The Other Side

2007.Oct.22 Monday · 1 comment

in Life

 If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”

– Seneca, Roman philosopher

Buenos Aires – I generally avoid the Puerto Madero area of town – it’s a multi-block strip of renovated docks and warehouses, akin to something like the South Street Seaport in New York, filled with overpriced apartments, office buildings, and tourist-trap style restaurants. That said, some of those restaurants, despite being designed to extract high numbers of dollars and euros from the wallets of visitors, are actually pretty good. I’m not quite going to say “they’re worth the price”, because to date I haven’t found one that I couldn’t pretty much get the same experience and quality elsewhere in town for a significantly lower price, but at the same time, there’s a certain ambiance of being along the peaceful docks, with folks strolling hither and thither, catching the rays, etc. I had to be over that way one day last week, and decided to walk the length of what’s known as Puerto Madero Este, or “the other side”.

Beginning at the end near to Cordóba, I cross the bridge and look out along the port…

Puerto Madero Este

The first thing, of course, is to get your bearings… at least in relation to the rest of the world’s capitals…

Puerto Madero Este

You can immediately see the difference between the two sides of the port – the Madero Este side being almost entirely new construction, lots of gleaming metal, glass, huge buildings…

Puerto Madero Este

…versus the earlier conversion, where they utilized the existing warehouses and converted them to apartments, offices, and restaurants, but left the facades intact, merely restoring and upgrading them.

Puerto Madero Este

Up close, one of the nice things is that the restaurants with outdoor seating have nice, wide sidewalks with plenty of space to put out tables, versus the cramped terraces on the other side.

Puerto Madero Este

Puerto Madero Este is also not just a single strip of buildings along the water, but is actually 3-4 blocks deep at different points, with streets running in between. Lots of construction is still underway.

Puerto Madero Este

And some of the newest construction truly stands out in a very “modern” style.

Puerto Madero Este

Of course, you get a different angle on the Puente de las Mujeres, or Women’s Bridge, the footbridge in the middle of the port that connects the two sides.

Puerto Madero Este

And, there’s the yacht club, presumeably mostly accessible just to those who pay fees to have their boats “parked”.

Puerto Madero Este

And in some sections, there are nice wide plazas, with seating areas, places to take in the sun, and just relax.

Puerto Madero Este

The famed Faena Hotel + Universe (hey, I didn’t name it), designed by Philip Starck – which you can’t really tell from the outside, being one of the buildings that was left somewhat as an old warehouse from the exterior – it’s more of a fantasyland inside.

Puerto Madero Este

And, of course, the real reason I walked all the way to the far end, so I could cross back over to the “original” side and take the new train… for a peso it’ll carry you from Independencía to Cordóba, with stops in between at Belgrano and Corrientes. It doesn’t move particularly fast, and follows traffic lights as opposed to getting the right of way, and it only runs about every 15 minutes, so I’m not convinced that it provides much utility. Still, after walking the entire length one way, it was nice to get to sit going the other way… I’m fairly certain I was the only non-tourist on the train.

Puerto Madero Este

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