San Telmo Market Fair
I Went to Buenos Aires to Learn Spanish and to discover Argentina. One day after my Spanish Classes I found myself very near to the San Telmo Feria or fair. This market stretches all along Calle Defensa (Defensa street) and is open every Sunday. This cobblestones street is filled with adorable little stands where people sell all sorts of antiques and merchandise serving as excellent souvenirs. I set out around 10.00 in the morning (I was still on European time and was wide awake at 6.00). At this time the vendors were just getting set up. In the middle I landed at Plaza Dorrego which is a little square with more stands and places all around to eat and drink.
The main thing that caught my attention was the colourful architecture, colourful old buildings with french balconies and not one facade the same as its neighbour. Apparently it’s the oldest Barrio (quarter) in Buenos Aires and dates back to the 17th century. There is also no lack of entertainment, along the way I saw tango dancing, puppeteers, musicians.
I realised quickly that I shouldn’t rush through this street because off to the sides there were places to go inside and enjoy even more interesting market squares. One of the indoor markets had all sorts of fascinating antiques, leather purses and jackets and even fruits and vegetables. Leather is sold at bargain prices and, for the vintage lovers, they also have second hand leather.
Around 13.00 I was starting to get hungry and started looking around for a place to eat but no need to look far. All around Plaza Dorrego and off to the sides of Calle Defensa there are plenty of eateries. I found a place that looked cozy but apparently I wasn’t the only one who was feeling hungry. I asked for the menu but I realised the place was packed and the waitresses were barely keeping up. Observing other tables I quickly came to understand that people were mainly ordering the Plato del Dia (Daily Special) and because of this were getting served quicker than people ordering off the menu. I decided to do as the Argentinians do and order the same. The Plato del Dia was Bife de Chorizo (Sirloin Steak) with mashed potatoes or a salad and a drink for a bargain price of 60 pesos. Within 15 minutes I had a Bife de Chorizo with a Copa de Vino Tinto (glass of red wine).
After my meal I was on my way again and finally ended up on the Plaza de Mayo another important and fascinating place to visit. All in all I spent a good three hours, wandering along this colourful street. This was a very good first impression of the Bohemian Barrio San Telmo. So far, Calle Defensa is my favourite street in Buenos Aires.