9 de julio avenue – the largest street in buenos aires
my best friend and i try to travel internationally every other year (money well spent!), and our very first trip was to chile and argentina in 2008. buenos aires was an obvious stop, and it captured my heart. such grandeur – the architecture, the food, the tango…it was not at all what i had been expecting (i lived in venezuela for year and naively thought all of south america – yes, an entire continent – was similar). i returned to buenos aires last year for work, and the city’s hold over me was confirmed: this place is the real deal.
a few of my must-sees (and my hope-to-again-sees):
shop/dine/drink in palermo – kim and i stayed in palermo at the lovely otra orilla bed and breakfast (i do hope it is still around). the area is a bustling, leafy, cobble-stoned district with narrow streets lined with shops, restaurants, bars, etc. bar 6 and olsen were two of my favorite bars, though there are many to choose from. and definitely try a parilla, a brazilian steakhouse. the steak is fantastic (argentines claim the best in the world, but argentines claim a lot of things :)), and is delicious with a bottle of malbec. just don’t go too early – not much is open before 9pm (difficult if you’re there for work!).
vodka and bites from olsen in palermo
trolley ride – i have this crazy thing for trollies (if you’re ever in dallas, you really must take the mckinney avenue trolley through uptown to the arts district), and buenos aires did not disappoint. we took the a-line and i was transported back into a much more glamorous age.
recoleta cemetery – words cannot adequately describe this place, though ‘magical’ may be a start. rows of crypts, mausoleums, crosses, stone paths, giant memorials to those of the past, locked to visitors, but with glass doors that afford a glimpse inside to the stained glass windows, alters, crucifixes, marble stairs leading downward into a subterranean shelter – some hold photographs, some are covered in cobwebs with floors of dirt and leaves, others are new, shiny, marble, carfully polished, well-kept. the area is four blocks and one could get lost in the narrow paths. eva perron is buried here, within the duarte family mausoleum, and followers place flowers within the door in remembrance.
strolling through the recoleta
dirty war protest – the dirty war occurred in the 70s and 80s, and the government is still silent on the killings of many of its people, most of whom were left-wing activists, journalists, students, and geurillas. mothers of people killed in the dirty war still march through the plaza de mayo every thursday demanding information and closure. the madres have had a bit of scandal in the past several years, so march with them at your own risk, but it’s worth a visit to see them march, hear their stories, and learn a part of history that isn’t in all of the textbooks.
the protest march path of the mothers of plaza de mayo
san telmo market – read more from my “favorite markets” post here.
malba – the latin american art museum of buenos aires is incredible. i adore latin american art, especially that of frida kahlo, diego rivera, and fernando botero. i found at the malba new artists i enjoyed like leon ferrari, carlos federico saez, and maria teresa ponce. i sat for awhile at the museum, listening to music from the 1920s, and then walked the streets surrounding the museum that are lined with lush parks and embassies.
the malba museum in buenos aires
who should go: culture junkies, those who wish they were around in the 1920s and 1940s
what to pack: nice clothing – argentines are sophisticated and fashionable. leave the beach gear at home and instead bring some chic walking shoes
what to watch: nine queens (nueve reinas)
the main path at recoleta cemetery in buenos aires
strolling past the floralis generica (giant silver flower that opens and closes) in buenos aires during a work trip during a break to explore.
i travel a fair bit for my work; mostly domestic travel, but every now and then i get the opportunity to travel internationally. since travel is, oh, just my favorite thing to do ever, i always want to take advantage of these trips to see new sites and experience the new place. but that can be difficult when your primary reason is business, and not pleasure. to help, i’ve compiled a list of things that will help add some jaunts to your business travel.
remember you are there to work. it’s great that your employer is sending you to france for a week, but they probably aren’t going to like it too much if you show up late each day after staying out too late the night before exploring on your own. remember that work is your priority when you travel for business, and that you have earned this right. don’t screw it up by slacking off while you’re there – you may not be invited back.
understand your itinerary in advance. work with your colleagues to understand how your days will be structured. will you have a break during any days, or perhaps a dinner where you are on your own? if so, take advantage of that time to explore on your own. on a recent business trip to verona, we had a two-hour break before dinner. after catching up with my emails and to-do list first (see #1), i grabbed an umbrella and headed out to explore the old part of the city on my own, which brings me to my next tip:
a quick jaunt to the river in verona after wrapping up work for the day
plan ahead. understand where you would like to visit should you have the time. know where the sites are in relation to your hotel or office, so that you are ready for a quick jaunt should the opportunity arise. i had mapped out the sites i wanted to see using CityMaps2Go before hand (see more on this app here), so i was able to head out immediately and not stop to plan during my precious down time.
a quick photo of verona’s castle bridge while walking back from our office to our hotel
use your colleagues. are you meeting with people based in that area’s office? ask them for recommendations for excellent restaurants or parts of town. they know the area best and will be able to point you to the best spots that aren’t necessarily on the tourist radar. have them join you for meals to point you to the local dishes, and learn about their culture over drinks and dessert. some of my favorite moments while traveling for work are the relationships i’ve made with colleagues and clients.
trying brazil’s famous local feijoada with brazilian coworkers during a work trip to brazil last year
try to extend your trip. if able, see if you can add a day or two on the front or back of your trip. if the flight cost is the same, and you’re willing to pay for the additional nights at the hotel, many employers will not mind. i was unable to do this for my most recent trip (again, see #1!), but i was able to do this last spring when i visited argentina. we arrived a day early and explored on our own, and were able to get a good night’s sleep prior to early meetings the following morning.
checking out the brownstones of brooklyn heights during a weekend in nyc following a work training in manhattan the previous friday
what are some of your business travel tips, or some of your favorite business trip destinations?
vintage soda bottles at the san telmo antiques market in buenos aires
i love a good market. i’m not sure if its because i like a good deal, or because i like sifting through old junk in search of a treasure (is the hunt better than the catch?). but one thing is for sure: find me a market, and i’ll be happy as a clam! here are a few of my favorites i’ve visited:
san telmo antiques market, buenos aires, argentina – there are many markets in buenos aires (maybe why it’s one of my favorite destinations?), but this one was a real gem. full of old world treasures including old musical instruments, china, jewelry, and postcards, i was hooked. i took home a green soda bottle (see above) for about $20 (before pottery barn made them famous, charging 4x what i paid), and had a comical exchange in my broken spanish where i learned to not use the bottle due to the nozzle being made of lead (good to know – definitely would have given future dinner guests lead poisoning!).
san lorenzo central market, florence, italy – ok, this place is overwhelming. bring some cash and some big bags. florence is known for its leather and paper products (i love a good stationery set), and this market delivers loads of both. also throw in olive oil, shawls, and decorative wooden trays, and you’ll see why its so great. pretty sure i purchased a white linen blazer, sequined silver flats, a traditional florence wooden tray, a stationery set for my mother, a leather bag for a friend, the list goes on and on…
madrid book market, madrid, spain – slightly under the radar on a quiet street near retiro park, this market houses stall after stall of books. a reader’s paradise, great people-watching, and sure to deliver a nice gift for your favorite bibliophile. most are in spanish, but you can hunt for a few in other languages and find the picture books if you don’t read the language.
i’d like to start a section titled “my favorites” and use it to explore my favorite things from around the world. this week: the b&b. i used to be a bit leery of bed and breakfasts. sometimes the floors creak, you can hear your neighbors, and you may be forced to talk to someone over morning coffee (not good for me). after having a few really wonderful experiences, though, i’ve done a 180 on the b&b and like to seek out the great ones. here are a few i’ve stayed at recently that were truly exceptional:
cass house inn, cayucos, california – this was our first stop on my husband’s and my first anniversary trip last summer. cayucos is a sleepy beach town on the central coast, and cass house is just across the street from the pier. a young couple own the inn, which is housed in the former victorian abode of the cass family (photographs of the family line the walls). the staff are amazing, and the personal touches are great (a glass of wine and a blanket to enjoy the chilly night in their gardens greeted us upon arrival). but if you do find yourself in cayucos, you must eat dinner at the cass house restaurant. the husband is the head chef, and the ever changing prix -fixe menu with wine pairings and ingredients from the garden out back is not to be missed.
la otra orilla, buenos aires, argentina – my best friend, kim, found this b&b in the heart of the palermo district of BA. close to shopping, restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife, we couldn’t have asked for more. the lush gardens and european decor provided for many great photo opportunities, and the breakfast in the morning was delicious and filing (not the case in all b&bs). we weren’t even disappointed when we were rained in one afternoon.
the inn at cooperstown, cooperstown, new york – my husband and i stayed here during our trip to see the baseball hall of fame. this b&b is walking distance from the hall of fame, as well as the cute downtown area (i recommend alex and ika restaurant – so good!). a long porch stretches across the front of this colonial house, and it was sitting in one of the many rocking chairs, sipping ice tea while enjoying the warm night, that i somehow met babe ruth’s granddaughter. in town to speak at the hall of fame, she and her husband were staying at the inn, and happily chatting with the other guests. delightful!
i’m interested in hearing your thoughts – do you have a favorite b&b you would recommend?