Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This was the first morning in some time we were not obligated to wake up, so we got up of our own volition around 9. We walked the parks in Palermo, including the botanic garden and the Japanese garden. The botanic garden was nice, but it was mostly full of items that we already have in our yard, so that was a little odd. Some of the highlights included:

The weather in Buenos Aires seems to be very similar to San Diego, with perhaps a little bit more humidity, and most of the plants (especially the non-native ones) are nearly identical. There were a ton of cats in the botanic garden, and a ton of dogs being walked on all of the streets around the garden - perhaps the garden was the cats' safe haven. The garden was not very serene, as it was surrounded on all sides by busy streets full of buses.

From there we went to the Japanese Garden, a little farther east. The Japanese garden was much nicer, but not nearly as large. There was a huge duck there - the biggest we had ever seen - a bird drying its wings, and a bunch of hungry koi. The area was nicer, but it did cost money - that makes sense we guess. We walked back to the hotel and picked a lunch spot. Don Julio was less than two blocks from the hotel, nearly empty, and had great food, including an appetizer with chorizo, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes. We got back to the hotel around 3pm, and attempted to plan the evening - plus digest.

A little later, we took a cab to downtown, stopping at Café Tortoni. We weren't all that enthusiastic about it - mostly because literally everyone told us that we had to go there - but we went anyway. It was nice, and the drinks were good, but it certainly would not have been the end of the world if we had not gone. After we left, we walked around downtown a bit, since we were not as rushed as the day before on our tour. We got some pictures of the pink palace, famous from the Evita movie, with the large balconies where Evita sang from. We also did some shopping on Florida street, the main pedestrian drag that is a large shopping mall. We walked down Florida to Lavalle, and up Lavalle to Avenida 9 de Julio (the big one), where we went into the Panamericano Hotel, where our restaurant for dinner was located.

We had originally planned to go to Cabana Las Lilas in Puerto Madero, but in checking on it for its dress code we were shocked to see that nearly all of the reviews over the past year or so were very negative. As best we could guess, the restaurant got famous (its in the 1000 places to see before you die book), and decided it could coast. Seeing this, we changed our reservations to Tomo I (Tomo Uno), which seemed to have strong recommendations across the board. The seating area was tiny, but we were the first ones there, so we got a nice table next to the window, looking out at the nearby obelisk. Justin got a steak that was very good, but Crystal got a roast pig that was even better. After dinner we got a cab back to Palermo, had a drink in the bar, then hit the sack. Our cab driver cut off an ambulance on the ride home - that was a first.