beer. These bars offer a wide variety of in-house brews that are served by the pint. Most have a happy hour special that is sure to make your after office filled with delicious malts, barleys, and hops. To name a few:

Cerveza Artesanal Antares:
Now with 3 locations in Buenos Aires, this Mar del Plata beermaker has become a staple in the city’s beer scene. Offering 8 standard beers and typically a pair more of seasonal brews, Antares is sure to have your perfect pint waiting for you.
Palermo: Armenia 1447; Las Cañitas: Arévalo 2876; San Telmo (New): Bolivar 491

Gibraltar (Perú 895, San Telmo), Bangalore (Humboldt 1416, Palermo), and The Shanghai Dragon (Aráoz 1199, Palermo):
These 3 bars, all under the same owner, offer some great microbrews as well as some delicious comida. They’re styled after your traditional English pubs (the latter not so much) and are a great place to get together with some friends to enjoy a quieter evening with tasty beverages.

The Temple Bar:
Also now with 3 locations throughout the city, The Temple bar offers a wide range of domestic and international beers while also serving on tap their own in-house brew.
Palermo: Costa Rica 4677; Recoleta: Las Heras 1822; Centro: Marcelo T. de Alvear 945

Buller Pub & Brewing:
Taking the honor of Buenos Aires’ first microbrewery, Buller makes all their beer on site in their brewery situated right in front of the Recoleta Cemetery. After a hot summer day soaking in some of Argentina’s cultural sites, Buller makes for a great refuge with a cold craft beer.
Recoleta: Pres. R. M. Ortiz

Buena Birra Social Club:
Once a closed door, beer aficionados members only club, Buena Birra now welcomes the public with some really next level craft brews. A small operation, Buena Birra enjoys the ability to constantly adjust and diversify their beers with innovative tastes and styles.
Los Colegials: Zapiola 1353

Burger Joint:
While not technically a bar, this burger restaurant offers something I think we’ll be seeing more and more of around the city – restaurants with good beer on tap. As of now, Burger Joint only has 2 beers on tap, but combined with an epic burger and fries, their Pale Ale washes everything down like a match made in heaven.
Palermo: Jose Luis Borges 1766

If you’re at all like me, a stocked refrigerator of good beer is a necesity. However here in Buenos Aires your supermarkets are still a bit behind the times in terms of beer selection. What microbrews they have are pricey and limited to a few select domestic manufactureres. Enter Pinta Point: Cervezas Tiradas para Llevar (Tap Beer to Go). Now with two loactions (Belgrano: Olleros 1693; Congreso: Hipólito Yrigoten 2201), Pinta Point offers an impressive selection of on-tap beers and a wide variety of bottled beer to go. As you stand in marvel of about 20 taps, you’ll notice Pinta Point has a unique system to deliver your beer to go. Using heavy duty plastic bottles, each beer has a special vacuum tap that fills your liter or half liter bottle while maintaining carbonation with little foam. The system is designed to keep your beer good for a week but lets face it, a week is more than enough time for that beer to disappear from the fridge. Pinta Point offers some really great beers like the Triple IPA, Honey Beer, Golden Ale, Bitter, Porter, and my favorite the Belgian IPA.

I’ll leave you with one last insight into the beer world of Buenos Aires: Organic Markets. I happily stumpled upon this discovery while visiting one of the organic markets that are springing up around the city. Alongside organic foods and products of all sorts, you’ll find some microbrews trying to get the word out about their beer. These scrumptious craft beers are bottled and ready for you to take home and most vendors have a tap or at least beer on ice to enjoy right away.

Now go support the economy and drink a local craft beer!

Wandering Willis
Vamospanish

Best Areas to Bike Around in Buenos Aires

bike-around-in-buenos-airesThe Argentine winter is quickly drawing to an end and here at Vamos Spanish we’re already thinking about warmer weather and enjoying sunny days in the city. My personal favorite way to get out and explore the city is by bicycle. Whether using the City’s bike share program, EcoBici, or maybe you found a classic bike in need of some TLC on MercadoLibre, the bipedal bustle is a sure way to have an idyllic day. To start you off on your bicycle adventures, below you’ll find some of my favorite places to spend the day cruising on la bici.

Los Bosques De Palermo (The Palermo Woods) is a popular destination for bikers, roller bladders, skaters, and runners. With numerous bike lanes and some bikers/pedestrians only streets, cruising around the lakes and shade of Los Bosques is a great way to quickly escape from the hectic streets of Buenos Aires.

Another great way to quickly escape the chaos of Microcentro is to head down to Puerto Madero and the Ecological Reserve. While meandering down the waterfront, it’s nice to take in the starkly contrasting modern architecture of Puerto Madero with the natural landscape that lies just beyond. Just outside the reserve is a string of Argentine vendors selling their infamous choripan (Argentine hot dog) and bondiola (pork shoulder) sandwiches which make great incentives to burn some calories afterward. After you’ve dowsed yourself in bugspray, head on into the reserve and enjoy kilometers of unadulterated nature paths and sporadic views of the Rio Plata.

If you’re in Buenos Aires for a few weeks you may be lucky enough to catch one of the bi-monthly bike gatherings called La Masa Critica (Critical Mass). The first Sunday of each month attracts hundreds and hundreds of bikers to the Obelisco for an all-day cruise through town all in the name of the oldest and best green technology. For the slightly more adventurous bike enthusiast, the second Masa Critica of each month meets on the night of the full moon for a party on wheels that lasts well into the wee hours of the morning.

I’ll leave you with one last outing that makes for a great day trip. Fill up a couple waterbottles and head up the shoreline to Zona Norte and Tigre. As you make your way out of the city you’ll catch some great glimpses of the Buenos Aires’ skyline as it fades into the distance. You’ll also stumble upon some shoreline restaurants to keep you fueled as you head north. Once in Tigre you can ramble around the waterways and relax by the water with your mate (your friend or the Argentine tea). The best part is if you’re feeling a little worn out from the ride up you can always hop on the train and be back in the city in no time!

Una bici más, un auto menos.

Wandering Willis
Vamospanish

2014 Buenos Aires Tango Festival and World Championship

Tango-Festival-Buenos-AiresAugust is tango month in Buenos Aires because of our Annual Tango Festival and World Championship that takes place at this time of the year. The 2014 Tango Festival will begin on Wednesday August 13 and go till Tuesday August 26, 2014. It offers tons of free shows and activities like concerts, dance performances and exhibitions, tango classes and workshops led by well-known tango professionals, milongas, movie showings and tango merchandise market.

The Opening Concert will kick off this year´s festivities at Usina del Arte on Wednesday August 13 at 8:30pm. It will be a concert by Osvaldo Berlingeri and his orchestra, and then at 9:15pm another concert by Orquesta del Tango de la Ciudad Buenos Aires paying tribute to our great tango icon Aníbal Troilo. 2014 marks the 100th birthday of Aníbal Troilo, so you´ll see this recurring theme throughout the festival.

All of the shows and activities are free admission. However, due to limited capacity at certain venues, some events are on a first come first serve basis, and some will also require tickets. These tickets will be given out to the public an hour before the show starts, read here for more information on how to get them.

A full schedule of the festival can be found at the Official Website of Tango BA.

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A Friendly Match: Buenos Aires vs São Paulo

A lot of visitors have traveled to this side of the world lately because of World Cup in Brazil. Not sure how the coverage of this major sport event has been reported internationally but since Argentina and Brazil have been decades-old football rivalries, comparisons between them were made often in local media. Even outside of the football world, given we are neighboring countries and we are home to the 2 biggest and most notable cities in South America, Buenos Aires and São Paulo respectively, it is unavoidable from being compared from time to time.

Inspired by the Paris vs New York project , Brazilian illustrator Vivian Mota did just that but in a playful and artsy way. A friendly “illustrated battle”, as she put it, of Sampa (a nickname of São Paulo) and Buenos Aires. New ones are constantly created and added to the collection and you can check them out and even buy prints through the Sampa vs Buenos project website here.

These are some of our favorites!
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sampaBuenos-presidenta

sampabuenos-fernet

sampabuenos-parrillada

SampaBuenos-caminito

sampabuenos-mayo

sampabuenos-mullet

sampabuenos-protesta

sampabuenos-tango
sampabuenos-messi