Aug
06
2013

by

Palermo Hollywood feels more like home to me…

Why I want to live in Palermo Hollywood (‘’Viejo’’) or old Palermo rather than Chiswick SW London…

I was recently made redundant after 16-years hard slog working for a high street bank.  After complaining about my lack of advancement from a loans’ manager they canned me!

Palermo Hollywood Buenos Aires

London is just depressing.  After the Queen had reigned for sixty years and Olympians had gone home the mood in London again descended into sighs of exasperation with our small island wrestling with a recession or ‘’double-dip’’ as its been called and racial tensions that will lead to blood on the streets sometime soon.

I am not married and I wanted to travel.  I worked my way from Columbia, through Brazil to Peru and then Chile crossing the Andes by road to Mendoza.

I had read widely on Argentina and in particular Buenos Aires, but none of the travel blogs, e-zines and newspaper supplements prepared me for my stay in Buenos Aires.  I am in Love.

When I called home to declare my love, everyone wrongly believed I had been ‘’love-struck-dumb’’ by an Argentino.  It is not the case; I gave up the idea of boyfriends in my late 30’s finding most men my age damaged goods.  Although, I have been surprised how many good looking young Argentine men like the more mature woman.  My insecurity puts that down to me having a place to entertain, because I am certainly not some merry-widow with lots of money.

I was referred to Buenos Aires Stay by good friends of mine who recommended them as British expats who had looked after both their accommodation and polo requirements when they traveled to Argentina for the polo season.  My friends had been clients of mine who ran an advertising business and their son has played polo since he first went off to boarding school.  Buenos Aires Stay Apartment have looked after me very well and I have no complaints.

To be honest, other than a few emails for advice, things have gone as planned and I have very little contact with the boys at BA Stay.

However, I did respond to their request for trip reports from their guests and here I am!

So what draws me back to Buenos Aires?

Tango is a big deal in Buenos Aires.  I am no fan of either tango music or the dance – sorry –  the music fills me with horror.

I have been to polo matches and do not really get the game.  However, the sense of occasion and champagne both make my antipathy unimportant.

I am not a football fan.

In fact, I have very little in common with Buenos Aires!!!

Currently, I am back in London. The weather is glorious, but ”my heart is just not in-London anymore”.  I am trying to rent my two-bedroom apartment in London in a tough market.  As soon as I have tenants and an income – a very good income for Buenos Aires – I will leave London for Buenos Aires’ spring and summer.

I plan to stay for six months and decide if my love for Buenos Aires lasts and a more permanent move is still my heart’s desire.

Buenos Aires is cheap for tourists, particularly if you change your money in the ‘’blue market’’.  Today, if you buy pesos officially you get around 5 pesos to your dollar.  If you buy pesos in the blue market you get 8 pesos.  That’s a big difference.  It was better for me to change sterling for dollars and dollars for pesos.

When I return to Buenos Aires I will ONLY bring dollars and I have set up a dollar account.  You will always get better value for a dollar in Argentina; Argentines are hooked on the Greenback.

Why Palermo Hollywood – a geography lesson

If you walk from the city center to along 9 de Julio Avenue you come to a barrio called Retiro that is home to Plaza San Martin and the start of Florida Street.  I stayed in this area when I arrived in Buenos Aires and it is great for visitor on shorter vacations whose ambition is sightseeing.

If you walk up either Santa Fe or Libertador Avenues you reach Recoleta when you cross 9 de Julio travelling north.

Recoleta Buenos Aires' best view from BAStay Luxury Apartments

If you like really pleasant walks, take yourself into Recoleta. Its cemetery, plazas, shops and museums make it a bit of a tourist trap, but its really lovely and you can walk all the way from Recoleta to Palermo’s Plaza Italia using green squares and parks.

Next up, both in Recoleta and Palermo, is Barrio Norte. A residential neighborhood and a geography I fail to understand. It contains parts of Palermo and Recoleta, which is confusing.  I am not sure where it is exactly, but when wandering the streets I was often lost and often told I was in Barrio Norte, which I think is north of Puerreydon.

Further north and northwest is Palermo. Palermo is a very large barrio and seems to go on forever when you are walking home.

palermo buenos aires parks-1

It has three very distinct neighborhoods around the huge Parque Tres de Febrero or Bosques de Palermo: The very grand and tranquil Palermo Chico; expansive middle-class residential area with botanical and Japanese gardens, the zoo and well-kept plazas called simply Palermo; and trendy Palermo Viejo (unofficially divided into two neighborhoods called Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood).

PALERMO SOHO MEWS

Palermo Viejo or Old Palermo is the oldest part of barrio de Palermo. It runs from Santa Fe Avenue south to Córdoba Avenue, and from Avenida Dorrego east to Coronel Díaz Street.

Palermo Soho is a small area of Palermo Viejo around Plaza Serrano (officially Plazoleta Cortázar) on Palermo’s south-western edge. Soho is frenetic. Day and night it pumps energy thronging with shoppers during the day and party animals at night.  Some of the best bars, restaurants and nightclubs are found in Soho and I highly recommend it to a younger crowd who want to shop and party until you drop.  I found it a little too fast-paced for my taste, although I was a frequent visitor.

Why I would like to live in Palermo Hollywood

I read that in the past (80s and early 90s) Palermo Hollywood was a dangerous area inhabited by prostitutes.  In the mid-nineties the prostitutes were forcibly evicted and found a new home in the Bosques of Palermo. The old area of Palermo was gentrified and TV and radio producers moved-in between Córdoba, Santa Fe, Dorrego and Juan B. Justo Avenues. The area was nicknamed Hollywood by the locals and it stuck.

When I first visited Palermo Hollywood, which is just across a train tracks from Soho, I was looking for an expat meeting place called Prado, a cocktail bar in a hotel.  As I wandered lost, I suddenly realized that I had stumbled upon Soho’s mature, quieter and more residential sister.

Although certain streets are full of bars and restaurants, Hollywood is definitely a good neighborhood for mature travelers.  Even the bars and restaurants feel a little more ‘’adult’’ and a slower-paced.

Palermo Hollywood has narrow Spanish style houses, older (art deco looking) apartment blocks and fantastic modern apartment buildings with gyms and pools.  I love modern flats and I have found a perfect home for October if I can rent my own apartment in London.

Hollywood has its share of great cafes, pubs and clubs, and fantastic restaurants.  There are quality shops, boutiques and supermarkets within just a few blocks from any street in the neighborhood.

There’s one small issue staying in Palermo Hollywood if you do not like walking – poor bus routes when compared with other areas of Palermo and just one subte stop on  Green Line D – Palermo.

I like the vibe in Hollywood and when was sat in the cafes reading my books I met some really nice local and expat people.  It is a civilized enclave that I highly recommend to travelers who are staying longer term.  If I were on a short trip to explore Buenos Aires, I would prefer Recoleta or somewhere more central.

I read somewhere on this blog that you can spend a small fortune in taxis when you live in Palermo Viejo – it is well worth it!

Sally Burton – UK

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