Posts Tagged ‘Retirement in Buenos Aires’

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

June 15, 2018

Retirement has its perks, and one of them is free time to talk with friends in the late afternoon over tea.  John Morton and I have done this regularly during his visits over the last few years.

Bar de Cao on Av. Independencia and only one block from my apartment, was our afternoon place for tea and long talks.  It’s more than 100 years old and is a preserved historical landmark.

This is tea service at the Eloisa Coffee Shop.

Tea time, known as merienda in Buenos Aires, is a tradition for late afternoon since portenos don’t eat their last meal of the day until after 21 hs.  Cafe con leche or te con medialunas is perfect.

John is a regular customer of the Eloisa Coffee Shop (corner of Riobamba & Peron) which has a casual atmosphere.

We sat on the sofa in the rear for more than two hours, and no one asked us to pay the bill and leave.  Most cafes have the daily newspapers for their customers.

Our next outing was to the historic corner of Cafe de Los Angelitos (Av. Rivadavia y Junin) where the Gardel/Razzano duo once performed for patrons.

The waiter easily convinced us pan dulce would go so well with our tea.  It was the best.  We could have ordered another serving, but we both resisted the temptation.

The service is excellent, and the atmosphere feels like you’ve gone back in time to the 1920s.  Photos of tango celebrities cover the walls, and there’s a dinner/tango show in the intimate theater.

We were walking in the Retiro neighborhood one afternoon, so we made a point of going to the French Embassy mansion so Claudine could see it for the first time.  When it started to rain, I suggested we stop at Cafe Bonjour Paris on Uruguay near Santa Fe.

There is seating inside and on this small patio.

Today, June 15, is John’s birthday, and his age is a closely guarded secret.

Claudine and John shared a decadent dessert, and I watched them devour it.

After seeing an exhibition of Latin-American art at MALBA in Palermo Chico, we had merienda at Ninina next to the museum.  Claudine and John ordered tea and French-style pastries, and I had a delicious juice blend of kale, green apple, lemon, mint, and ginger.

It was a beautiful day for having tea outdoors in nature.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement where there is always time for sharing beautiful afternoons for merienda and conversation with tango friends.


Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

April 22, 2018

I remember being excused early from school when I was in third grade with a few other students so we could go downtown to attend the Chicago Symphony Youth concerts at Orchestra Hall.  That was my first subscription to the symphony.  We sat at the very top of the hall in the gallery, looking straight down at the orchestra on stage.  Years later in my 20s, I had a subscription to the evening concerts.

I’ve attended concerts throughout my life, but never have I attended several each week as I do in Buenos Aires.  There are three symphonic orchestras in Buenos Aires: Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, and Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colon.  All three offer free concerts in addition to the subscription concerts by the OFBA and OETC.

The first free concert of the season by the Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires was Friday night in Usina del Arte in La Boca.  I went to the Teatro Colon box office on Thursday morning for two free tickets.  Mi Primera Sinfonia (My First Symphony) is a series of six concerts.  The conductor explained those concerts will feature the first symphonies which aren’t performed as often as their later works.  Dvorak’s first symphony has glaring composition errors written when he was 24.  First symphonies programmed are Beethoven (May 11), Nielsen (May 24), Sibelius (Sept 24), Prokofiev (Oct 26), and Max Bruch (Nov 10).

I enjoy retirement with so many free concerts throughout the year in Buenos Aires.  It’s a concertgoers’ paradise.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

April 20, 2018

You probably think this photo is in a bar or cafe in Buenos Aires.  Actually it is in the newest subway station at Las Heras on the H line along Jujuy/Puerreydon.  I discovered it for the first time this month as I was exiting the station after my first ride to Las Heras in Barrio Norte.  I heard the pianist playing a familiar tune that got me to stop and listen.  He was playing, What a Wonderful World, and I began singing along.  When he finished, I said, I know that tune by Ray Charles.  He corrected me — no, it’s Louis Armstrong.  Right!  I thanked him for his beautiful interpretation of a tune with inspiring lyrics.  With all that’s happening in the world today, we need a reminder that life is wonderful.

Music is everywhere in this city — you’ll hear musicians on the subway trains, too.  This is one of many reasons I am grateful to live in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

January 19, 2017


This is the third year the Asociacion Civil Cultural Centro Historico Teatro Colon presents a series of concerts, opera, and ballet in the Plaza Vaticano next to Teatro Colon.  Last Saturday was Tosca by Puccini from the 2016 season in Teatro Colon, with the Argentine tenor Marcelo Alvarez.

I arrived at the plaza before the introduction, and some empty seats were still available.  I hoped that a friend would find me so we could enjoy the presentation together.  Marilyn spotted me, and I joined her. I’m wearing a black jacket.  No tickets to buy, no waiting in line — just go, find a seat, and enjoy the presentation on the big screen.  It’s better than attending inside because the recording bring us closer to the musicians, singers, and dancers.

I’m grateful for the outstanding cultural agenda available in the city.  I have a retirement life I never had imagined for myself.  The summer festival at Plaza Vaticano is unique.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

September 21, 2016


Strawberries and blueberries are in season from September through December, and they’ll be in my breakfast bowl every day.



This is the biggest strawberry I’ve eaten in my life!


Most of the produce comes from Argentine farmers.


There are packages of chopped vegetables prepared for a salad and soup.


This is a sample of what I bought for about US$15 at the fruit and vegetable market one block from my apartment — strawberries, brussels sprouts, fennel, mushrooms, avocados, bananas, apples, mandarin oranges, lemons, kiwis, and asparagus.


I am happy there is always a good supply of fresh produce for my whole food plant-based diet.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

September 15, 2016


I walked past this corner many times wondering why they installed this barrier.  I had no idea that its purpose was part of the public transportation system of bicycles.

When the bike share system began, you had to have residency with a DNI.  I was eager to get citizenship and my DNI so I could use the bicycles.  Before I did, the city made the system available to tourists.  I registered yesterday with my VOS card to use a bicycle on the large network of routes in the city.


This bicycle station is only two blocks from my door.  I don’t need to store a bicycle or carry it up the stairs.  All I need is a helmet and gloves.  Retirement is great in this people-friendly city.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

July 8, 2016


Buenos Aires is a great city for walking and handholding.  There is no need to have a car when public transportation takes you everywhere.


Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

July 7, 2016

Not only is the city’s cultural agenda incredible, but the venues are architectural jewels.  I visited these four in one week of concerts.


The former national library (opened in 1902) at Mexico 564 is the Centro Nacional de la Musica, permanent home for the Ballet Folklorico Nacional and other  arts organizations.  Their rehearsals are occasionally open to the public with a limited capacity.


DSCN8404 Ballet Folklorico Nacional rehearsal

Teatro Colon opened in 1908 and is considered one of the finest concert halls of  the world.

Teatro Colon

The dress rehearsal of Don Quijote Ballet was open to the public.  We had box seats at no charge.


It’s always a thrill to attend a performance in this magnificent theater.

DSCN8426 Teatro Colon

DSCN8431 bows for Don Quijote

The National Congress of Argentina opened in 1906.



The Chamber Orchestra of Congress presents monthly concerts that are open to the public.

DSCN8443 - Chamber orchestra of Congress

Take note of the floor tile that is in perfect condition after a century.


La Casa de la Cultura was built in 1898 as the offices of the second largest newspaper in Argentina, La Impresa.  Eventually the government bought the building for cultural purposes.


Recitals are held in the magnificent Salon Dorado.





The front door and the entrance of La Casa de la Cultura.


I’m happy being retired in Buenos Aires with a full agenda of free concerts.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

April 11, 2016


I’ve lived one quarter of my life in Buenos Aires, and I’m here to stay.  I fell in love with Buenos Aires and the people during my first visit 20 years ago.  It was an easy decision for me to start a new life in Buenos Aires.  I’ve never regretted the move to Argentina.

A couple of months ago, a tango friend and I were attending an outdoor concert.  Luis knows I’m from Chicago, and asked me an interesting question: “Can you tell me the best thing about Chicago?” I thought for a few seconds and said, “Luis, I can’t think of anything.  I haven’t been there since October 2006, and I’m not going back.  My life is in Buenos Aires.”


I had to acclimate to a new culture and language through total immersion on a day-to-day basis.  There was no information on the internet about living in Buenos Aires as we have today.

Marge and Ed Kenyon dancing tango

Marge and Ed Kenyon dancing tango (1960)

We had tango music in our home during the 1950s. My parents bought long-play records of various orchestras that were popular in the USA.  I remember that my sister and I asked our parents to show us the steps they learned at the park district dance classes.

We had to learn a second language in high school — German, French, Spanish or Latin.  I chose Spanish and studied it for two and a half years.  Even though I didn’t use it for many years, I was glad I learned vocabulary and verb conjugation.  I needed to speak Spanish to survive in Buenos Aires.  There was a period when I was afraid to answer the telephone, preferring to avoid conversation.  I listened how Argentines use the language for three years before it made any sense.  My accent is obvious to Argentines, but I can make myself understood. That’s all that matters to me.  I hear more English being spoken these days in Buenos Aires than when I arrived in 1999.  Argentines are the best English speakers in Latin America.

I left my American lifestyle behind and embraced a new culture.  Instead of having to depend on a car for transportation, I walk and take the bus.  I gave away my television five years ago, and I don’t miss it.  I don’t have air-conditioning in my apartment when a small fan keeps me comfortable on hot days.  I don’t use a credit card or even a cellphone.

Life today in my Buenos Aires neighborhood reminds me of the way it was growing up in Chicago during the 1950s. Neighbors knew one another and took the time for some conversation.  Shopkeepers knew customers by name.  I regularly meet neighbors on the street who have time for a visit.  The friendly shopkeepers who call me by name are the ones I patronize. It’s nice to feel part of the community.

I have a great life in Buenos Aires — no stress,  mild weather with mostly sunny days, loads of free concerts to attend, good friends, and most of all, tango with the milongueros viejos.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

December 7, 2015

Spring is best time for a walk in the ecological reserve when nature blooms.























This Santa Rita takes my breath away.


This tree in on my block.


I don’t miss the snow and sub-zero temperatures of Chicago in December.  I’m happy enjoying retirement in Buenos Aires.