Buenos Aires is the city that inspired Argentina’s great writers and, like Paris, was the hub of many a literary movement. In fact, almost the entire surreal, literary world of Jorge Luis Borges is based in Buenos Aires. Enjoy the chaos of the city tucked deep inside a cafe and amongst shelves of books, visit the haunts of authors past and keep up appearances with the artsy crowd of the present.
Starting out at the government’s Casa Rosa, stretch your early evening literary legs by wandering down the bustle of one of Buenos Aires’ most important streets: Avenida de Mayo. Bookshops litter the street and as the night lights come into play you’ll get swept away with the big city romance. A few blocks in is the capital’s oldest café – and probably the most touristy – Cafe Tortoni. This 1858 building hosted most of Argentina’s literati in its time and although now it’s more for camera wielding Japanese than distressed writers, you’ll still get a sensation of the history it retains. If your legs are tired, grab a beer and stick around for the daily, but slightly tacky, tango show. A good alternative milonga about 15 minutes away on the bus is Club La Independencia in San Telmo (Av Independencia 572) which is much cooler and less touristy.
A few blocks away is this gem of a Peruvian place… Chan Chan! Affordable, spicy and authentic – this is a great place to sip away on a pisco sour and chow down on some ceviche and most definitely on their awesome Papas a la Huancaina!
Start your day at the Florida Garden Café. This café which has been home to many of the country’s iconic writers is still a popular Saturday morning hangout for bookish types but is also ideal to pile in a few sweet treats and coffee before rooming the streets in hunt of literary gems.
Swing by the postcard perfect Obelisk on your way to the favored bookstore Acasarescrammed with books of all shapes, colors and sizes as well as specializing in first editions and bindings. Time to pull your sleeves up and dig in deep!
Although there are plaques dotted all over the city locating Borges’ various abodes during his life in the city, the apartment he spent the longest in is actually at 6B at Maipu 994, just off Plaza San Martin. You can’t see much but this was his street for 40 years making it apt for roaming and hypothesising. La Cuidad bookstore in the shopping gallery in front of his apartment still has photos of him in that very bookstore and also find a couple first editions of his in the window.